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Old 01-10-2007, 02:33 AM   #1
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Free Falling, Chapter 1

This is the sequel to Learning to Fly, written because the damn characters wouldn't leave me alone. It's all from my fevered imagination, no offense intended to U2 or anyone else. Fair bit of bad language and suggestiveness included.

Many thanks to Gluey for encouragement

Free Falling
Chapter 1

A beach a mile long, curving away into a heat-shimmer. God’s watermark, stamping His ownership on the world.

You don’t have to remind me, God, I thought. You may or may not be the boss, but it doesn’t mean I have to like you. I’m still waiting for that small sign saying You might give a toss about me.

Five years, whispered the waves washing over my feet. Five years ago you walked this beach and he was beside you. Not God, but my little piece of heaven on earth, my man. Not mine in the sense that I owned him, or he owned me, but mine because he truly was the brightest light that ever shone in my life.

I miss that light. I miss it so much. How long does it take, how much time needs to flow over me before I can stop missing him? No answer from the waves. I turned for home, the sand burning the soles of my feet like hot coals.


The flag on my mailbox was up. I collected the mail, hoping for some good news to shake the gloom from my heart. Sitting at the big wooden table in my kitchen, I sifted through it. Electric bill. Letter from my publisher. A postcard. I picked this one up eagerly - from South America, from Dave Evans, better known as The Edge.

I smiled, reading Edge’s account of his travels in Brazil. At the bottom of the card: Bishop to Q4. Check.

Bugger, I thought, he’s done it again. We had been playing this game of postcard chess for months now, but even with all the time in the world to think about my moves, Edge was still winning.

In the five years since U2 had left New Zealand Edge, Larry and Adam had all kept in touch in their various ways. Edge’s postcards from all points of the compass, random communications from Larry and several phone calls from Adam, usually at inappropriate times in the small hours of the morning.

I propped Edge’s postcard up on the bookcase and gathered the mail up from the table. An envelope slipped from the pile onto the floor. I bent to pick it up, then stopped, recognising the handwriting. I knelt and took the envelope in my hand, hardly able to believe that this was one of Bono’s very rare communications.

I never had expected Bono to write, or phone. And I would never want to embarrass him by trying to contact him myself. Bono had written twice, the last time over a year ago when my book had been published. I turned the envelope over, opened it and took out Bono’s letter. It was short, and the handwriting took me a moment to decipher.

‘Hello, Roo. I’m writing this from a hotel room in LA. It’s late, or early, or both, cold outside and pissing down rain. I’m remembering Sweetwaters and how you took me walking in the wind.
‘Things have got very weird in the real world. I may have to leave it for a while - would you tell me I’m running away if I did that? - get some perspective.
‘Would your door be open or would you lock it up, put the chain on and tell me to fuck off? …’

Oh, this doesn’t sound right, I thought. What’s happened to shake you so badly? Bono ended the letter with a number, presumably in LA. I sat on my kitchen floor and asked myself the hard question. Would I welcome Bono back into my life and risk all the upheaval and hurt that might cause - or shut the door on him forever?

‘Hellooo, you home, Roo?’ Janey, best of all friends, breezing into the kitchen to find me sitting on the floor like a stunned mullet. ‘Oh, Jeez, what’s happened? What are you doing down there? Are you hurt?’

‘No, no, I’m alright,’ I hastily reassured her. ‘Just some strange news from the world of the rich and famous.’

I got up and handed Bono’s letter to Janey, who sat down to read it while I put the kettle on. She looked at me, her expression puzzled and concerned.

‘Well, this is a turn-up,’ Janey said. ‘What’re you going to do? I know how you feel about him, but it’s a whole new can of worms to open, isn’t it?’

‘Too right,’ I answered. ‘The old inner pilot’s saying leave it alone. But I’ve never really been able to let him go, you know. It sounds like he’s got trouble, how can I turn my back on him?’ I handed Janey a cup of tea and sat down with a sigh. ‘I just don’t know if I’m up to it, Janey.’

‘Especially as you don’t know what the trouble is,’ she said wryly, knowing I’d already made the decision.

‘One way to find out …’ I said, reaching for the phone.

Janey put her hand over mine. ‘Just be careful, Roo. You came through well last time, but it cost you a lot. Make sure things go your way if you’re going to start it all up again.’

I smiled at my friend, who always had my best interests at heart. ‘It’s hard to be careful where Bono’s concerned. He does tend to make me behave totally irrationally,’ I laughed. ‘I’ve had it pretty easy lately, life’s getting a bit boring, maybe I need to pull it all apart again.’

Janey pulled a face. ‘You’re a braver woman than me, then. I can’t imagine wanting to tear everything up - but then again, I’ve got a lovely, cosy life. I’ve sort of got Bono to thank for that, too, ’cause if you’d never met him you’d never have met Sam …’

‘And you wouldn’t have a lovely, sexy husband,’ I finished for her. ‘Funny how things turn out, huh?’ I picked up the phone.

‘Do you want me to leave you in private? Janey asked.

‘Don’t you dare go! I need all the support I can get,’ I answered, dialling the number. A lot of clicks and then silence as the connection went through. Ringing. I took some long, slow breaths. Slow down, heart, slow down.

Still ringing. ‘I reckon he’s out,’ I whispered to Janey. ‘Or left his phone in the bloody bathroom again.’

Janey rolled her eyes. ‘Keep trying. Maybe he’s asleep. What time is it in LA anyway?’

‘Fucked if I know,’ I said, just as the ringing stopped.

‘Fucked if you know what?’ asked a voice in my ear.

‘What time it is,’ I answered, putting my hand over my eyes.



‘It could only be you, ringing me up to ask the time all the way from New Zealand. How’s it going darlin’? Oh, and its 3.30 here.’

Still got his wonderful Irish accent, I thought. Still has the same effect, too.
‘Going good here,’ I said. ‘Sorry if I woke you up.’

‘No, I don’t sleep much nowadays,’ said Bono absently. ‘You got my letter, then?’

‘I did.’

A short silence.

‘So …,’ Bono hesitated. ‘Is the door open?’

‘It was never closed, Bono.’

A deep sigh, drifting down all those miles of cable beneath earth and oceans.

‘Can you talk about what’s happening to you?’ I asked him gently.

‘I’ll tell you when I see you,’ he said, sounding tired.

‘OK. Get some sleep now.’

‘I’ll sleep on the plane. God bless, Roo.’

‘Go safely, Bono. ’Night.’ I put the phone down.

‘So, he’s coming over?’ said Janey.

‘Looks like it. Not sure when, though.’ I had a moment of panic. ‘What’s it going to be like, seeing him again? We might not have anything to say to each other now. But he sounded so low, so unlike him …’

‘You can’t take the world on your shoulders,’ said my wise friend. ‘He obviously wants to see you. Just let it happen, is my advice.’


I had no idea when Bono might arrive, or indeed if he would arrive at all. I was half-expecting a phone call telling me something had cropped up and he wouldn’t be coming. It was no use mooning around the house waiting for him but it was difficult to concentrate on anything either. Best to keep busy, so I spent a hard day working in the garden, helped and hindered by Effanbee and Beep, the demented grey cat.

Later, watching a huge silver moon rise, it was clear Bono wouldn’t be with me that day. Maybe tomorrow, I thought. Or the next day. Or next week … damn it, I’m so tired.

I wandered through to my bedroom, thinking I’d never sleep despite the tiredness. But sleep crept up on me when I wasn’t looking, taking away all thoughts, good and bad.

I awoke to a room flooded with blue moonlight. Some sound had filtered through the sleep. Opening my eyes, I saw a shadow moving towards the bed. I kept quiet, watching the shadow, somehow knowing who it was.

‘Are you awake?’ Bono whispered.

‘Wide awake.’ I whispered back.

Bono sat on the edge of the bed. I sat up, trying to see through the shifting shadows of moonlight, wondering if he was really there or if I was dreaming.

Bono reached out and no, I wasn’t dreaming. These were his arms round me, real as my own, his hand gently stroking my face, his eyes reflecting the moonlight.

‘Thought I’d never get here,’ said Bono wearily, resting his head on my shoulder. ‘It was a hell of a journey.’

‘Tell me in the morning,’ I said gently. ‘Time for sleep now.’

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Old 01-10-2007, 07:11 AM   #2
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YAY! I'm soooo excited that you posted the sequel!

Oohh dear what's wrong with Bono?

I love the chess game through post cards with Edge. Brilliant.

Loving this already

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Old 01-10-2007, 08:52 AM   #3
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hooray! Im so glad you are doing this - couldn't get these characters out of my mind either. Excellent writing, more more as soon as you can
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:15 AM   #4
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Thank you for deciding to post it after all!!!!

Edge and the postcard chess... that's so geeky that it's realistic!

I wonder what's going on with Bono too
Originally Posted by GraceRyan View Post
And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:31 AM   #5
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Oh Effanbee, I can't tell you how happy I am to see a sequel to Learning to Fly truly wonderful Can't wait to find out what's wrong with poor Bono and just lovely to hear about Roo again

Thanks for posting so much for posting, so appreciate it
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Old 01-10-2007, 02:25 PM   #6
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Originally posted by spanna
Oh Effanbee, I can't tell you how happy I am to see a sequel to Learning to Fly truly wonderful Can't wait to find out what's wrong with poor Bono and just lovely to hear about Roo again

Thanks so much for posting, so appreciate it
Ooops, there amended to the best of my ability
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Old 01-10-2007, 03:37 PM   #7
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Hi guys, hope everyone had a good time over the holidays.

Yup, Bono's in trouble! The postcard chess was something I used to do with a friend who lived miles away - the last game went on for over a year (and he won!). I could just imagine Edge doing something nerdy like that, bless him.

More soon xx
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Old 01-10-2007, 09:16 PM   #8
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Originally posted by Effanbee
Yup, Bono's in trouble!
oh no!

... but I'm feeling better now that I've read the first chapter of another terrific story by Effanbee.
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Old 01-10-2007, 09:47 PM   #9
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see Effanbee!! You had nothing to worry about with this sequel!! Knew everyone would love it!! You're brilliant and don't ever doubt it!
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:52 PM   #10
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Wow I can`t wait for more
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Old 01-11-2007, 07:33 AM   #11
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Yo! This is fantastic! I can picture it all so easily in my mind's eye. Like I'm actually there, sitting on the floor saying: Come on! What'sit say??? Spill! Spill!

I'm intregued as to what the B has been up to.

And as for that voice.... sex with Bono....
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Old 01-12-2007, 03:14 AM   #12
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Ahh, Effanbee.. miraculous child.
Thank you seven times over for posting this.

I needed a distraction... and this one came packaged wonderfully.
A wonderfully melancholy pick-me-up.

Beautifully done.
And much needed.
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Old 01-12-2007, 12:06 PM   #13
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Ok, I just sat and read all of Learning to Fly, and am so glad that you have started the sequel! Not exactly what I had planned to do with my morning, but I couldn't stop reading.

Effanbee, you are an extraordinarily talented writer. Seriously. Learning To Fly was beautiful, sad, funny...everything that life is. I'm glad you're writing more for us so we can continue this journey with Roo and the boys. You are officially my hero!

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