I was thirteen when they came to Bethel in droves– hippies, freaks, artists, sexpots. It was a beautiful, colorful sight to see. Every time they came the world turned into a bright shade of sepia, as though signaling the beginning of a welcoming eternal summer.
I remember climbing to the roof when I heard the music start from the farm. It may have been far but I could see the white woman onstage, and I could hear her drawl. It was a beautiful, sexual drawl, one filled with years of torment and pain and sadness and longing. I felt for the woman, and I loved her sad, sensual song.
By the time it was all over I wanted to get rid of everything. Before they came, I wanted to be a doctor– I had plans to go to college and study medicine and marry and make love to only one man. Now I felt like I wanted to leave that all behind and just be something else… something more. So I ran away from home and wrote songs about what I had heard and the people I saw. I learned how to send them in and wait for feedback. Sometimes, I would sing them and hold out a jar people would fill with dollar bills and letters of love.
It was a beautiful, blissful time, and I wish it had all come true. I wish it had happened. I wish I hadn’t woken up and let all those silent dreams never come true. I wish I hadn’t studied hard and gone off to medical school and married the first man who promised me he wouldn’t leave. Because he did.
And here I am now, writing this… in the middle of the house where all those happy dreams first came alive.
There’s rope on the table beside me and a knife under the carpet.