I’ve always loved stories. The stories that people tell. When I moved back home after my first epic fail at adulthood, at 22, I made bank as a stripper but it was nothing more than blood money.
Locally, there was one store that was open 24/7.
It was one town over,a five minute drive.
I’m a night owl, so I went there all the time. For wine coolers, chips, ice cream….ect. The man who was always there, I came to know.
He was a musician in his country. He always wanted to be a musician but his family had other plans for him. They had arranged a marriage.
He went along with this because he had to but he never lost sight of his musical aspirations.
He had some success in his country as a musician, he was the lead singer in what I think was called the Tigers, but it wasn’t good enough for his or her family.
He moved to the United States, with his wife and young son, and took a job in a convince store with the prospect of owning it.
He had no interest in this. He was an artist. A musician. I wouldn’t have known this until he played a video in his store. I loved it. I asked who that was, and I got to know things I never would have imagined.
I went to his store night after night. I saw something in him that I recognized. An artist that no one saw or listened to.
We would talk about music. I would play him things, like Simon and Garfunkel, Sisters of Mercy, Soundgarden, Kate Bush, and he would play me things. The difference was that what I would play was from other artists, he would play things he came up with.
I started to feel like this was inappropriate, given his wife wasn’t there. I told him this, he agreed.
The next night, when I came in, his wife was there. He played videos of the Tigers, his musical group. To my surprise, she danced, she fully supported his dreams and had dreams of her own. To dance. She had no formal training but she danced in his videos.
It turned out that this arrangement between him and her was a good one.
However, this was impossible, they both needed to make money and had to do whatever necessary for both families.
Neither of them had the luxury of pursuing their dreams.
I wasn’t in a position to do that either but at least I could dream about it.
That’s the difference.
I think about this couple all the time. What has became of them? Were they able to reconcile family duty with their dreams? This was 20 years ago, so what of their son?
People come into your life, you think, randomly and you need to pay attention to them.
I thank the Tiger and his wife every day. They remind me how lucky I am. I may have society to tell me what I need to be but as an American, I can choose. At least I can choose.
I miss them and I think about them all the time.