The bus to Boston was only half-full. There were maybe a dozen blue haired old women chatting with each other and the driver. I had the whole back of the bus to myself. I had never been able to watch the scenery on such a long trip before, and I made sure to stay awake and see everything. The older ladies didn't bother me much, they were probably afraid of me! It took almost two days to get there, with all the stops we had to make. The bus didn't get much fuller, but the trip was uneventful.
It was a Thursday evening when the bus made it to the city. It was a beautiful city, at that. I wanted to stroll down the brick streets or read a book in the park. But there were things to do. People to meet. Important connections to make. I needed to make a reputation fast.
My first stop was for food, and had my first real dinner since I left home. I walked around town for a while, finding my bearings, until I came across a bar. I happily plopped myself down on a stool and had a few shots. The girl behind the counter was a tough, pretty girl named Sukie. We chatted some, and she invited me to stay with her while I learned my way around.
She lived in an apartment near the college, and there were lots of aspiring musicians and plenty of drugs. I had missed that as much as I missed sleeping on a tour bus. She broke out her stash to share with me, and we stayed up half the night talking and comparing notes, getting to know each other. Her parents came here from Korea when she was a baby, and they had moved a lot when she was growing up. She'd had exposure to all kinds of people, which made her very easy to talk to. She'd also been around as much as I had, and her stories made me homesick for the road. We agreed to team up, and she got me a job at the bar with her so I could help with the rent.
One slow night, I was polishing glasses to kill time, and I heard a commotion. I glanced down the bar where Sukie and another girl were flirting with some young men who had just come in. I stayed where I was, trying to place them. Their clothes and attitudes screamed "rock star" but I had no idea who they were. I could hear their laughter, and Sukie was guesturing wildly with her hands the way she did when she told a really good story. The guys kept gazing over at me, until one made his way over. He had messy black hair, and a mouth like Mick Jagger's. Despite his height, he still held a commanding presence. But it was his eyes that did me in. He had that ornery, childlike sparkle that reminded me of Jimi Hendrix. Young at heart.
He let those eyes travel over me as he shook my hand, and introduced himself as Steven. I couldn't help but like him. He mentioned that Sukie had told them about me. Them? He meant Aerosmith. They were a baby band then, their first record was out but hadn't done too well. He seemed upset that I hadn't heard of them, and invited me to come see them play that weekend. Of course I agreed.
The gig was at a local club, which brought me back to my days in California when everything was new. Everyone was twenty-something and drunk, and the band was a huge hit. They mixed in a couple Zeppelin/Yardbirds covers, which really showed off their energy and talent as a group. I was a little upset with myself for almost missing out on a band with such potential. I was terrified that Steven would choose Sukie over me. I prayed that if anything, he would choose both of us.
Steven ran off the stage after a couple songs (probably for a fix) and the lead guitar player started to solo. I was impressed! He was a skinny, long haired kid, but he just oozed cool. Then halfway through, his solo morphed into the chorus of Red House. I could feel tears rolling down my face as I listened, transfixed. At that moment I knew where my life was going again, at least for a while. I had to find out more about this guitar legend in the making.
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