By Summer Bacon
We're not really sure when it didn't happen. But, we both agree that it must have been sometime between 1980 and 1983 at my family's recording studio in Topanga Canyon, CA. That's when Martin (not his real name) was recording at our studio with his punk rock band. I was studio manager, and my job was scheduling clients, cleaning the studio between sessions, copying tapes, fetching food, and generally taking care of whatever other assorted tasks I was asked to do, such as delivering master tapes to other studios in Los Angeles. One time, the beautiful actress, Ann-Margret (yup, the one and only) dressed casually and with her hair swept back under a scarf, very sweetly asked me if I might drive her massive black Volvo with tinted windows (a brand new gift from her husband) to the nearest gas station and fill the tank.
We spent a few minutes together trying to figure out where the gas tank was, and what kind of fuel that car required. God, she was so beautiful, inside and out. What a genuine and gentle soul. Those moments with her were a truly blessed few minutes of my life.
I met a lot of wonderful talented people during the time that Skyline Recording was in operation, and Martin was no exception. In fact, he had a lasting effect on my life that continues to this day. I fell in love with him the moment I laid eyes on him. I had never felt that way about a man before. The attraction and connection that I felt were instantaneous, like something out of a romance novel. He was five years older than me, with the most sensuous and soulful eyes I had ever seen. Even my father, to this day, says that Martin had a Christ-like presence, though he was also deliciously rough around the edges. I was, I suppose, fortunate that I did not get too entangled with the whole rock-n-roll scene; i.e., the sex, drugs and alcohol. I was the little sister of the Chief Engineer, and daughter of the Owner, and that made me somewhat off limits in the minds of the young (and older) men who wandered through our facility. They were generally very kind, and some even watched out for my well-being, pulling me away from the dining table when someone tried slipping me a Mickey, or pulling a marijuana brownie out of my hand with a gentle, "Um, Sum, you don't want to eat that." I admit, I was fairly naive, and so by the grace of God, I was well cared for. However, in this particular case, perhaps too well cared for.
You see, Martin was not only the founder of a popular punk rock band, but he was also an intelligent, engaging conversationalist, and a humanitarian. It seemed he would seek me out whenever I arrived for work, as he would appear to me in the oddest of places, and we would "bump into" each other and talk in the hallway, in the doorway of the main room, or the entry to the lounge for what seemed like hours on end, until someone would holler for him from the control room. I could feel his reluctance in leaving my side, and I would stand there left alone, feeling absolutely intoxicated by the love that was building inside of me. Not once did he make advances towards me, but the attraction that we felt for each other was increasingly obvious, and unspoken. Add to the mix that jolt of energy and spice that came from working together in a creatively charged environment, and it all added up to yummy possibilities. None of which ever happened.
Time was running out. Martin had only one more day of recording left, and he, like so many other amazing people I met during those days, would disappear, possibly never to be heard from again. I spent a restless, sleepless night pondering how to proceed. I couldn't let him leave without expressing my feelings for him. I was in my early twenties, but as I said, I was fairly naive, and I was also tremendously shy. But, I knew that I had to overcome this if I was to have any chance with Martin. I made a decision, and rehearsed the moment over and over again in my mind; I would tell Martin that I loved him.
Like clockwork, when I arrived at the studio, I headed back to the lounge to check on the coffee, refill the cookie jar, and tidy up. No sooner did I get to the lounge when I heard the door open to the control room, and I knew Martin was heading my way. It was as if he had a sixth sense about me.
My heart skipped a beat as I whirled around to meet his gaze, and I was so nervous that I couldn't even focus on our conversation. All I saw was...those eyes...that smile...and felt immersed in his gentle presence, and soulful enthusiasm about life. Again, in my mind, I rehearsed my line over and over as he spoke to me. "Martin, I want you to know that I'm in love with you." Now was the time. It was now or never. I moved my lips to speak, but Martin didn't stop speaking, and then it happened...two words that would forever change my life and our destiny, "...my girlfriend..." he chattered on, smiling. Girlfriend? He had a girlfriend? I'd never heard him speak of her before. I'd never seen any women in the building with the band (at least, none that I saw, except for maybe a background singer). Girlfriend?
I choked back my words and my tears. Martin had a girlfriend. I had almost made an absolute fool of myself by speaking my truth to him. The rest of the day, and weeks thereafter, felt hollow and empty. This gentle, creative, soulful, intelligent, loving, beautiful man was already committed to someone else.
Fast-forward approximately 32 years, February 2016. I've finally figured out how to use Facebook wisely, "friending" only with family and true friends, and blocking all others. And, it has helped me to reconnect with some really beautiful people from the past; Martin being one of them. I forget how we became Facebook friends, but it was probably through my brother's page (they're friends). Our true friendship from the past was, I am delighted to say, reignited very easily, with kind and courteous private messages being sent back and forth between us, leading eventually to the inevitable phone call to catch up. I was uncertain how he would respond to me, especially when he was certain to ask, "So, what do you do for a living?" Gulp. After 21 years of answering that question honestly, it still leaves me feeling a little bit uneasy. Martin didn't miss a beat. "Cool!" he said, when I told him that I was a trance medium. "My grandmother was very psychic. She was born with a veil over her face, and said that this was an indication that she was a mystic." Well now, that little hurdle was easily maneuvered. Then came my chance: after 32 years I would speak my truth at last.
"Martin, I remember how we would meet up in the oddest places in the studio and talk endlessly. Well, I never told you, but I was so in love with you."
There was stony silence on the other end of the line.
His voice got very quiet. "What? Honey, why didn't you tell me?"
"Because you had a girlfriend."
"Yes. I was going to tell you my feelings on the last day that you were working at the studio, and I was literally going to speak my truth to you when you suddenly blurted out something about your girlfriend. I wasn't about to mess with that."
"Girlfriend?" he sounded truly confused, "I don't remember having a girlfriend back then. Maybe it was some rock-n-roll chick or something, but I didn't have a girlfriend. Honey, if you had told me how you felt, we..." his voice trailed off in disbelief. I could barely breathe. I covered my mouth with my hand and composed myself. I was a bit overwhelmed by the emotion that I was still feeling after all of those years.
"I wasn't sure how you felt about me, but we had so much in common," I said, "and I thought we had real chemistry, but you never made a move or anything, so I was uncertain. Then, when you said you had a girlfriend, it all added up."
"Summer, I didn't make a move because your brother was my engineer, and your father owned the studio. I didn't want to get kicked out! I loved that place, and I loved your family, and I loved you! You should have told me. It would have changed everything."
"Oh my God." We went silent for a bit. "You mean it came down to one unspoken sentence between us?"
"It would have changed everything, Summer."
We had both gone with our lives, doing our own work to help the world, each of us a motivated humanitarian; me as a spiritual teacher, and he as an advocate for human rights. We pondered what would have happened if we'd had a chance to be together.
"Maybe we would have been so immersed in each other that we never would have done the work we intended to do in this lifetime," I suggested.
"Maybe we would have been stronger as a team together," he countered.
Regardless, we admitted in defeat, the past was the past. And now, he really did have a girlfriend.
Dr. Peebles endlessly nudges us to speak our truth to the world, simultaneously admonishing us to speak it with compassion. It's one way to let the world know us, and for the world to let us know who they are in return. "Speak your truth," he says, "and listen for the honest echo from life around you." He makes it clear that what the world says in response to you, tells you more about them than it does about you. If you speak your truth and the world backs away, then you know more about the world around you; i.e., that they perhaps don't want to be with the authentic you, that they don't share your perspectives, etc. And, although this can be difficult to experience, it leaves room for others to enter your world; others of like mind and like heart. On the contrary, if you speak your truth, you might find that it draws the world closer to you, because they now know more about who you are, and perhaps they will fall in love with that. Either way, life becomes clearer, without all of the second-guessing.
If I'd spoken my truth to Martin, I, of course, don't know how it would really have turned out. But, in retrospect, I wish I'd given myself (and him) the chance to find out. In that moment, worst case, he would have said, "That's nice, but I have a girlfriend," and best case, he would have said, "I love you, too!" and we could have continued on from there.
Yes, it is what it is, and life has a funny way of always managing to be in right order. Things happen for a reason, blah, blah, blah. But, sometimes we need to help ourselves along the way, boldly opening ourselves up to opportunities and possibilities; asking for what we want and need, putting ourselves into the equation of life, and speaking our truth (if we know it) at every turn; allowing for ourselves to be seen and heard, rather than hiding ourselves away. What I did in that moment with Martin was think for him. "He has a girlfriend. He won't want to hear that I love him. He's not interested in me after all." I made unfair assumptions, and I cut off my own voice in fear that it would not be heard. Maybe he truly didn't have a girlfriend. Or maybe it was a girl who was a friend. And, if he did have a girlfriend, would it have been wrong of me to tell him that I loved him? At least he would have known, and at least he would have had the option of the possibilities that would have come with that knowledge.
So many scenarios, and so little time. Life is short, and I have learned a painful lesson about holding myself at arm's length from the world. I never forgot Martin, and kept my love for him to myself for many years after that moment in time. I am so happy that we are now forever friends (not just on Facebook), but I can't help but feel a bit sad about the what ifs.
Speak thy thought if thou believ'st it;
Let it jostle whom it may;
E'en though the
unwise scorn it,
Or the obstinate gainsay;
Every seed that
Lies beneath a clod today.
If our sires
(the noble hearted
Pioneers of things to come),
Had like some been
weak and timid,
themselves, and dumb,
Where would be our
Where the hoped
By J. M. Peebles, M.D., M.A., F.A.S., Ph.D. ©1909
From Preface of
Their Origin and Destiny