David and I, as “front-persons” of a rock band, have toured the world. David is a wonderful, good-natured man, as well as an incredible musician. In our travels, we have encountered outrageous adventures and misadventures. And, in the way of the world, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with him. . . .
So far, this one was qualifying as a misadventure. Scheduled for a 2:00 downbeat at an outdoor summer concert in Aspen, Colorado, I had booked an 8:00 A.M. flight from Denver. Due to a terrific thunderstorm, my flight was grounded until noon. After a hair (and gullet) raising journey, we finally set down in Sardy Field at a quarter past one. As I had anticipated a few leisurely hours in a nice hotel room before the show, I hadn’t done my hair or makeup. I found, upon landing, that my luggage (guitar included) had been misplaced by the airline, so at this point hair and makeup were out of the question.
Scruffy and out-of-sorts, I pulled my rented car up to the backstage gate. Adding to the misadventure, my name wasn’t on the list. Through a stroke of good fortune, one of the crew recognized me and let me in.
David and the band were already onstage, just winding up the sound check. I had phoned ahead to let David know I was without guitar; he said he would have one set up for me, and there it was – a shiny new Ovation.
“In tune?” I yelled.
“Yeah,” David replied.
I sprinted to the dressing room, where I donned my costume, ran a comb through a rat’s nest of hair, slapped on some lipstick and a pair of sunglasses to hide my eyes. I hit the stage at a dead run. 2:00 sharp.
Thank God, the storm had passed – the skies above, seemingly in a state of apology, were an innocent crystal blue. A green mountain rose before us, smattered with orange poppies, yellow dandelions and purple lupine. An enthusiastic crowd had filled the seats in front of the platform.
I one-two-three tested my microphone. As I had missed sound check, my vocals weren’t in the monitor mix. I signaled the sound guys with an oh-please-I-can’t-hear-a-bloody-thing-up-here thumb up, with no response from them. Shrugging, I removed the Ovation from its stand, and flung the strap over my shoulder. This one was a toughster to play; the action (the space between the instrument’s neck and the strings) was ridiculously high.
Oh! Not yet! The band jumped into its beginning number way before I was ready. I didn’t have to worry about the guitar’s action for too long – halfway through our second song, one of the strings broke – SPROING – and snapped into my chin. Enough is enough. I looked to David, on the verge of tears. He grinned, nodded, and mouthed, “All good. You’ll see.”
Suddenly, the keyboard player launched into a song that wasn’t on the set list, and that I certainly didn’t recognize. What should I play? I had no clue. David, grinning from ear to ear, began to sing in his gravelly voice:
When I fall in love, it will be forever,
or I’ll never fall in love.
The backup singers joined in:
And the moment I can feel that you feel that way too,
is when I fall in love with you.
As the girls sang, David crossed to my side of the stage and knelt before me. “Oh, marry me,” he said. He lifted the Ovation from my shoulders and unlatched the strap. There, glittering from the bottom peg, was a beautiful diamond ring, a princess stone banked by two trillions. He slipped it onto my shaking finger. I couldn’t speak through the tears that finally came. I nodded, yes, yes.
The crowd leaped to its feet, cheering wildly.
I was thankful for my sunglasses. I should have let David borrow them. But I needed them more than he did.