Leah for Rachel

BY DR. AGONSON

I was as a fly on the wall, something closer to being a feature at that party than a guest. It was like being a picture hung up overhead or an umbrella resting in the corner. Sitting alone at the bar, sipping a soda, I watched and listened from that privileged parapet obscurity. A few seats away a man I knew, a good man, rested with a cool drink.

The glass, full of ice, he presses into his forehead periodically, rolling it from side to side. The music changes to something a bit slower, something like dancing music. I hear the words, “I have climbed,” play over the speakers.

A brightly dressed youth, someone I don’t recognize, stands behind him. This stranger makes to approach and then stops. The arms cross and uncross and re-cross themselves. Finally, he reaches to scratch his head. Slowly, halting step by step, the flamboyant partygoer comes to the stool and sits next to the man nursing the headache.

“Hi Charlie,” my acquaintance greets him.

“Dancing music,” Charlie states.

The man turns from the youth to again press the cup of ice into his temple. Now facing me, his blackened eye is revealed.

“I appreciate…” Charlie begins but looks away. The voice sings, only to be with you. Turning back he says, “I was wondering…what kind of partners you dance with.”

My acquaintance smiles and blows a little air through his nose. “I don’t, but if I did, I’d be a traditional dancer.”

The understanding is clear, and the youth makes to rise.

“Listen,” the man puts his drink down and sits up. “I hope you find what you’re looking for, but I don’t think you’re looking…” he trails off gesturing to the ceiling. “I don’t think you’re looking honestly.”

Charlie rests his arm on the countertop and tilts his head. Overhead the song continues, “It burned like fire.”

Rubbing the bridge of his nose the youth asks, “What am I looking for, Greg?”

“Something, Charlie. Your dad—”

Charlie removes himself from the counter and sits as tall as he can. “I,” he swallows, “I don’t have a father.”

“You didn’t have much of a father,” the man picks up his drink, “And what you had was stolen by this. But he was looking too. What’s the difference between this,” he snaps the strap of Charlie’s tight purple tank top, “and this,” he finishes, gesturing towards the cup.

Standing, the youth shouts, “This is who I am.”

Turning toward the bar my acquaintance mutters, “And your father was an abusive drunk, that’s who he is.”

The youth makes to storm off but turns, “I thought you were cool.”

I hear the words, Kingdom come, playing in the song.

“Listen, your business is your business. Your father didn’t drink himself to death because he liked the taste of alcohol. He was searching for something, trying to fix that thing that’s wrong inside all of us. At a certain point he did what you’re doing. You got Leah for Rachel.”

And that’s the story as far as I remember it, but I do remember how that song ends. It trails off, fading into silence:

But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for

Hear my beautiful voice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_viKPbYAig&feature=youtu.be

Disclaimer: The lyrics presented in this narrative are from U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Disclaimer: This is a fictional narrative. Any likeness to real persons is unintentional.
Disclaimer: I do not own the featured image.

3 Comments

  1. If I could draw facial expressions through words I’d say: My eye brows raised, my head tilted to the left, a nod, a glimmer in my eyes and a wisp of a smile. Picture my reaction? In short, I get it.

    Liked by 1 person

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