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Lives

By Stephen O'RawDec 21, 2010

2008

Amongst the 80,000 roaring music fans, Alice feels a sense of quiet detachment. Alone with her thoughts she feels as though she has been beamed to that very spot from a distant planet, an alien, indifferent to the manic world of revelry and enthusiasm around her.
The celebrated extravaganza she was attending was 'The Greenhouse Rock Festival'. It was the latest Worldwide Musical fund raising event and the largest effort to date. Global concern and political realization in the face of increasing drastic climate change has, much like oil production, finally peaked. The world is now fully aware, awake and active in a united effort to turn the ever rising tide.
The tide..In Alice's mind grey green waves lap and foam against ancient rocks.
As often before, Sir Bob Geldof has spearheaded the campaign. Lassoing down the stars, and announcing their magnetic presence for the line up bill. Sir Bob is now masterful at luring the Hollywood elite and music giants and using them to create media awareness, youthful enthusiasm and public sway. Combining these, the pressure mounts on politicians and corporate moneymen to bend and lend for once towards the greater good.
Alice remembers the day the tide brought the American stranger to dock at Ard na Ri harbour. It was raining that day almost thirty years ago.
It was not raining now. Rock legend Sting has formed a musical alliance once again with Stuart and Andy. The Police were reunited and singing 'Every little thing she does is magic'. The fans were exuberant, yelling and dancing. The happy crowd were on average around twenty years younger than Alice. They were on their feet. Alice sat, high above them in a VIP box. Like the guys on stage, she too was a little greyer, but beautiful nonetheless. Her eyes grey green - the colour of turbulent seas, lit with a sparkle of hope. A man could easily drown in those eyes, or be rescued by their glimmer.
The man she now loved did both. Jesse Delamere, from a single glance, died and was resurrected once again in those deep shimmering eyes.
Jesse Delamere was the reason she was here. Unknown to him, she had dragged herself from behind her cosy nook in her sleepy Irish village to the thronging beehive that was Wembley Stadium. She had sworn she wouldn't visit him as he pleaded to her to do so over the phone. But there she was, alone amongst strangers, having used the plane and VIP tickets he had sent to her. She wondered if he had yet found out that she had finally arrived.
Jesse Delamere, the man who helped her sing again, the man who brought flowers to the cracked streets of her village, the man who rubbed shoulders with the superpowers of music, and who was specifically drafted by Sir Bob himself to help with this cause with his unique allure.
He was too old for it. He knew it and she knew it. She disapproved of him leaving and she had urged him to turn down the request. He assured her he was only needed as a consultant. His presence was required merely to shake hands, make some calls, and have a few drinks with the music industry's movers and shakers as he had done on previous occasions. But this time was different. He had been gone three weeks. They were overstretching him.
She was adamant that she would not attend. She was a stubborn woman. But he begged. He promised her it would be the last time - again. He said the world depended on her presence. 'Stupid hippy', she thought and remained staunch. But it wasn't until he said he depended on her presence there that she caved. She tried to call him back. She wanted to say sorry for being so pig-headed. She wanted to tell him she'd be on the next flight. But he was unobtainable. Lost in a world of booming sound checks she assumed.
The headline act for this festival had been kept a secret. It was a great way of generating interest, speculation and media hype. It was a great way to sell tickets. Every major artist in or out of retirement had been nominated by pundits. The favourites now were McCartney, Springsteen and at 7 to 1 odds, a Jackson 5 reunion. As a marketing ploy it had worked brilliantly, the donations had come flooding in, smashing all expected estimations. Alice felt Jesse's involvement in this strategy. It would be very much his style to blindfold the world before revealing the aurora borealis on the very stage before them.
Back home he played down his prior status in America. He had apparently been a music producer in Minneapolis, and before that he had run a radio station in Massachusetts. He had made his mark and his money. Then he opted out of the hectic lifestyle to seek peace and tranquillity. He found it on the still streets of Ard na Ri Village, on the tail end of a rugged peninsula in Co. Kerry. Ireland.
The waves that washed him to the harbour, where Alice waited for her supplies to arrive off Gerry Dwyer's ferry, were the same waves that took her first and beloved husband, John. The same waves that lapped cold and heavy at her heart ever since the sea swallowed him, his crew and trawler. After John, she vowed she would never love again.
The Police wound down with 'Walking on the Moon' and bopped off stage to ecstatic applause. Bob Dylan was performing next.
When alive, John had loved Dylan, aka Robert Allen Zimmerman. He'd strum tambourine man for her as she'd sing. She had the voice of a nightingale. They called their son Allen - with two L's, John was quite subtle for a fisherman.
Three years after his death, Jesse's blue dessert boots came strutting off Gerry's ferry and onto the weathered stone of the harbour. Blue - no less! Not the kind of gaudy fashion statement the widow Costello was accustomed to, or would approve of in the humble rural Ireland of 1980. The widow Costello was 36.
Even in hindsight she can't say for sure if she immediately liked him. She sneered at his showy suede shoes, and asked him for no help with her deliveries. But he helped Gerry unload a case of cigarettes to her regardless.
Atrocious boots aside, he was handsome. Thick dark hair hung loose around his square jaw. Strong and slender. Graceful in his movement. American obviously, he dressed well, less flashy than the others that breeze through this particular nook of Ireland on their way to more popular tourist spots along the west coast. She expected it was to one of these places he was destined. He wasn't. He was looking for Alice Costello. He asked the bearded Gerry where he might find her.
'Your in luck Mr. America', said Gerry, 'You're just after handing her 200 Woodbines'.
Alice, a solitary thoughtful presence amongst the thronging crowd, is in her mind miles and years away. Dylan sang 'Like a Rolling Stone'. She briefly wondered if the Stones might headline then returned to her reverie.
She recalls the alarm in her stomach and her eyes widening with surprise at the mention of her name. She didn't know anyone in America. What did this stranger want from her?
Although flabbergasted she kept her usual outward stern. Gruff as ever she announced that indeed she was Alice Costello and, 'who the hell are you and what do you want of me?'
Smiling and almost charmed by her abrasiveness, he offered her his hand and said in his deep drawl, 'pleased to meet you Ma'am, I'm Jesse Delamere from the U.S of A. I've been searching a long time for somewhere quiet to escape to,' he smiled, 'I'm hoping to discuss the sale of your public house with you'.
She scowled and wouldn't take his hand. Stomping off with her trolley of cigarettes and sundries she yelled back, 'go home, it's no longer for sale'. But she knew he'd follow.
Her village, with a population of just 412, had hit on hard times. Alice felt it happened when John had died. But it had been happening for a good while before then. In 1977 the aluminium plant closed and th

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Reactions

benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 23, 2010report abuse
What a wonderful fairytale ! Really GREAT ! More than worthwhile to take the time to read it. Yes Lex, "If only...". Always El.
Jez (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 23, 2010report abuse
This is a BRILLIANT story! and I think would make an amazing MOVIE!!!!!!!
Johnny (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 22, 2010report abuse
Fantastic!! Can you imagine?
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Dec 21, 2010report abuse
If only....

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