On the night that I met one of the magical men I know, he told me one of the darkest, most horrifying true stories I have ever heard: a tale of fame, of abuse, of love, of a suicide attempt, a rape, an abandonment, a rescue, a missed shot at redemption and a headlong dive back down into a spiral of abuse and darkness. I can’t give you the details, my friends, because it’s not my story to tell, but it did not have a happy ending.
“She left me to die in a basement,” he told me, “I wanted to die. I spent the next month sitting in that basement while my friends set up a schedule to be with me around the clock to keep me from killing myself. My best friend slept at the foot of my bed every night.”
He looked at me, his beautiful blue eyes bleak with the recollection. “I felt like all my magic had died.”
And yet, here he was, three months later, utterly entrancing me.
At one point during our whirlwind of a first date, he mentioned “. . . the man who taught me how to hurt myself.”
Before I could ask what he meant, he began banging himself in the face with a metal cup he had pulled from his backpack. I watched in astonishment as he set the cup down and removed a long nail from his nose.
“I’m into weird shit,” he said with a grin. It grossed me out, but not enough to keep me from fucking him that night. Mostly because, well, he quoted poetry to me before going down on me, and what red-blooded American female can resist that?”
On our third date, he wanted to go to Museum of the Weird downtown. Remembering his antics on our first date, I looked around thoughtfully. “You should work here,” I suggested.
“No way could I ever work at a place this awesome.”
“I think you’d be great!” I said. “Ask them if they’re hiring.”
He suddenly became shy. “Circus! I can’t do that!” he exclaimed.
“Hey!” I called over to the cashier behind the counter at the gift shop. “Are ya’ll hiring?”
“As a matter of fact, we are,” the cashier responded.
You’ve never seen a man remove a business card from his wallet so fast before. He whipped it past my ear with a whoosh and slammed it on the counter. “Hi, I’m Tim,” he said, shaking the cashier’s other hand with a smartly executed flourish, “and I’d like to be your new tour guide.”
The Museum of the Weird hired him a week later. He became one of the best tour guides they’d ever had, making nothing but tips but raking in more than I earned a stripper. In a few months, he quit his first job at a smoke shop and paid all of his bills by working at the museum a few days a week.
I’m not gonna sugarcoat this: A man fresh off a suicide attempt is not a healthy person, and he put me through hell. We broke up, drifted apart and recently reconciled as friends. A year of consistent therapy had helped him a lot. He told me he had started a traveling sideshow, working numerous gigs around Austin each month. They were about to go on tour on the west coast, and once that wrapped, he planned to settle in LA and pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. I think he’ll be a resounding success.
Tim told me his magic died in a basement after his lover left him, but I think that is where it was actually born. If we let it, magic is always birthed in the silence and darkness of our pain, in the tumult of our despair and the exquisite torture of our regrets.
A few weeks ago, I was in my usual perch in the deejay booth prior to my shift, pouring my heart out to DJ Rob. He turned from his mixer and looked me dead in the eyes, his usually jovial face entirely solemn. “Wendy,” he said quietly. “You need to be writing right now.”
He was right. When the pain is nipping at your heels, let it propel you forward.
The next day, the lyrics to a song I entitled “Where the Magic’s Born” poured out onto my paper. I took them to DJ Rob. He read them and nodded. “This is good,” he said.
DJ Rob knows a thing or two about magic. He broke his leg recently, but he hasn’t skipped a beat. Instead, he’s been using the time he’s been laid up to write another shit ton of music. I watched, flabbergasted, as he switched the hook and the first verse and wrapped one of his melodies around my lyrics. I’ll be damned if they weren’t a perfect fit.
In four hours, we had a rough cut of the first version, AND HERE IT IS, YOU GUYS. I am so nervous/excited to share it with ya’ll. It’s not perfect, but it’s progress.
I’m not confident enough in my vocal abilities to say with certainty that I’ll be performing this song with the band, but it’s definitely going into my musical, for which I promised to blog about the unfolding creative process. I think I’m gonna call the main character MAGIC.
I hope you like it.
Here’s the link to the song: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1MXjXrqU5kgKmlvw_VMiWn2fZzCvxKYjW