The Best Endeavor
She nodded her head yes and lied when I asked her if she was alright. Her brown eyes blinked a song in perfect time to keep from letting loose tears. My lovely friend was sad.
"I did something stupid," she said.
Exactly what she did is not important now, but I must disagree: it was out of love and, therefore, not stupid, but honest, brave, and necessary.
Sam Beam sings:
And love is the scene I render
when you catch me wide awake
and love is the dream you enter
though I shake and shake and shake you
and love’s the best endeavor
waiting in the lion’s mane
On the way to Maxwell’s last Friday, Brandon, who I had only met once before and summers ago, happened to be on the train with us. We half-recognized each other and exchanged some curious question mark eyes and almost-smiles. This would all later be resolved when, standing near the front bar, a mutual friend would re-introduce us, and, with pointed fingers and widened eyes, we’d laugh out loud and claim intelligence:
"I knew it was you."
"I knew it was you."
In the club's backroom was another friend. Summers ago, in Columbus, Ohio, we sat in the grass while the bonfire shivered and swayed. Our fingers played together like little children. We watched the party watching us. We would not have enough time together.
This night would be no different. Only time enough to offer short hellos and an unusual quiet comfort before remembering that neither one of us is good for much more after that. But what more is there, really? The liner notes to Jason Molina’s The Magnolia Electric Co read:
Someone used to say to me:
If the only two words you ever say are thank you, then that will be enough.
And Sam Beam sings again:
…how I’ve missed you lately
and the way we would speak
and all that we wouldn’t say
It—this way of speaking with only quiet looks and closeness—reminds me of something else, something now.
The Celebrity Pilots were good, but not great. Maxwell’s—despite feeding them well enough—was not kind to their sound. Earlier in the evening, when Pete asked me to describe them, one of the words I used—having only heard them before on CD—was "quiet." A loosely packed backroom at Maxwell’s, however, is heavy and thick with deep, powerful bass; the kind that shakes your insides.
The Celebrity Pilots, however, are not making music meant to shake your insides. This was a case, it seemed, in which a recorded CD captured a band’s true sound better than a live performance.
Brandon, who—for no clear or obvious reason—again magically appeared beside me on the night’s last PATH train, made a good point:
"The drums were so big and splashy and loud. When drums are that heavy, I think that everything else has to come up around them. It was as though the room was forcing them to be a band that they’re not."
Despite leaving before the Celebrity Pilots’ set was complete, and without having the time to say goodbye, I still couldn’t make it to see John DeVore’s band, The Merkin Dream, play at the Knitting Factory. I really did try. But time isn’t always friendly. I was running late, and so was the PATH train. It finally arrived, but would take us only as far as Exchange Place in Jersey City, where it spat us all out onto the platform—one short stop away from the World Trade Center—without explanation. Instead of waiting for the next unpredictable train, I just walked home. I’m sorry.