I am going into Mrs Fever’s music as muse project with a theme – well for some of the posts – which will be The Eagles songs.
I was chatting to my man the other day and realised quite a few of their songs has some kind of meaning to me. Or rather, I heard them in background while I was acting out the scenes of my life.
Such a lovely face is a true tale from when I was very young – just fifteen.
Beauty and the Beast
The Beatles walked the streets of Liverpool
When I was fifteen I finally discovered something that I liked about my step father. The Beatles. He was a scouser – born and bred in an extremely working class part of Liverpool and to a certain extent had made good. He’d worked hard.
But being from scouse land of course he was a Beatles fan. In the house we had all their records and biographies. With my hormones raging and a need for something edgy I cleaved towards this band. Obviously they had disbanded. And John was already dead but listening to their songs and reading about their lives they felt alive and kicking to me.
When my step father announced my Mum and him were going to visit his sister in Liverpool I jumped at the chance to get a look at the streets the Beatles had walked. But I got a little more than I bargained for.
I was a late developer so at this age I was like a flower whose petals were just starting to bloom. The promise of summer was there if you searched but was by no means obvious.
A vision walks in
I knew I had four step cousins – so for those of you who get a little confused about these matters they were about as blood related to me as the Queen. I’d heard about them all. The youngest at twelve was an A-star student. The oldest was at medical school. The one girl was training to be a Nurse and then there was Ray – known as the oddball. At nineteen he chose to to do laboring work. He lived, to live!
It was bound to happen. At dinner time, on that first evening, we were sitting and eating when he walked in – I saw him for the first time. I have never forgotten that moment –
cement dust in his hair and across his cheeks,
rolled up sleeves,
caramel skin that looked as sweet,
and sun bleached hair – the texture of candyfloss.
As soon as he glanced around the table his dark brown eyes rested on me. My heart leapt. He was gorgeous. A lovely open face.
Trying not let anyone see my reaction I busied myself with the food on my plate . But we’d noticed each other and I wanted to capitalise on that.
A few days later I’d gathered Ray had a routine. He’d return from work. Grab a bite to eat, shower, change and go out to thrill the girls at the local night clubs. I wanted him to take me. Oh yes, in every sense! I yearned for excitement. At that age I was so impressionable and looking back I could easily have been lead astray. Because that is precisely what I desired.
One after noon everyone went out to the shops and I calculated that if I stayed behind I could be in the house alone when he returned that day. My plan worked and seeing me in the living room he told me he wouldn’t be long. He was just going to grab a shower. And off he went with a sandwich in hand.
About ten minutes later he returned. Came in and started making small talk whilst erecting the ironing board. He took an LP out of a sleeve and put it on the record player – yes – pre-CD – so much better too. I recognised Hotel California by the Eagles immediately. The first few chords of music sounded like an old friend and relaxed me a little.
On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim…
“This shert needs an iron, wuddun yous say?”
His accent was thick scouse and I had to really listen hard to decipher his words. But his meaning became clear when he began to unbutton the slightly creased but freshly laundered shirt.
I knew it was rude to stare but my heart was young and hungry.
Beauty is more than skin deep
The shirt fell open and and I became privy to the vision of his ripped torso, he worked hard. His beautiful skin, tanned and smooth. But then, what was that? As he threw the garment over the ironing board and turned I caught sight of a massive scar covering almost the whole side of his body. It must have only happened a few years before as the skin still appeared angry.
He glanced over.
“Ah, May, yous noticed me skin. Could ‘uv been werse I suppose. An accident wi’ a boil’n kettle whun I wus younger than yous. Dreadful scar. Wus in hossie for some time.”
I muttered something useless in reply about how long skin took to heal. Though what I knew about that was negligible. But as an eczema sufferer I attempted to sound knowledgeable.
“Am go’n ter ‘uv a beer. Want one?”
Of course I did. Under age but I had been drinking alcohol for years.
Such a lovely face
Still bearing his torso, the scar on show, he returned with two cold beers. Putting one down he reached out to me with a bottle. When I went to take it he took hold of my hand, bent his head and rested his lips gently against my knuckles. Our eyes were aligned and I wondered if I was about to shake.
In the background I could hear…
Welcome to the Hotel California
Pulling away he put a finger under my chin causing me to lift my head slightly.
Then he said, “Yous are Beauty an’ I’m the Beast”
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face.
I began to perspire as he quickly returned to the ironing.
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise), bring your alibis.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!’
I didn’t want to leave but I had to. Nothing ever happened between us. I had a crush on him, ohh a long time, yet I never saw him again after that trip.