How I found The Blues
The first time I fell in love changed my life forever. I was 14 years old and the shyest person on the planet. I didn't have much interest in being like everyone else. Everyone seemed superficial and boring and they all spoke too much. Just a planet of one dimensional troglodytes.
I was the new kid at a catholic school in Brooklyn New York. I only had one friend. I had just started playing the guitar. I wanted to be like Jimi Hendrix.
I learned to trick people into thinking I was a good guitar player and it took me from being the class loser to making friends with some of the more popular kids.
My main motive for this was a girl in my class named Elisa, who was among the popular people. I had to get close to her. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I was too shy in the past to ever ask a girl out on a date. Not even close. Elisa never really had a friendly word to say to me until I started climbing the social ladder. I was the first person anyone knew that had an electric guitar and could play I few loud cords. Enough to impress my fellow classmates.
As people took an interest in me, I started dressing nicer, and concentrating on my appearance. I finally wanted to be "normal." I had seen too many movies.
At this time I also got to know Elisa. I was infatuated. She acted differently around me than she did anyone else. I saw a vulnerability in her and she in me.
One day she asked me which girl I liked in the class. As shy as I was, I knew this was my chance. Even if it killed me I was going to tell her the truth. It took a few hours of nagging. She finally handed me a piece of paper and told me to write down an answer. My shaking hands wrote the words YOU. I nervously handed her back the paper.
From then on things got stranger. She acted more friendly towards me.
Her personality got me. I became obsessed with her but my shyness was my disadvantage.
It took a week to build up the courage to ask her on an official date.
I had spent time with her friends since my new friends were popular enough to socialize with hers but I waited too late. I knew of some of the boys that she had gone out with before and I wasn't like them so I waited.
Finally when I asked her she told me that if I had asked her just two days earlier she would have said yes. She said she had just broken up with her boyfriend and was dating his best friend.
I was devastated in one way but shocked that she would have actually said yes. That meant she had romantic feelings for me but I was too late.
I felt that since there was an attraction there that maybe I could change her mind if I just tried harder. I wrote her love letters, sent flowers but socially I was just so shy. I also believed she liked the fact that I was shy and different and that she really wanted to be with me but thought it was too big a leap to make. Instead of telling me to go away and leave her alone, we got even closer. We talked on the phone all the time and would venture into Manhattan together.
I still played my guitar but Elisa was all I could think about though time was a factor. We would be graduating from Junior High and all be going our separate ways to high school.
I kept writing letters and trying to change my mind but she wanted to hear it face to face.
I felt that I couldn't give up. I had already waited too long to ask her out and the insecurity of that weighed heavily on my psyche. I was in denial.
As much as I looked forward to seeing her in school each day, I knew in the back of my mind that I couldn't change her mind. Suddenly I felt sleepy all the time and my interest in music grew. I went backwards from Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton to the real blues.
One day while flipping through the radio dial, I heard a sound. It was some blues show on a college radio station. I discovered Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Robert Johnson, and many other legends of the blues.
The sound of my guitar had gotten sadder or darker as the cold reality of my future with the only girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with became bleaker. This happened before I discovered the blues on the radio that one somber evening. It was like a natural response.
Graduation finally came and Elisa brought her boyfriend who lived and went to school in White Plains. I had to play guitar at the graduation ceremony. The class sang along as I played John Lennon's Imagine. It was the only tune the catholic school principle would allow me to play. I wanted to rip into some serious blues. During rehearsals I played a combination of John Lee Hooker and Hendrix.
When the ceremony took place I could see Elisa's boyfriend in the front row and it was hard to focus. Instead of ending Lennon's Imagine with the proper C cord I played a haunting blues run. My Axe just cried out in pain.
After the ceremony, there was an evening dance at Elisa's house. I was invited and knew that I should have stayed away but I thought I would finally do something bold to prove my love. Even after the ceremony, Elisa was lip locked with her boyfriend and I felt numb.
Though friends tried to talk me out of attending the dance, I showed up early. I spent the whole night watching the girl I loved making out with some little preppy brat. Reality had caught up with me at last. This was her way of telling me to go away and that there was no chance for us. She danced with me once that night but I had already become a different person.
I remember walking home alone after the dance. I noticed that everything looked sad or ugly. The leaves on the trees seemed like something out of a nightmare and I was a new man.
I ended up going to an all boys catholic high school for one year. I had no friends and had dedicated all of my time to learning the blues. I played guitar from 4:00pm until 5:00am every night. I also found out what subway line Elisa took to her school and started staking her out , pretending to just happen to bump into her. I had to get off the train several stops before she did and walk quite a distance to my school which was quite a task since I only slept a hour or two a night. It was worth it if I could just see her and talk to her, life seemed a little less miserable though I had lost faith in everything but music.
Eventually I stopped seeing her and I changed schools to to co-ed Quaker school. My depression had gotten so bad that I was now totally withdrawn from all those around me. I had a few quick high school flings but I was still in love with Elisa and couldn't get her out of my heart. I also learned that the more I thought about the awful way things ended up between us, the better I played the guitar. I started a high school band and before playing, I would put myself into a depressed trance. I thought of various memories, I looked at the few photos of Elisa I had left and I played the saddest blues you could imagine. Everyone said I played like someone three times my age. Like someone who had paid their dues and were releasing all the burdens of life through the blues.
I could turn it on easily in order to play but I never learned to turn it off so when a gig or rehearsal was over, I was a mess. I often cried and had temper tantrums.
The years that followed were a horror. I had a few nervous breakdowns, became addicted to drugs and alcohol. I got deeper and deeper into the blues.
Doctors in Europe now say unrequited love can kill you.
Many artists use muses in order to create art but you have to have love in your heart for the muse of it's useless. I still remember Elisa. My first love over 18 years ago. I'm still alive and I have to keep her with my. I see her smile in my mind and it's a precious memory.
I never had much faith in man kind and happiness before my first heartbreak.
Many of us carry the lovesick blues and it even kills some of us. I found the proper channels
The sun has got to shine on my back door some day.