Single "Be the One" story

I had a really strange evening last week. So odd in fact, that I thought I was living in a parallel universe, looking back on the life I had just lived. Just like those near-death experiences you hear about, everything flashed before my eyes.

My wife Anna and I had been to visit some friends in Poland. We haven’t had a holiday for a long time and couldn’t wait to leave the country and see something new. Our friends live in Warsaw and like all capital cities, it is a melting-pot of people, languages, culture and music.

On our second night, our friends took us to a smokey blues club, hidden in the backstreets of the old town. They had heard that a cool band was playing. The guitarist was supposed to be amazing. We love music, having grown up surrounded by parties and musicians. When we arrived, the night was already in full swing, beers flowing, people dancing and the music pumping. I never knew blues could be so upbeat. The atmosphere was electric!

I got a round of drinks from the bar, my feet tapping to the beat. I told our friends these guys were great but my wife just nodded and stared into space. I handed her a beer and she barely noticed. The usual questions came tumbling out of my mouth… What is wrong, what did I say, do you want to go home?

That is when the crowd parted for a second and I got a glimpse of the stage. Standing there, sunburst Gibson in hand, feet wide, paws moving like lightning was Fat Cat – the best musician I had ever heard play. Fat Cat from high school. One of the most popular guys in our town, maybe even more than me, and I was captain of the basketball team!

Anna had this lost look in her eyes, like she didn’t know what to say, like she had a secret, as if something had awoken in her that she had forgotten about. I recognized that look… And that’s when it all came crashing back.

A girl at school… Cristal. She was pretty enough, not my type though. One of the strange ones that didn’t have many friends. She was one of the few people in school that wasn’t obsessed with Fat Cat and probably, that was why they were good friends. I never really saw her hang out with anyone else. I didn’t know them very well because I was into sports back then and they were into music.
I would catch Cristal staring at me at lunchtime. I could feel her eyes on my back. Sometimes she would turn up to basketball practice and sit in the stands pretending to read a book. I guess I wouldn’t have minded the attention except that back then, I was going out with the prettiest girl at college. Katrina was blond, popular, and used to sing and dance. We had this thing, this image… we would be the first to be invited to parties, and if we said yes, then everyone would come. When I look back on it now, Katrina was a bit boring. She only ever talked about being famous and thought the world revolved around her… well, we both did for a time. Even though everyone knew we were together, it never stopped Cristal following me around. She even started taking the same classes as me. I mean, Cristal was clever, she came top of everything but sometimes I thought she should follow her own path and not what I was doing.
One day, Fat Cat started hanging out with these two girls, Sofia and Anna. Fat Cat and Sofia had this thing going on but all three of them seemed to be really good friends. They were like the cool kids, the ones really into music and dancing. They did everything together and all the parties we went to, Fat Cat would be up there on the stage, playing his heart out. After Fat Cat started hanging out with Sofia and Anna, Cristal seemed more intense than ever. She would try and talk to me when my girlfriend wasn’t around. She would pass me notes in class asking what I liked to eat, or what movies I watched recently. I would find flowers in my locker and love hearts on my notebooks. I knew she wanted me but I just wasn’t interested. Strangely enough, when we left school, Fat Cat disappeared. Katrina and I split up because she wanted to study acting at drama school. I left the basketball team and started working in a local hardware store. Surprisingly, a few years after I became the manager, I met Anna, the old friend of Fat Cat and Sofia. She had come into the shop for some paint. We started dating and got married. We didn’t talk much about school and all those lost memories. The crazy beats brought me back to the present. Fat Cat was grooving away on his guitar and I saw something that I recognized. Anna had the same look on her face as Cristal did when she used to follow me around. I knew that Anna and I needed to chat. Did Anna have a thing about Fat Cat? Why hadn’t Anna talked about Sofia all these years? And just what was Cristal doing now? I never saw her again after school. I wonder if she finally realized that I could never be the one.