‘What happens in the past never goes away’
An astute, profound statement, unfortunately not one of my own creation. Memories remain long after those who participated in their formation have left our lives to follow other paths.
Flashbacks, oft-times welcomed…some times intrusive and unwelcome, frequent my mind. Mingled within my to dawn travels, eerie dreams encroach to remind, torment and haunt. Anger undiminished as demons persist. Forever, my childhood years affect and colour my life. Amongst my memories are many I wish not to recall but faithfully, they remain, unwilling to depart. There is nothing I can do to erase them.
Facing truth can be difficult unless one is able to accept what occurred in the past. To be capable of staunchly moving forwards towards greener pastures by persistence and hard work is so often fraught with failure. Fearful of showing one’s inner self, it seems easier, sometimes, to hide behind a facade or invisible shield. Finding courage to express candidly thoughts that torment, can take a lifetime of inner turmoil, if one permits it. One can defy the grief, heartache and lack of self-esteem though, by adopting a positive approach, and thence taking action against one's demons. Obviously one’s life can’t always be plain sailing, but one must hold on tightly to the tiller with the intention of keeping in calm, peaceful waters!
Being in a somewhat nostalgic mood, I'll tell you a short story of the first time I "lost" my heart to a fellow human being. (I'd lost my heart many times previously to my pets or to my favoured movie star of the moment)
The Easter before I left High School, Mr. and Mrs. Butcher, our neighbours (Mr. Butcher was a policemen. He and his wife had no children) took me with them to stay at a holiday house they'd rented for the Easter weekend at Noosaville, between Tewantin and Noosa Heads. On Easter Saturday night the three of us went along to a concert in a hall at Noosaville. Various acts came on stage to entertain the audience. Some good, some unintentionally funny and one that I wished wouldn't leave the stage!
Ever since I was a child I've loved drums. I was to love them even more after that evening!
After the interval, my chaperones and me armed with soft drinks (sodas), squeezed past our fellow audience members, to our seats about three or four rows from the stage. In front of us on the stage, a band was setting up in readiness for their performance. My heart flipped over and over. Butterflies, uninvited, had set up residence in my stomach, refusing to leave. The drummer was the most handsome young man I had ever seen in my short life. Rodney Kent was his name. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I was mesmerized. He noticed me…me! He smiled....at me! Coyly, I lowered my eyes. I could feel my face burning. He must be looking past me, but he wasn't! I think there were other band members, but I never noticed them as my eyes were glued to the drummer and I had misplaced my heart. Mr. and Mrs. Butcher didn't notice the turmoil going on beside them.
Back at school a few days later, I discovered Rodney worked for the railways, as did my brother, at the time. Each morning I caught the bus to high school. I was all of fourteen years old. The bus stop was across the street from the ‘Loco’ office where Rodney worked.
Young love is so grand and so beautifully innocent, or it was that way for me when I was "growing up".
Each morning as I waited for my bus, my poor heart would pound expectantly. My "hero" Rodney Kent would nonchalantly appear out on the small wooden balcony of the Loco office. Pretending not to notice him, accidentally I would look across, smile a tremulous, embarrassed smile and quickly look away. Never a word was uttered between us, not an introduction, nothing except our kindred infatuation. Rodney had the most magnificent eyes, not unlike those of the young Tony Curtis, framed by dark, thick lashes and brows. Too soon the school bus would arrive and I would step aboard it, ensuring I sat at a window on the left-hand side of the bus to witness his lingering gaze. Our "from-the-distance" tete-a-tete was at an end until the following day.
As the bus entered the tunnel that ran under the rail lines, (it still does) he would turn and go back inside the office. I was in "love"! My infatuation continued until I left school to commencing my working life. The only thing I missed about school was that bus stop and its view. I had no reason to ever catch that bus again. Rodney and I never exchanged words. It was always a meeting of our eyes across an ‘uncrowded’ street or soon after, across a crowded dance floor. Unfortunately, he was still playing the drums in the band, and I was dancing to the music he played in the arms of others! Damn!
A couple of years passed. A lot of young, interesting 'transients, such as school teachers, bank people, radio announcers etc., had moved into town, renting houses or flats/apartments, so there was never a shortage of parties. On a Saturday night at one of the parties I met up again with Rodney Kent. This time we spoke to each other. My heart missed a beat upon seeing him, particularly as he was in the same room as me, only about two feet away! Since our ‘bus stop’ days, we'd exchanged smiles and ‘made eyes at each other’ at the many dances I’d attended at which he played. The ‘Starbrights’ were a modern, up-beat dance band whose repertoire was mainly "rock", and he was their drummer. It was a very good, playing all the popular music of the time.
"Be still, my heart!" I muttered to myself, (obviously stealing the phrase from a book I had read) when I walked into the party to discover Rodney was there...in person. Soon, everyone was suggesting that he should go home, to pick up his drums and bring them back to the party. He readily agreed it was a good idea. Turning to me, he asked me if I would like to go along with him. What a silly question! Naturally, I jumped at the suggestion! Returning from his home, drums on board, we drove alongside Gympie's Memorial Park, between the park and
Years and years later after my wild roaming in
I was dumbstruck! How dare my brother do that! He'd done it other times too! It really used to annoy me, to say the least, but I never knew that he had done this with Rodney. And the thing that really annoyed me most of all was my brother was dead and I couldn’t blast him for doing that to me! Rodney and I laughed about it, but I still wonder to this day what would have happened if Graham had shut his mouth and minded his own business! Rodney wasn’t a ‘rascal’. My brother was probably far more a "rascal" than he ever was! If my brother, Graham, had had his way, I wouldn't have been allowed to go out with members of the opposite sex until I was thirty, if even then!
Rodney Kent was a very nice guy…and he was extremely good-looking. As I described earlier, he had the most beautiful eyes under dark eyebrows, with long lashes and thick, slightly wavy black hair. He played the drums with style and flair. A couple of years ago, I received an email from my friend advising me of Rodney's death. I cried.
Thanks for the memories.