Thursday, November 8, 2012

No. 574 – Domino

Performer: Genesis
Songwriters: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford
Original Release: Invisible Touch
Year: 1986
Definitive Version: Live at Wembley Stadium, 1987

Whatever Beth and I had otherwise, we definitely had a psychic connection. Let me give you a for instance.

We talked to each other a lot on the phone when I was at Wabash. In fact, it was almost a regular Sunday occurrence. As soon as it hit 9 p.m., which was when the long-distance rates dropped, I’d trudge down the hall at Wolcott to the pay phone that was at the end of every floor and call Beth. (The phone booth had the cool sliding door and a bench seat for a little privacy and comfort for a marathon call.)

One night in the spring, I think, I began my trek. When I passed by the suite of the two seniors who were the de facto presidents of the dorm—Marty and Dan—they called out to me: Hey, tell Beth we said hey. Yeah, sure.

I picked up the phone, and the line was dead. Crap. So I did the thing where you click on the hangup button a couple of times. Nothing … but the phone didn’t really sound dead. In fact, it kind of sounded like I could hear something on the other end of the line.





The phone never rang once. Apparently, I picked up the phone the instant before it was about to ring. At this point, Dan leaned out the door, looking at me with a WTF look on his face. I know. Crazy.

That was a happy psychic connection. An unhappy one happened five years later when I was listening to Invisible Touch a lot. This song was a particular standout, and Beth liked it as much as I did. The line “Do you see we shall never be together again” seemed apropos considering how we were always apart.

Anyway, in March 1987, Sara, a friend of mine from copy editing class at Medill said she had tickets to a show by a local theater company in Evanston. As part of her art-writing class, she was to attend the show and write a review, but she didn’t want to go alone. So she asked if I’d be her “date.” (She was happily married, so ours was purely a platonic relationship.) I didn’t have anything better to do, so why not?

The play was Fion the Fair, which was something of a heroic epic. I don’t remember much about the play except I have this vision of the main female character (Fion’s mother?) being on stage delivering a soliloquy of sorrow toward the end—maybe even at the end. It seemed that the ending was a bit of a downer, although, again, I don’t remember anything about it (and I’m too lazy to look it up now).

Afterward, Sara and I went to a nearby bar for a beer to talk about the play to jumpstart her review. I don’t remember what we discussed about that, but I remember as clear as day when the conversation switched, and I said to her, “Beth’s met someone else tonight.”

She paused and asked, how could I possibly know that? I don’t know; I just know it. I can FEEL it, like the time I picked up the phone without it ringing or dialing and instantly connecting with Beth. Sara said it probably was all in my head. Spring break was coming, and we soon would be together again.

Maybe, but I still felt like the last domino.

(To be continued)

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