I know this is gonna sound like the beginning of a trashy romance novel or something, but it was New Year's Eve, 2009. It was snowing. This was strange, because it hardly ever snows in the North Carolinian Piedmont.
Unlike most other people, I was alone. In fact, I was actually visiting my parents. Most other people like to spend New Year's Eve partying and having the time of their lives. I'm not like most people. That particular night, I was visiting my parents, since I didn't have any social gatherings to attend.
Cary isn't drab and ugly like cities usually are. Actually, it's more like a suburb. I had grown up here, and my parents still lived here. I actually liked driving up to their house whenever I had to, for whatever reason. The scenic beauty in that area is great. You can always see a deer or two on a good day. I always liked small, quaint, and green places. I guess most small towns in the southern United States are like that.
I parked my car in my parent's driveway, and made my way up the steps. They were delighted to see me. We had a quiet dinner, and a few beers. That night, an interesting conversation took place between me and my dad.
"Can I ask you something, Rob?"
He took a sip from his beer can, then said "Don't get me wrong butyou seem kindalost. I mean, it's not like you're slacking, or screwing around, butit's like college is sucking the soul out of you.."
I laughed. Nobody ever expects to hear that from their parents. Most of the time, they just tell you to work harder.
He took another sip, and before I could say anything, he continued "You aren't having any fun, Rob. Isn't thereANYTHING..that you turn to when you're sick of studies, or assignments, or any of that crap?"
"You know what it's like, dad.." I replied, defensively. "Duke University isn't a mediocre school. And having a degree can make the difference between owning a freaking limo, and driving one."
"All that's understood, but man is a social animal. And I know that sounds like the bullshit you read about in magazines, but you gotta cut loose sometime! That brain of yours could overload and then.." He snapped his fingers "Shit will go down!"
"Oh please, dad. It's not like I'm gonna go on a killing spree or something because I don't have much of a social life'." I said, rolling my eyes.
"You know I didn't mean that, son. I'm proud of you, I really am. You're a great kid, and you're on to something big. But work isn't everything! You gottalive!"
Before I could say anything, he opened a bottle of wine, and poured it into two glasses. He handed me one.
"Look, Rob. It's New Year's eve today. Tomorrow, you could start afresh."
"I don't have to start afresh, dad." I protested. I'm happy, just the way I am."
He smiled, helplessly. "Whatever, to new beginnings!" And we drank to that.
I drove back to Durham the next morning. It seemed like just another day to me. Cloudier, maybe. There was still snow everywhere. I drove to my apartment. It was a small one-bed just about a mile from the university. I had it all to myself. There were never any visitors, though, because I hardly had any friends. Actually, they were mostly just acquaintances.
Today, things actually seemed different when I entered my pad. I took a shower, and decided to work on a pending project from microeconomics class. However, my dad's words echoed in my head. Though my mind raised its BS meter, I decided to heed his advice. So, I decided to take a walk.
And so, I walked on, and on, and on. Eventually, I reached downtown Durham. There were millions of little antique shops, and crappy stores that sold all kinds of shit here. I had never bothered to actually look in any of them. I decided to actually take note of these stores in order to make the day more exciting.
Eventually, I noticed a hookah store. Then, there was a store that sold only rock n roll merch. They even had intense sticks. I wondered what kind of people would shop here. Hippies, maybe? Hell, how would I know? I hadn't even tried pot yet. But then, I saw something that really caught my eye.
I noticed a beautiful, cherry red electric guitar hanging on display at a little store. There were guitars everywhere. All kinds of guitars. Solid body, semi hollow, acoustic, resonator and even lap steel guitars. I had always liked guitars. It wasn't like I was a rock n roll buff or anything, but this particular piece of wood with strings on it had always had a strange allure to it. My eyes were glued to it. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
"It's rude to stare." Said someone behind me, in a deep voice and a thick southern accent. Startled, I turned around to see a lanky dude wearing a beanie, obviously to hide a receding hairline. He looked like he was in his forties. He wore earrings shaped like tongues.
"Ehh. Sorry. I was just looking."
"Dude, it's okay. I'm just playing. She's a beauty isn't she?"
I smirked. "How dyou know it's a she?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. It just seems like it. D'you play guitar?"
"Oh no, you got the wrong guy"I replied, awkwardly. "I was just window shopping. It's a long story."
He went over to the other wall and picked up an outrageous, purple guitar that looked like something a clown made with a tube shaped balloon.
"You've got some interesting shit here." I said, looking at a star shaped Yamaha.
"Hell yeah, man. Business has been kinda slow these days, though. I'm Rainn, by the way. I own this place."
He plugged that purple thing into an amplifier, and began playing this incredible, emotional lead. It sounded extremely familiar. The way he played it was freaking awesome. I was mesmerized. Then, it hit me. This was the godfather theme! And he was playing it with his guitar. Suddenly, he looked up at me, and stopped playing. He grinned.
"I know that look."
I was puzzled. "Ehh. What?"
"I'll explain that some other day." He got up and picked up a black and white guitar. He plugged it into another amplifier, and handed it to me.
"Dudewhy are you giving me this thing?"
"Don't ask me no questions. Grab a stool. I'm gonna teach you how to play this thing."
I thought for a moment, whether to accept or decline his offer. Then, my dad's words echoed in my head. It was freaking serendipity. Besides, what else was I gonna do, anyway? Loiter around? It wasn't like there was a party I was getting late for.
And so, I took my seat on the devil's rollercoaster.