At Last

Now all I had to do was buy something to wear, rent a car, get a babysitter, and somehow appease my jealous husband…Ha!

I went out and bought, a short, black, high necked sweater dress which showed my shape, without being obvious.  I was more interested in showing off my legs, my best feature.  More than one man has actually followed me down the street because of my legs, and my graceful walk.  The best compliment I’ve ever gotten was from an old boyfriend who wrote to me years later saying “I still wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night thinking about your legs”

I found black patent leather heels, and a belt to match with a beautiful silver buckle, a Coach bag, and a long black coat with big shoulders as was popular in the 80’s, very elegant.

As I pondered the conversation I would have to have with Brian I meant to make it clear that I wouldn’t take no for an answer, but actually I didn’t ask the question, I simply told him I was going to go see Lemmy, and that was it.

I’d never have left Sylvie overnight and she was still nursing , so she was coming with me, along with her friend Shannon, another adorable 2 year old, and Laurie, Shannon’s mother.  Laurie landed in Northampton as a mother in hiding from an extremely abusive relationship.  No one knew her real name or where she came from so as to keep her safe from Shannon’s father. She was part of a group of mothers and children housed and protected in our neighborhood. All of our kids played together in the park everyday, the mothers sharing childcare.  Laurie knew who Lemmy was and knew Motorhead’s music, so she was excited and happy to help. I too, was happy to have someone to share this with.

It was a cold, dismal December day. The skies were grey, and the lands were icy. It was a long uneventful drive to Schenectady, but I felt free!!  With the money I now had, I no longer had to scrounge around for every necessity.  We could do whatever we wanted and take care of any need.  Laurie would keep the kids occupied at the hotel while I went to visit Lemmy and see Motorhead.  I knew Sylvie and Shannon would be perfectly happy playing together and then drop off to sleep!

Laurie and I checked into the hotel and I quickly got dressed.  Laurie saw me off with  thumbs up and crossed fingers, and I drove to the bar where Motorhead where was playing.  It was a stereo-typical country roadside bar, dark, with low ceilings, nothing at all to distinguish it.  I told the man at the door that I was there to see Lemmy.  “Well, I don’t see him at the bar” he said as he scanned the room, “he’s probably on the bus. Give me a minute and I’ll take you out there”

I waited patiently,  oblivious to the band on stage or the bar scene.  I was completely wrapped up in my own thoughts.

To say I was nervous would be an understatement… an exaggerated understatement. Throughout the twenty eight years after that day that I would go to see Lemmy, it never really changed.  Sometimes it was easier than others, but try as I might to be casual about seeing him, I could never really pull it off.  I remember one time taking Sylvie with me to a show when she was about 16 years old.  We had stopped at a restaurant just before arriving at the venue to take a moment after the long drive.  Sitting in the car, ready to proceed, she watched me questioningly, wondering what was going on.  I took deep breaths trying to maintain my composure.  I remember saying to her, “ Sylvie, you will never, ever, see me as nervous as I am right now.  Lemmy just has that effect on me.”

Now the guy was walking me to a back door. As he opened it he said “This way.”  He escorted me to the bus and knocked on the door.  Philthy Animal Taylor answered the door.  “There’s someone here to see Lemmy” the guy told him.  Philthy stepped aside with a nod for me to come in.  I walked into the brightly lit bus.  Lemmy was sitting at the table playing chess with one of the crew. There was no exclamation of “Oh, I remember you!!” as I came into the bus. He kind of looked me up and down though, as he took a drag off his cigarette and stood up. “Hi…take a seat”, he said motioning to the upholstered tour bus couch. “Would you like a drink? “Yes”, I replied, “thank you” “Jack n’coke?” he asked. “Sure, that would be great” I said. “I would have washed my hair if I knew you were coming” Lemmy said as he smoothed his hair.  He poured a drink, handed it to me, then sat back down at the table.  I sat across the aisle sipping the drink and watched Lemmy as he continued the witty banter with his mates over the chess game.  I leaned back and crossed my legs, doing my best to appear nonchalant.  I noticed his sideways glances at me, as if he was trying to figure out who I was, why I was there, and whether he was interested.

He had changed, of course.  He was wearing black jeans and shirt, one dangling earring, a chain with a dagger pointing downwards, and his quintessential white boots.  He acted differently from the 22 year old I knew in 1968.  It was a subtle difference.  He seemed bolder, confident.  He had in his 20‘s been, somehow, quietly refined.  Now he seemed more…American?  You know the cliche’ that men act differently with women when around other men, and sweeter to a woman when alone with her?  Like in “Grease” when John Travolta’s character sees Sandy for the first time at school in front of his friends.  It felt a bit like that.  As light conversation continued, I thought “Well, this isn’t as I hoped it would be”.  Still, I was glad I came.  “Look, that kid’s trying to get your attention!” I pointed out to Lem.  A fan outside the bus kept jumping up to look in the window.  The kid motioned to me to get Lemmy’s attention, so I called his attention to the kid.  He ignored the kid, saying matter-of-factly “I can’t be there for every fan all the time”

Then the energy shifted.  Lemmy got up and invited me into the back of the bus.  I followed him past the bunks lining the unlit corridor to the “Bunker”.  The little room in the back of the bus had cushioned seats all around, giving it the appearance of being round.  The tables were cluttered with Lemmy’s stuff, his briefcase open on the table.

Lemmy invited me to sit and poured me another drink.  He sat down next to me.  He proudly showed me lyrics he was writing.  This was just like it was 20 years ago when he’d show me his artwork or play riffs for me.  We sat there together not speaking much. He was trying to keep the conversation going while I sat nervously trying to think of something to say.  He pointed to my cheek where I had a slight rash. “I know” I said, it’s nerves”.  “Do I make you nervous? he asked.  “You do”, I said with a sigh of relief at being able to admit it.

Unexpectedly, as I was speaking, he leaned over to me and kissed me.  He had literally “taken me” off guard.  Everything in me just gave over to him.  That kiss melted me away.  And yet when he backed away I kept talking, finishing my sentence where I had left off.  I have always done ridiculous things like that around Lemmy.  I can’t think straight when he’s near.

He got up and went across the room and lit a cigarette.  With the cigarette hanging from his lips he made another drink for himself.  He glanced at me from across the tiny room as he took a drink of his Jack and Coke.  And then he was in front of me on his knees.  He grabbed one of my knees, pushed it aside and moved in close to me, his arms enveloping me around the waist, as my legs closed in around his.  My arms wrapped around his neck, our cheeks melded and we held together there as if we were frozen in time.  He kissed me again now, a long loving, passionate kiss.  As he kissed me I felt my whole body vibrating as though a train was rushing through us.  I actually heard the roaring of the train, and it was as if the whole room was lit up with the headlights of the train.  It was the most intense moment of my life.  I’ve never felt anything like that before or since.  My whole body was electrified.  I felt entranced by him.

He put his hands on my hips and pulled my body toward him.  He was clearly wanting more.  He moved towards me and kissed me again.  At this point, the reality of my life took hold. “Lemmy, I can’t…I’m married” I whispered.

That I stopped him in that moment is the only real regret I have in my life.  He slowly stood up and turned away, saying nothing.  We regained our composure, as we returned from that ephemeral place.  We continued in conversation, and I told him again how appreciative I was of how he treated me in London.  I wanted him to know, in no uncertain terms, how much it meant to me.  I told him how much in love with him I had been, that I’d never stopped loving him, and that I thought about him all the time.  I told him it seemed miraculous to me to find him again.  We reminisced about London, Earls Court Road, and the 60‘s.  He told me that Sam Gopal had become an arrogant, self centered bastard, that Roger had wed.  He hadn’t seen Leo or Noddy in years.

I picked up a silver oval with a cowboy/Native American look to it. “It’s got some interesting colors” I noted to him as I examined it. “ Oh, I did that” Lemmy said,” “with markers.  You can have it if you like”  He took out a Motorhead publicity shot, one of those glossy black and white ones.  On it he wrote: ”To Cyn, Yoo Hoo, 20th Anniversary! Love, Lem”.  Interestingly, the colors Lemmy had painted on the medallion “wore off as time wore on” while the black and white photo took on those same the colors over the years.

Now someone knocked on the door and told Lemmy it was nearly time to go on.  We left the bus and walked to the club.  Lemmy had walked on ahead of me, not noticing me gingerly walking on the slippery ground in those stupid patent leather heels.  When we got inside we went right backstage.  It was dark, with only the light on the stage in the distance.  The road crew was at work finishing setting up for the band. Lemmy had me backed against the stacks of black leather equipment cases.  Cigarette in one hand over my head, leaning on the wall of cases, the other around my waist, looking deeply into my eyes, he kept kissing me.  The sexual tension between us was tangible, and I imagined, almost wished, we’d be caught Inflagrante Delicto right then and there standing against the wall.  I can hardly think about it…

“It’s driving me crazy, the way you keep biting your lip” he commented.  “If you’re still here when we finish playing, you know what were gonna do”, he said. “Uh…I, I …” I stammered, not knowing what to say.   “Well,” Lem said, “come see me any time”.  He gave me a quick kiss and headed onstage.  As he walked away he looked back, pointing at me and added “but don’t bring any guys with you”. I watched the band play for a while and then slipped out the back door into the darkness.IMG_1652