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Old 12-18-2006, 03:18 AM   #1
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Learning to Fly, Part 8

Learning to Fly
Part 8

By evening I felt half-human again, restored by the simple tasks of attending to the animals’ needs. I planned a blissfully peaceful evening, a good book, some gentle music and time to reflect on last night.

Curled up with Clannad in the background and a long, cool drink (of water), I found I could not concentrate on reading. Scenes from the hotel, the club, the alley flashed through my brain … and the sound of the phone cutting in, insistent, imperative. I reached over to the phone, cutting off its idiot bleeping.

‘’Lo,’ I mumbled.

‘Ag, you sound as bad as I feel,’ came Bono’s voice.

‘Remind me never to drink again, ever,’ I said.

‘Never drink again, ever,’ he said seriously. ‘Want to share hangovers?’

‘Um, I dunno Bono, I’m not very good company right now,’ I began.

‘See you in a bit,’ from Bono. The phone went dead.

I looked at it, frowning. What’s that all about? Guess I’d be finding out soon. I turned down the lights, hoping to disguise the fact that I looked about 100 years old.

*****

Bono was looking pretty ravaged himself. Stretched out on the sofa, hair a bit mad, shirt done up wrong. I tried to stifle a giggle behind my hand.

‘What?’ he said.

‘Nothing, nothing …’ I regained some control. ‘Haven’t felt this crap for decades. But I had a great time last night.’

‘Apart from being jumped in an alley.’

‘Well, that was probably the low point of the evening. The bastard gave me some good bruises too.’

Bono leaned over to see the circle of bruises around my neck.

‘Thank God for Larry, my knight in a leather jacket,’ I laughed.

‘Yeah, our Lars really excelled himself,’ said Bono. ‘Especially on the dance floor.’

I went scarlet. ‘I can’t believe we did that,’ I muttered. ‘That horrible reporter, he just got our backs up. Larry reckoned we should give him something to write about … it seemed like a good idea at the time.’

‘Looked great too,’ said Bono, a little gleam in his eye. He fished around on the floor for his jacket. ‘Hurley got his story, too,’ he said, handing me a copy of NZ Metroscene.

‘Oh, shit.’ I read the column, which was accompanied by a badly printed picture of me and Larry dancing. ‘What’s this all about? “U2’s brooding, macho drummer … a strong following in the gay community … the band’s highly-paid lady of the skies …” he’s implying Larry is gay and I’m the band whore? Fuck my boots!’ I rubbed my forehead, swallowed tears of anger.

‘Be easy, Roo,’ said Bono. ‘There’s been a lot worse said about us, though Larry usually flies beneath the radar. He’s actually seeing the funny side, but we had some fireworks when he first saw it. And Adam’s giving him heaps of stick.’

‘Crap picture, too,’ I muttered, chucking the paper behind the sofa. ‘I guess we asked for it, though.’

‘Whatever we do, there’ll be someone calling us names,’ Bono said. ‘Like Adam is a waster, Edge is talentless, Larry’s a grumpy bastard. And I’m all of the above, plus a pretentious, boring, loud-mouthed do-gooder.’

‘Anyone who thinks that must be brain-dead,’ I said.

‘Of course, in my case it’s all true,’ said Bono in martyred tones.

‘Ooh, fishing for compliments,’ I grinned. ‘Could the megastar ego be a little bruised because the handsome drummer stole your fire?’

Bono dropped the martyr act and gave me a shove with his foot. ‘Not true,’ he said. ‘But all compliments gratefully accepted.’

‘Hmmm, let me see. I’d say scruffy, in dire need of a shave, looks like he slept in his clothes but somehow alarmingly sexy despite all that.’

‘Completely true,’ agreed Bono smugly. ‘And I’m not jealous of Larry stealing the limelight. Just wish I’d thought of it first.’

I chucked a cushion at him. I wished I’d got to dance with Bono too. But that would not have been a parody and it would have been harder for me to laugh about when the press ripped us to shreds. I looked down at Bono’s feet, propped in my lap in that casual way of his. ‘What, and have these great lumps tread all over me? Dream on.’ They were rather neat feet, I thought. Bono just grinned knowingly.

‘We got some unexpected visitors today,’ he said. ‘Someone must have overheard something, or maybe followed us, anyway our cover’s been blown. There’ll be more tomorrow, probably. Most of our fans are really good people, it’s the paparazzi we’re more worried about.’

I felt cold, suddenly. ‘So will you have to move on, find somewhere else?’

‘Might, depends on how bad it gets.’

Colder. A lump in my chest. Stupid, spoke up the inner pilot, you know he has to leave anyway. Help him out here, stop being a pain in the ass.

‘South Island’s really nice,’ I managed. ‘Or you could visit the islands, New Caledonia is so beautiful …’ I stopped, stupid lump in my throat now.

‘Lord, woman, are you trying to get rid of me?’ Bono teased me gently.

‘Hell, yes. Wish I’d never met you.’ I met his eyes. ‘What do you think, Bono? D’you think I want to see you gone?’

Bono is no idiot and could see that enough was enough. ‘Nah,’ he said softly. ‘I don’t want to be gone, neither does anyone else.’

So what’s the solution? I thought.

‘Maybe we could camp out in your back yard,’ suggested Bono jokingly.

‘No good, the geese would eat you.’ An idea was forming. ‘But there is a place … it’s close, no road to it …’ Bono let me think. ‘It’s a bit ridiculous, but we could go bush for a few days, let it be known you’ve left.’

‘Go bush?’ Bono said in mock horror. ‘Sleeping rough, killing our own food, all that sort of thing?’

Not likely, I thought. If we go into hiding we’ll do it in style. ‘Sure,’ I said to Bono. ‘Plenty of shellfish and huhu grubs …’

‘Think I’d rather take a chance on the crazies,’ said Bono.

‘Yeah, probably easier to hide up in a hotel somewhere.’ I said.

Bono pondered on this for a bit. The whole point of being in New Zealand was to get some down-time, away from people and travelling and hotels, so I crossed my fingers.

‘It might work,’ he said slowly. ‘I’ll have to run it past the other guys of course.’ I got the feeling Bono knew exactly what was going on in my head.

****

Next day Bono phoned to give the go-ahead. I wanted to jump around the room for joy, tried to sound nonchalant. ‘Let me speak to Siobhan then, we’ve got some organising to do.’

Siobhan got all the machinery in motion. I made the arrangements for taking care of the cats and geese, the horses were coming with us. Things were getting a bit hot at the Hole so we planned to take off the following morning.

Edge dropped by to see if I needed a hand. ‘Had to drive the back roads, there are cars and people all over the place,’ he said, dropping his sunglasses on the table and removing his hat to wipe his brow. I’d never seen Edge without a hat of some sort. A noble brow, I thought. So what if the hair is gone. Edge pulled a blue bandana from his pocket and tied it around his head.

‘D’you mind helping me take the horses down?’ I asked him.

‘Love to,’ he said. ‘I’m going to miss the riding, I’m almost getting fit.’

Edge and Jack had certainly formed a bond. The big bay horse bellowed a greeting as he saw Edge at the paddock gate, and made a big show of ignoring me completely.

‘You have stolen my horse,’ I laughed, watching Jack tuck his head under Edge’s arm - a gesture of affection once reserved only for me.

Edge stroked the horse’s neck. ‘I’m gonna miss you,’ he whispered in Jack’s ear. A rumble of agreement from Jack.

Walking the horses along the winding track, the sun beating on our heads like hammers. It was far too hot to do anything but amble along. Edge didn’t talk much but it was an easy silence. I wondered if he was thinking of home, family or solving the meaning of the universe.

‘Bono tells me we’re going to be eating bugs,’ said Edge. ‘But then, Bono tells me a lot of things that are crap.’

‘Ah, well, you can’t be a proper bushman if you won’t eat the bush tucker,’ I told him with a grin. ‘They’re really quite tasty, sort of nutty.’

Edge grimaced. I suspected that if I had served up huhu grubs he would have eaten them just for the experience.

We crossed the ridge and angled towards the cliff tops, looking down at the beach and rocks where the hermit family lived. Soon we would make the steep descent to the hidden beach on the other side of the point.

There was a question I needed to ask Edge. I had to know how much longer they were planning to stay. ‘So, when are you flying out?’ I asked him casually.

‘We’ve got two more weeks,’ answered Edge. ‘Then back to the world.’

Two weeks, fourteen days. Then back to reality. Eyes front, look at the sea, changeless, eternally washing over our dreams.

‘There it is,’ I pointed to the long, curving bay below us. ‘We’ll set up camp there, where the dunes will give us some shelter.’

Edge stopped to take in the view. ‘Ah, now that is one beautiful place,’ he sighed.
‘Hardly anyone knows it’s there. It’s difficult to find and difficult to get to. We’ll have some fun getting the 4-wheel drives down here tomorrow.’

‘Better not let Bono drive,’ Edge cautioned. ‘He’s likely to take the short route, right over the cliff.’

‘No way,’ I agreed. ‘I thought Larry might have some fun driving cross-country and I’ll take the Landrover.’

We settled the horses into the small paddock behind the dunes and went down to the beach for a rest before the long walk back. Edge leaned back in the sand, entranced by the endless progression of waves. Eyes green of the pounamu, sacred stone, seeing further than I ever could.

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scutting across the floors of silent seas …


****

Arriving back at my house late that afternoon there were about a million messages waiting. Edge patiently dealt with them all, calming the troubled waters while I got us some food.

‘Is it OK if I stay here tonight?’ he asked around mouthfuls of risotto. ‘The Hole in the Wall is under siege. And Bono’s not helping, wandering around in his boxers. And Adam was nearly caught sunbathing.’

‘As in nude sunbathing?’

‘Oh yes.’

‘Hope he’s got some good sunblock then. Yes, it’s fine for you to stay, Edge. The back bedroom’s all set up.’

Edge repaid my hospitality by beating me at chess four times in a row. ‘Enough, enough!’ I laughed. ‘I cry mercy. But one day, one day …’

I left Edge looking through my DVDs, went and made us tea.

‘What’re we watching, then?’

‘American Beauty.’

Hell, I always cry watching that movie. Just can’t help it. ‘Cool, Kevin Spacey, great actor.’

As usual, I had tears pouring down my face at the end of the film. But I couldn’t help noticing a glitter in Edge’s eyes as well.
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Old 12-18-2006, 03:32 AM   #2
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Ahhh, you are once again being Goddess like... and gracing us with more wonderment.



And the story:
Awwww beautiful....

There is a quiet strength in Edges character, that you seem to capture well.
The scenery of course is always beautifully described and I can see it all - and it's got such a natural vibe.

Oh God... two weeks and they'll be leaving.... my heart is starting to break just thinking about it.

Man this story has really struck a chord with me - it's gotten right into my head.... and that, my friend, is the sign of a good writer.


Conveniently as I was reading this WOWY came on - providing a lovely backdrop for their journey with the horses.




I eagerly... no, make that EXTREMELY eagerly await more.

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Old 12-18-2006, 09:35 AM   #3
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Only two more weeks?

I really like this story
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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 12-19-2006, 03:41 AM   #4
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I like this story too..got chills in a few places..
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Old 12-19-2006, 04:10 AM   #5
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I definitely got chills...


And now... I lounge about fatigued and lowly because I dont have another installment to read.


Mwahahah...

Guilt, no?





---------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Hmmm tanner_sis can I have one of those clones?
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Old 12-19-2006, 04:17 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your continued interest in this little tale - I'm going to try to post the rest before Christmas.

BDO - it was weird when I was writing this, U2 songs kept coming on the TV music station at the most appropriate moments, it seemed some kind of sychronicity was at work. For instance, I had no idea about Larry's famous 'fuck off and die' comment until a couple of days after I'd written that part - then I read about it in one of the U2 books. So strange ...
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Old 12-19-2006, 02:50 PM   #7
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Heheh.. synchronicity.... indeed.. a supportive universe. See... the world is working with you - and that is proof that you must continue....

mwahahah

Oh... I see part 9 has arrived.... must fly!
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