Under the bridge, that’s what the old adage says right? We’ve all watched the flow of time and the passage of transitory things in our lives – mine has been a steady stream of short-lived acquaintances, for once people see I’m as detached and sometimes as chilly as that proverbial water, they move on.
I generally keep to myself and literally live in my own little world. Several cases of betrayal and wounded pride have left me leery towards people and it takes me a long time to warm up to someone, if I do at all. There is no animosity involved, just a sense of personal security I get by keeping my business to myself, so when I do click with someone it’s quite exhilarating.
One such person I’ll never forget is a guy named Brian. We worked together 20 years ago and when we realized we both dabbled in music we decided to get together and jam. It was an instant bond; we spent many hours learning songs and even worked on my original music as that was truly the passion in my life at that time.
I would go to gatherings in NY City where people were allowed to leave demo tapes and after we had recorded a couple of my songs on a crappy 4 track cassette rig I prepared a tape and planned a trip to drop it off. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he saw the tape which said ‘Written by Bob Hazelton – Performed by Brian and Bob’. He looked like I had just punched him in the stomach, so I said, “What’s wrong Bro?”
“Oh nothing’, he said trying to sound unconcerned, “I just thought we would both be listed as writers.” That was all he said and I felt I didn’t need to explain that those songs were already done and arranged when I showed them to him. In my mind I figured he must understand, it wasn’t to cut him out of any royalties (as if any of my songs would be hits) it’s just that I wrote them. Any future material we came up with together would be noted as such. But after that, things changed and we slowly drifted apart. As I said above – wounded pride – this time it was the other guy, not me feeling it.
Brian ended up getting married and putting music aside completely and after a failed attempt at a band with other people I did as well. Then both our marriages flopped and he took the ending of his quite badly. I never heard from him after that because he soon moved to a new city and started a new life.
His name came up the other day and I said, “Hey check for him on Facebook.” So my wife did and his page came right up. He had remarried and had a cute child whom he obviously adored from the pictures he had posted. I was going to send him a message but looked at his smiling face and decided against it, why remind him of a painful past that had rolled beneath his bridge and vanished long ago?
Well anyways, my wife called me this morning and said he had died suddenly, it was in the paper. I found myself thinking back on those days filled with music and fun. We loved playing Pink Floyd and Roger Waters is probably my favorite lyricist of all time. When Brian played his guitar it sounded like David Gilmore was sitting right next to me. After work today I’m going home to dig out one of our old tapes so I can hear his disembodied voice, that one small piece I have left of a friendship I will always cherish, and waters will start pouring from my eyes as those lyrics ring out with more meaning than they’ve ever had before—
‘How I wish, how I wish you were here…’