Chapter 45 1976 - I and Angela

Angela had sat silent while I and Spike had had their discourse. Tears had come to her eyes as she listened, and she dabbed at them occasionally with her handkerchief.

Spike got up to go, “C’mon, Angie, let’s let him think about things for a while.”

“I ‘d like to speak to him for a bit, Spike,” Angela said quietly to Spike.

Spike turned up his eyebrows quizzically. Angela responded to the unspoken question, “Give us some privacy. Come back for me in an hour.”

Spike left the room, leaving Angela behind. I looked up at her, curious.

“You’ve been quiet all this time,” he said. “Are you going to beat me up as well?”

Angela spoke sweetly and tenderly to him as she patted his hand. “Now, now. Your world’s not coming to an end. If you’d only open your eyes, you’d see the answer right in front of you.”

I looked back at the set-aside newspaper, and scanned the headlines again. “I don’t see anything.”

“Look at me,” Angela told him. “You’ve never paid much attention to me, but I’ve always been there. Think about it. Who was there to help out at rehearsals? Who ran the Golden Fingers fan club? Who designed your most famous band poster?”

“Of course I’ve noticed your role in all of those. I did appreciate it. But weren’t you just helping out your brother? And you’ve always had an eye for Ozzie, haven’t you?”

“Ozzie?” she responded, “Don’t be silly. Sure, I’ve spent most of my life with Ozzie. After all, he’s my cousin. We played together when we were kids. But romantically? Be serious!”

“I,” she said as she took a hold of his hand. “It’s all been for you. I could see through that persona you developed and saw beneath it the tender man that I’ve always wanted.”

I lost himself in thought for a few moments, “You know, when I think about it, there was something that I felt when I saw your attentions on Ozzie. It may have been a pent up jealousy, something I saw that I could never have.”

“The fact is,” he continued. “I need someone, and maybe that someone is you. It’s got to be. You have been there all along, that presence in my dreams even. Maybe it’s true, after all.” He paused again. Her silence was golden for the moment as he collected his thoughts.

“If it weren’t for you staying behind today, I may never have seen it. I don’t think I could make it through my life with all of the past month’s events suddenly unraveling everything.”

Angela gripped his hand tighter as the revelations continued.

“Your love is true; truer than any I’ve ever seen. If I could match that love, I’d wouldn’t hesitate a minute to ask you to share it with me in my life.”

“I,” stammered Angela. “Are you asking me to marry you?”

“Well, I haven’t asked directly, but I sure would be interested in your answer.”

Angela answered with another question. “Are you ready to make real changes in your life? Would you change for me? I think you can; I think you must. It’s life. It may be inconvenient sometime, but with positive change, I think you’ll understand.”

I confided, “I was without any real friends, except for those guys in the band. I took advantage of them, and when I caused the breakup of the band, I was lonely. I didn’t feel like a star, despite everything that was being said. Because I tried to be stronger and overcome it all, I was brought down even lower.”

“I need someone, Angela, and it’s got to be you. I realize that now. Will you marry me?”

“I will, I. I will.” She leaned over, hugged him about the neck and they kissed passionately.

“I’m beginning to see where my faults lie. I need your help to pull me out. I’ve got to try to change, that’s clear. Do you know what the key is?”

“The key to change,” Angela told him, “is that you need to recognize the need in yourself. You’ve done that, or have begun to. You can change!”

Neither Angela nor I had noticed a new guest in the room. It was Isaac, hovering in the background, and catching a bit of the last of their conversation.

“Did someone mention change?” Isaac asked. “I've run into some hard times lately and could use the extra cash.” He held out his hand.

Angela laughed and gave Isaac a hug. “We’re trying to be sentimental and serious here, and you come in trying to be funny. Shame on you!”

“There goes the mood of the moment,” I complained.

“But Isaac does have a point,” Angela prompted.

Isaac turned quizzically to Angela, and I countered, “What? The one on top of his head?”

“Ever the statesman, I, ever the statesman,” Isaac came back, and then turned to Angela. “What do you mean?”

“Look at the world, today.” Angela’s gesture took in the room and indicated the larger world outside the window. “There are people out they for which panhandling is a way of life. The only life they know. Things are bad, and I think they’ll only get worse. Why can’t you do something about it?”

“Me,” I said defensively, “What can I do? I write, play and sing songs. How could that help?”

“You still have fame, and you still have money,” Angela explained. “You could write a song to unite us in the fight. Maybe sort of a ‘World Theme Song.’ Love. Peace. Togetherness. Action. Something that would inspire the world’s masses to get up and do something.”

“Did you forget already? I’ve already inspired the masses to stand up and march right out of my concerts and I wasn’t even trying.”

“You don’t understand the power you have, I. If channeled properly, and with sincerity, those ‘masses’ will flock back to support you and a new positive cause. Write your song. You’ll see what I mean.”

“World’s got to change, and I’m gonna change it,” I mused. “I like the sound of that.”