BY: Anna Harris

To Joe for the inspiration…

There is something in his music that gets into my soul, I love the way his voice sounds and how it makes me feel in touch with myself, I am
in love with Joe but with his music too, they are one and the same. I know that he is too intense, that is the way Joe is, he had to
come to terms with finding his path again, he had been lost in fear for nearly twenty long years because he didn’t want to be rejected.
Joe was born in New Jersey forty years ago, in a small town of the coast and since he was a small boy he loved music, one of the first
Christmas gifts he remembers is a toy guitar he pretended to play, his parents knew he was going to be a musician, so he studied music
in his spare time, learned the guitar when he was about twelve and loved to play rock and roll music, he knew his future had to be music.
He was always playing music, it was his first love, his only love even if he had girlfriends that never got his full attention because his
playing the guitar was more important, then he formed a band and played in different clubs, made a record that was turned down and
Joe went into seclusion, he always goes to extremes, never in the middle. Sometimes fears can make us hide and don’t do whatever we
want to do.

It was not easy for Joe to be in seclusion working in a job that was not his passion, he made some friends on the job but he was alone
most of the time, he had some love affairs that didn’t last and just lived a live out of that passion that he felt when he was twenty and
had so many dreams of doing something with his music. That first day Joe and I met there was something in his eyes that caught my
attention, a distance that you can feel. I remembered that my friend Josh and I felt a bit of that cool distance but I let him know
right then and there, I was bold. It was the first time that I would do something like that, be so outspoken with a guy but it was something
that I had to do, tell him my feelings. He had just finished singing and playing a really good song and had that look of intensity in his eyes
along with coldness.
“How you dare say I am cold, you don’t know nothing about me lady”
“Maybe not but is in your eyes”, he looked at me in a very deep way.
“So I have coldness in my eyes and what else?, he asked looking into my eyes.
“Distance Joe, you are very distant, any one can see it”, I dare to say.
“Oh so that is right, well I guess you are an expert in human emotions”, he was sarcastic.
“Maybe I am”, there I was again but something in him made me say those things, Josh looked at me like he didn’t believe what I was
“Is good to know that I am in the presence of an expert”
“I would say you are Mr. West”, he smiled and I had dissarmed him with my boldness.
“I guess Ms. Harris you might be right in some things not all”, from that moment on it was like fire on fire.

I know how difficult it could be no to follow your dreams, I did that for a long time just like Joe, I was just hiding on my shell because
I was scare people would reject me but if one puts heart and soul in the things done then who cares about the critics you just has to please
an audience. My passions were writing and music and I left those things for the privacy of my life. Joe was the person who really made me
come out of my shell and I made him come out of his shell too, we did that for one another. He always loved music and when his parents
divorced his refuge was his guitar, playing and hiding the pain that caused him his parent’s split, I can relate to that, my story is a bit more
complicated, my father felt in love with a younger woman and left my mother with two kids, my sister and myself, I never had a relationship
with my father and later when my mother died and I did, it was just more like seeing him from time to time but there was no real bond
between us and that hurt, I guess all it was there to see was that his new family was more important than I could ever be so hiding again
was the best thing for me to do, then came Joe, the one that opened my senses to enjoy my two passions music and writing His life was
more like mine and I had never met someone like Joe West, someone as fearful of life and as intense as myself, so it was right to fall in

Crying came easy for me, maybe because the pain was too much to handle so I keep it inside, expending Christmas along every year since
I felt in love with my dad’s stepson, the rage and the confusion all came crashing in so once Joe walked into my life he would be there to
pick up the pieces of me. I was feeling down as usual around that time of the year and didn’t want to be close to anyone not even Joe who
I had met not that long ago but he came to sooth my pain and I had to let him in, there was no choice. That day he was playing in one of
the clubs and the crowd was having a good time, I was too because his music usually made me feel complete. He sang a song that got to me
and tears rolled down my face, I had to leave the crowd and went outside, a few minutes later he was by my side.
“Joe what are you doing here?, you have to play another song”
“I had to see what happened to you, the band took over”
“Go back your audience comes first”, he touched my face.
“No, not true, you come first Ms. Harris, don’t you know that by now”, his eyes were wet.
“Just go back and finish playing, you came here to play”, I say touching his arm.
“I came here to play but I need to know why did you cried with that song?”
“Because your music gets to me Joe, that is why”, he smiled, that was a comment every true musician wants to hear.
“And it makes you cry?”
“Good music does that, your music is good Joe”
“Then come back inside”, he wiped my tears with his fingers.
“You go on, I would go in a few seconds”
“O.k. but I won’t play if you are not in there”, he went inside and just breathed a couple of slow deep breaths, Joe was doing something
to me and I had never felt something like that for someone, something so complete. I went in and he was ready to play, when he saw me he
smiled and I smiled back to him. He played one of his really good strong tunes and as he was singing he winked at me, everything was alright,
I knew that he got to me in a way nobody else did, Joe was doing something to my heart, it was clear to me.

As they were loading the instruments into the truck Joe got closer to me, he knew that I had been crying, he just wanted to know the reason
behind my tears. I didn’t want to mess up those good times he was having at that moment, he was coming out of hiding, maybe finding a way
out of the pain and I didn’t want to spoil it for him. I was standing there just watching the guys load the truck and he looked at me and
smile in that way he knew how to do it just make me feel so much better, maybe it was that our lives had been the same for so many years,
the fact that we had lost touch with love and life itself trying so hard that people wouldn’t see our pain, our real lives. I know that for a long
time people thought I had a life that it was not true, it was good pretending at the beginning but as the lies grew it was hard to really keep
pretending but it had to be done, it was the only way to shield myself from the pain. I came to know something very cruel out of the people
close to me, if they saw me down they would try to be nice and comforting but if they would know that I was not alone and have someone
by my side I felt their negative vibe, it was like they enjoyed seeing me in tears, knowing that I was alone at Christmas, that I didn’t have
a real family so that make me hide and pretend even more. People were cruel and I had beginning to see the actual truth, they didn’t really
care for me, it was a game they would play, make me feel that they were sympathetic towards me when it reality they were not. I learned
the hard way. Joe got close to me and touched my arm.
“Hey, are you alright?”
“Yeah, why?”, I tried to pretend.
“You didn’t seem alright back there”
“It was just a weak moment, I am alright Joe, really”, he knew me better than I thought, he let it slide at that moment but later when we
got to go and eat at a diner he confronted me again.
“You don’t have to pretend with me”, he looked into my eyes.
“I am not pretending Joe”
“Yes you are, I know you Anna, you are doing with me what you do to others, lie”, that amazed me right there.
“Maybe I just don’t want to get hurt”, I was truthful that time.
“I am not going to hurt you, just be honest, what happened in there?”
“I just felt emotional, I thought about the things that had happened to me, how close Christmas is and how I can’t spend it with my
father, that is all”, there I say it.
“You got to let that go, tell me, does he actually care that you spend it with him?”
“I guess he doesn’t, he has another family”, he took my chin in his hand.
“Then let it go, just let it go, it hurts you more that it could ever hurt him, he lives his live”
“You are right Joe, is just that is not easy”
“And that song of mine made you remember that?”
“I don’t know why it did”
“I don’t want to make you cry, I am glad my music touches you that way but I don’t want to see pain in your face”
“You know I love your music”
“And I thank you, now lets eat, no more tears, ah?”
“O.k., no more tears, shall we eat?”
“Yes, I am starving”
“Me too”


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