The day before Jorge left El Salvador he exchanged his rifle for a guitar.
In the United States he washed dishes at the International House of Pancakes for $3. 35 hour. He played his guitar on his free time on the grassy area of the college where I worked as an assistant gardener.
The first time I saw Jorge he was playing Neil Young’s Out On The Weekend like a left over angel from the 1970’s. I fell in love with him immediately. When he finished playing the song, I went up to him and kissed him. This was my first rock and roll kiss. I still remember the Harvest album taste in his mouth.
I was 16. Jorge was 25.
We saw each other after work to talk, to hold hands, and to kiss. I searched long and hard under his tongue for Led Zeppelin’s Battle of Evermore . I never found it.
I was not much of a girlfriend. I was too ignorant to talk about the social and political situation of El Salvador or about Reaganomics. We mostly talked about music. He liked to hear my rock and roll dreams while he snorted cocaine. Jorge liked to hear how I, after graduating from high school, was going travel with the Grateful Dead or how I was going to buy a red pick-up truck and move to San Francisco. He smiled when I told him I was going to have a son and name him Mick Jagger. I told him my dream about playing guitar. I was going to play a slow version of Sultans of Swing. It was going to be so slow it was going to ache. Jorge didn’t share his dreams. He told me El Salvador had taken all his dreams away. However, he was going to accept a ride to Los Angeles one day on my very own red pick-up truck.
Jorge never invited me to his house. He rented a small room from a mormon family who did not allow renters to bring women to the house. I assured him over and over that I wasn’t looking for a room. I wanted to wait until I was 18. I wanted a big brass bed like in Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay.
As time passed, my parents eventually found out Jorge’s age and prohibited me from seeing him. I didn’t fight their decision. At that time, Jorge’s cocaine use was becoming a problem and at 17 the levee was beginning to dry and the rock and roll bells were starting to break.
When I told Jorge I no longer wanted to see him, he asked me:
What about the red pick-up truck?
What about the big brass bed?
Three years later I saw Jorge at a park. He was playing his guitar. His body had taken a good beating from drugs. He sang The Battle Of Evermore.
I cried all the way home.
Guiño a Plympton. [Flickr]
8 hours ago