I’m afraid of everything. Heights, bridges, new places, new people, failure, success, loneliness, entrapment…. and falling. 

In every way falling can happen. 

I’m afraid of falling down. That shit hurts! 

I’m afraid of falling in love. That hurts too. 

I’m afraid of falling out of love. Especially after all that work to fall in love. 

I’m afraid of falling off a bridge. I would die. Or worse, I would just be hurt and unable to support myself. 

I’m afraid of falling after I trip over air. People just don’t believe something grabbed my foot. 

Falling is probably the worst thing imaginable. Why would anyone do it? 

Tom Waits said it best. “I hope that I don’t fall in love with you. ‘Cause falling in love just makes me blue.” Except by the end of the song even good old Tom was falling in love. 

Chicago, on a Monday evening. I find myself sitting in a piano bar, the only patron. The bartender, Mike is prepping for the night. The piano player and his wife are up on stage, no set list in sight. He complains somewhat gruffly the piano is slightly out of tune. I can’t hear it. 

I have my new book, The Accidental Life, and it is no accident I had to buy it, as well as five other books at the bookstore I just spent an hour wandering through. Nothing humbles me as much as being surrounded by someone’s work. This book is a collection of essays by Terry McDonell, an editor who worked for Rolling Stone back in the Hunter S. Thompson glory days. I feel like I am getting a grand tour into some secret club full of the people I wish I were brave enough to emulate. 

Tito’s and soda, music, and my book. I couldn’t be more content. 

I can’t help but start thinking of ways to describe this moment. These are the memories I want to preserve. When I am old, I want to remember this feeling. The times I was at peace with myself, no inner war and unease. Just me. 

I made a list of the songs I heard while sitting at that bar. 

Wonderful Tonight. He’s no Clapton, but it’s easy to be transported to an imaginary place where a man loves you so much. Even if you have never experienced this. The song makes you feel it is really possible to be loved by a flawed man, and for it to be perfect. 

The piano player asks me (the audience) if I like Tom Waits. What? I love Tom Waits. He plays Ol’ 55. I sway along and read my book, murmuring the words under my breath. Next up is John Prine’s Angel from Montgomery. His guitar playing wife singing in a nice harmony. They are good together. It’s a nice rendition. 

Next, he plays another Tom song, An Invitation for the Blues. I also get introduced to a band called Little Feat, that I have to google. Willin’ is quite a song. I like it. 

Maybe I don’t have to be so scared of falling. 

I can lose myself temporarily in music, books, love, lust, stories, and adventures. I can always scramble up out of the hole into the real world. 

My Neverland, Wonderland, Imaginary World is always waiting for me. I just have to allow myself to fall into it. 

Maybe falling isn’t so bad. 

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