Stylized line drawing of mark playing the flute

Free-writing: Lissie, Live at Brighton

There is an online video of a blonde girl singing a song. She's not the first and she won.t be the last but, for now, I.m totally fascinated by her. watched the video so many times now that I.m aware of every slight facial expression she makes as she plays. The way she sticks her lower lip out to blow the hair from her face right before she starts singing. The way her head bobs up and down as she turns away from the microphone.

She's freckled, rumpled, sexy, and cool.

Voice like an angel.

She seems like talent and trouble.

She seems like she's overflowing with smartness. She seems like the sort of girl you.d be proud to have your daughter grow up to be but you.d spend years worrying about her.

Two minutes and twenty seconds in comes a moment that hits me like a punch in the gut. The song slows to a trickle of notes, she crouches briefly to the ground, almost entirely on her knees. And then she explodes likes she's been shot out of a cannon. She flies up off the ground straight into the microphone.

She screams a single word .RUN!. and then she's turned around beating her guitar like her life depends on the music coming out of it. When she turns back, her face is clenched. Her eyes squint through the next verse and her cheeks, just below her eyes, tremble from the exertion.

That voice, that voice pierces me. In the span of her scream, I act out entire lifetimes with her in my mind.

I image that anger is actually sadness. That something has happened. Someone has died and that rage is focused on me like a beam of light through a magnifying glass. Then she crumples into my arms weeping and I hold her until the rage fades away. All of this happens in my mind for the twenty seconds until she moves onto the next verse.

Her tongue occasionally peeks out when she concentrates on an involved riff. Or maybe she closes her eyes as she sings a line.

Lyrics roll over full lips and I would kiss them. I don.t love her. I don.t know her. I don.t want her. I would kiss her lips just because they exist floating in a vacuum by themselves like the mouth at the beginning of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

They remind me of every kiss ever had. Every kiss I loved and every kiss I regret.

The round O of her mouth as words pour out. Even when she's quiet, there's power underneath. The power of her voice ready to spill out at a moment's notice. Every kiss I loved is in that round O.

It's the end of the night and she looks sweaty and tired and strong. I can imagine the smell of Red Stripe beer in her sweat.

When she puts the guitar down on the stage, she's like Jesus unshouldering the cross at the top of Golgotha.

The weight has been lifted, the end is in sight, and still there's fear. She's singing with total desperation.

It's not her words. She can.t see anyone in front of her anymore. She's singing for her life, for her happiness, for everything she gave up to be on this stage. not her words but she's singing them to me.

A thin, pale arm raised in defiance. Fuck that.

Her face lightens, a slight shake of the head. Fuck that.

The clatter of the guitar on the ground. Fuck that.

Punching the air in front of her. Fuck that.

Looking to the heavens, convulsing on each note. The end of the world. Fuck that.

She doesn.t know me and I don.t know her. I.m just lost in that voice and those lips. The slight bounce of her breasts as she sways. The weight of the guitar in her arms.

She's strong in a way that I don.t think I can ever be. I.m hiding but so is she.

A shield of swagger surrounding her. A shield of swagger that breaks with each epithet shouted into the microphone. Fuck that.

She.ll be fine. I.ll be fine. Fuck that.

I.m living half a dozen different lifetimes with her in my mind.

Every one ending in disaster because I don.t know her. Fuck that.