Just drink this and then I'll go... The words kept ringing in my head and a vague picture of a beautiful, exotic temptress pushing the wine glass to my side of the table appeared before my eyes. I recalled how I vainly tried to take my eyes off her and her long, black velvet hair, while a hand that apparently was mine moved towards the glass. "It's lilac wine", she added ever so gentle as the first divine drops of this mysterious liquid poured like soft rain down my throat. "Give me more, give me more..." I pleaded with her, but I doubt that she ever heard it since the next thing I knew was everything turning black, the world spinning round, seemingly forever, and a desperate urge of wanting to know why everything was so hazy came to my blurred mind.
It must have been a dream, I said to myself when I awoke, but I wasn't sure if the dream still was in command of me. I wanted to open my eyes to find out where I was, but something else got in the way of that wish. Something... painful. I managed to locate the pain to the upper part of my body and even though I found it painfully hard to breathe, it took a while to realize that it came from my neck. Within seconds my hands were fumbling in the area and they gave me the interesting information that it was a guitar string being tied to my neck that caused this dreadful pain. A qiuck glance around me confirmed this assumption. There it was, my new Yamaha acoustic, with a string missing. An "058 E string, I thought to myself as my eyes followed its way to the neck.
At last I was able to loose its grip somewhat, giving me a chance to breathe again. I took a deep breath and got up from the ground on shaky knees, grabbed the guitar and gee, did I wish I had four arms, because there was also my old guitar lying on the ground and there's nothing like writing songs on two guitars.
When I finally could pay attention to other questions, such as where I had woken up, I discovered the answer was a strange place. A field, a green field, and I don't know how it could have escaped my mind, but the field was packed with people. Some of them were sitting on blankets, others running back and forth in the most annoying and irrational manners over the ground. I turned my head to see the sky and saw not just a burning yellow sun, but also that the air was full of objects flying around, objects very much resembling of kites of all shapes and colours. The Kite Festival. I was pleased with my logical powers still being intact. Especially one kite made a more lasting impression: the biggest one of them all, looking like an angel, but with black feather wings unfurled, majestically sweeping over the clear blue sky. As this kite at one point came closer to me, I discovered that the angel in fact looked like someone I knew, or someone I thought I knew. I just couldn't figure out who it was.
I thought I'd solved the mystery, "it's Je...", when I felt the presence of someone standing close to me. The sound of a heavy breathing reached my ears and I wondered where it came from. I quickly turned around and there stood a guy in his twenties, in a dirty, muddy t-shirt, eating something that looked like... worms. Filled with disgust I stumbled backwards, still with the guitar in my arms and the string loosely attached to my neck, as if I was carrying a yoak. The guy just kept staring at me like I was crazy or something, chewing those worms that he picked from a can of glass. At the time it didn't even occur to me that he could very well have been responsible for the murder attempt.
"What are you staring at?" I said, but I instantly regretted the harsh tone in my voice. He didn't answer. He just kept staring. Suddenly he raised his hand and without thinking I threw myself to the ground for cover. But his fist never hit my body.
"Look", he said instead, pointing at the sky.
He then tried to say something else, but since he had his mouth full I couldn't hear a single word. I lied down on my back and looked where he was pointing at and there it was again, the big kite of an angel, now so close to us it seemed to fill up the whole sky.
"It'sch Scheff Buchkley!", he said, no he *screamed* it out, and out flew also a handful of worms from his mouth. The guy was not kidding. It was Him. And He came closer. Very much closer. In fact, before I realized it the kite was so close that it was all over me, covering my body from head to toe.
A minute later, when I got out of the state of shock this had caused, I managed to raise from the ground and the kite fell off me. But I wasn't completely released from it because its strings were now in some obnoxious way attached to my left foot. Oh well, I thought, there is probably a hidden meaning in this too, and I didn't think about it any more. Then my eyes spotted a girl running towards us, holding what appeared to be the other end of that string. She had funny looking hair and a troubled look on her face as if she was carrying all the world's misfortunes on her shoulders.
"Hey, I know who she is", whispered the guy with the worms. "She's a looney. I'm out of here! To Texas!".
I turned around only to see him crawling away on all fours, accompanied by a couple of angst-ridden oinks. Despite his unpleasant behaviour, I had actually begun to like the guy, maybe...I just didn't know him at all. I was, however, glad I would never wind up like him.
"what have you done to the kite?"
It was the girl's voice, performed in a dialect I'd only heard in movies before.
"Eh... I don't know", I replied, very confused as I was. Now I expected to hear some vicious curses coming out of the young girl's mouth, but she surprised me again.
"do you play guitar?", she asked, now in a surprisingly sweet southern voice.
"Well, in fact I've learned some songs from this Michael dude". I felt more assured now and I also remembered what I was supposed to do this day.
"And I'm going to Melbourne. For a session. That's why I'm carrying this guitar. I just need to buy a new string, because someone wanted to tie this one to my neck."
I wanted to reach out a hand to greet her, but then I came to think of that I didn't have four hands either, so I just threw out a "Hello, who are you?" at her.
"--i'm an artist. and life sucks", she said, spitting out the words as if they were chews of a rotten apple. Then she went on talking. I didn't understand much of what she was saying, but it made me interested and I got the impression that she was heading north.
"why don't you play some music for me now?" she said at the end of her speech.
Somehow I did seem to forget the dysfunctional state I was in - it suddenly felt like a natural thing to do. I lifted the guitar up, and started strumming. I sent a grateful thought to the person who tried to kill me for his choosing of a string you can do without in emergency cases, and threw myself into "Lover, you should've come over". D C Em. Beginning careful and smooth, I seemed to get strength from God only knows where, and my voice and guitar playing got louder and louder, still preserving all the sensitive anger and longing I had built into the song. My eyes were closed for most of the time, but when I opened them I saw that my audience had grown drastically from one person to a big crowd, all listening in solemn silence. This gave me even more powers and I felt like anything was possible. Which turned out to be true. While singing "sometimes a man gets carried away" a strong wind seemed to come blowing from under my feet, and it pushed me up in the air. My feet left the ground and with a little help from the kite that was unfolding, I started to float.
Still singing the song, I floated higher and higher, passing trees and some angry birds looking suspiciously at me - then there was the moon asking me to stay and even an angelic choir singing hallelujah. "It's not too late" I cried out and I meant it. I thought of all the good that life had given me - the Jeff Buckley records, the JB mailing list, the JB homepage... I thought of the Melborne people and of poor Ange, the smurfette, wondering if I could even steer this thing to Adelaide to pick her up on the way - I would just have to look for those toadstools. I thought of the lovely Meg and the kite girl, who I wished would not feel so miserable, and of the dumb Swede who turned crazy and by now was a patient at the JB rehab center, deliriously imagining being Yngwie Malmsteen, and of everyone else that meant something to me, all the disciples on the list, and then I didn't think much more, because for the second time this day everything turned black and only moments later I found myself hitting the ground.
As I was now balancing on the very verge of consciousness, I've only been told afterwards by St Peter what my last words on Earth was, but apparently I'd been praising Jeff Buckley as the reborn Jesus, pleading with Him to forgive me for my wordly sin-e, I seem to have spoken incoherent of a creativity crisis - that it took Him just a week to die, go to heaven and come back to earth, but some 2000 years to get a record out, and then, just before I passed away, embracing the starry infinity over my head with the grace of a lover, I uttered a plea: I know it's over, this is my last goodbye... I'm not afraid to go but it goes so slow...
Apparently there was something else I had to do before entering eternal life. Could I have remembered my father's voice as I was about to go? ("When you're standing at the pearly gates, boy, and you think of all the things you've done and haven't done...what will you say?"). I must have known there was something urgent I had to say as a final wish and that was:
unsubscribe me from the JB list... please...
~written by Mikael Hols