Chapter One: The Note

Patti loved going to work. For three years now, she’d been a junior assistant to the greatest band ever, at least in her opinion. In her current assignment, working with the fan mail, she had seen nearly everything come across her desk – from birthday party invitations, to dirty pictures; countless letters, cards, flowers, and gifts. She’d seen everything from simple autograph requests to actual marriage proposals.

This crisp, January morning, the volume of mail was almost daunting. There were lots of late holiday cards from fans, some small gifts – the usual, just more of it. The latest piece Patti was opening looked like an invitation to something. The oversized, ivory envelope was made from a heavy paper, and the address written in a flowy, feminine handwriting. She sighed. Patti actually felt bad for the people sending these types of things. But, it was her job to open and catalog each item.

Patti slit the envelope and removed a card with ‘Thank You’ written in some elaborate script on the front. So, she guessed wrong. No matter – these were the most interesting pieces to read.

Dear Jon, Richie, Tico, and David:

Thank you.

Thank you for providing the soundtrack to my life.

You were there when I first fell in love, and when I nursed my first heartbreak. You were there when I lost my virginity, and when I learned that sex and love are two entirely different things. Through the years, nearly every defining moment of my life has your music and your words – your passion or your heartbreak – running behind it.

Your music has such power. You have made me laugh and dance with pure joy and wild abandon at your rock anthems. Your ballads make me long to experience the kind of love and devotion that inspired them. Your songs of heartbreak and loss make my own heart ache, and my eyes sting with tears when imagining what must have provoked such sad words, such haunting music.

Thank you for sharing your lives through your music. You will make my last months bearable, for I know I am not alone – I feel a kind of kinship with you through your stories. Thank you for enriching my life, for helping to ease my pain, for sharing my happiness. You have made my world a better place in which to live. For that, above all else, I thank you. In the (paraphrased) words of Dobie Gray, you

...give me the beat, boys, and free my soul;
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.
Thanks for the joy that you've given me.
I want you to know I believe in your song...
You help me along; makin' me strong.

My own words are not strong enough to express my thanks or feelings. I hope you don’t mind that I borrow some of yours:

I’ve had enough of crying, bleeding, sweating, dying – hear me when I say I’m gonna live my life everyday ... I ain't gonna live forever, I just want to live while I'm alive ... Here the days they don't have names they've got numbers, and the nights just seem to fade into each other ... I know that you’ll live in my heart ‘till the day that I die ... When I die, you’ll be on my mind, and I’ll love you, always.

Faithful Forever,

Turning the card over, Patti noticed a hand-written sticky note attached to back:

Natalie is writing her final goodbyes. My sister doesn’t have much time left, and it is important to her that her words and thoughts reach the band. Please, to whichever assistant opens this, she’s not nuts or just some crazed fan -- call me. I’ll tell you everything.

-- Michael Tomassini 212-555-5684

Patti sighed again, this time with tears in her eyes. She was a sucker for a good story, and an even bigger sucker for a sad story. This one was both. Patti had tried to harden her heart to pleas like this. Too many times, she had passed the information along, or called to talk to the person who sent the letter, and been bitterly disappointed. These people all wanted something from the band, like free merchandise, personal notes, or tickets to some concert or appearance.

Still, this particular card touched her, and the soft side of her felt the need to pick up the phone and hope that this time, she wouldn’t be suckered again. In the back of her mind, though, Patti was sure she was going to be talking with some fan looking for a brush with The Boys.


Tara Leigh said...

Just found you!
What a great beginning! I'm anxious to see what kind of story this will be. Oh and...thanks for the link. That was a GREAT surprise!