The next affaire d’amour was most intense, so there’s not only the catalyst song, but the background is rife with music as well. I’m in my 30’s. Confident, cool, looking good—though not quite up to my intelligence quotient as it turned out.
Act Two in my life opera.
I took the photos, he wrote the words. What a team. In Oregon, chasing a story, we fell in love under an October full moon, racing east up the Columbia Gorge in his old Porsche, Jackson's “Running on Empty,” wailing into the night.
Once we stopped at a honky tonk in a little town somewhere in Texas, danced ourselves drunk to a band called Lamont Cranston, and man, they were good. We got in a fight outside Ditka’s place in Chicago, and right in the middle of some serious discord, the Stones’ “Wild Horses,” came floating through the night air like an enchantment, the words breaking down our angry walls. He pulled me close and we had the best all-time makeup kiss ever. Jimmy Buffet kept us sane for a time when we were working in the Keys; “A Pirate Looks At 40,” makes my heart ache to this day—I can feel the tropical heat, smell the sea from our back porch. The Boss with “I’m On Fire,” ensorcelled us in Kauai under another full moon, sand between our toes, trade winds breathing over warm skin, juicy pineapple kisses; and again, after a long night driving from San Francisco to LA, perfectly attuned, belting out every throat-growling note of “Cover Me.” We had passion in spades; worked, loved and fought as we criss-crossed America for the next five years, musical notes trailing in our wake.
Unchecked passion, however, has a tendency to burn too hot, flames build to an inferno; passion twisted makes for a dangerous love. Eventually, you either get out of the kitchen, or go down in a blaze of glory—getting a grip is no longer an option.
The catalyst song came in Seattle during a fierce battle, going at each other for real, the final act in a relationship gone mad, duking it out like two kids in a schoolyard brawl—as wild as I will ever be, fully prepared to go down in wholesale destruction. What brought me back from the brink, no clue how it penetrated the madness, was Madonna’s voice, riding the demon-charged air from the radio, softly singing to me, “Live To Tell.” Oh yeah. There wasn’t a line we wouldn’t cross in the decline of our relationship. It was time to get out of the kitchen.
This wasn’t one of Madonna’s big hits, but for me it was a catalyst of epic proportions—a life preserver of a song tossed into turbulent, violent waters, saving my dumb ass.