Relay: Close Your Eyes

I’m a Belieber

   As summer comes to an end (yeah!) a lot of people will look back with a fond memory of the summer concerts they saw. I saw the Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965 and still smile at the thought.
    It was especially cool for two reasons, the first being that George Harrison and I made eye contact and the second that our seats were so good that several members of the Lovin’ Spoonful sat in the same aisle as me and my fellow 12-year-old gal pals, one of whose father worked for The New York Times and got us the tickets at the last minute.
    And that’s also why I’m a Belieber. Yes, I, who am old enough to be his mother, am a fan of Justin Bieber. I like the way he treats his fans. For lack of anything else to watch one night this summer, I watched a documentary that featured his recent concert tour. The kid’s a sweetheart and gives his fans what they want: an intimate contact through hand touching and picture posing. In the film, he went out on the balconies of his hotels and waved to the crowds of teenage girls who had staked out the place and sang to them, sometimes in their own languages.
    It seems most of the concerts I attended were held in summer. I saw Joni Mitchell (nosebleed section), Laura Nyro (a quiet venue), Chicago (general admission), and Neil Young at Nassau Coliseum, where I’m pretty sure I got a contact high from the pot fumes in the air.
    I always wanted to see Carole King, but knew it best that I didn’t. I’m sure I’d be thrown out for my attempt to out-sing her on her own songs. My voice would make my fellow concertgoers think there was a cat in heat ripe for romance under one of the stadium’s seats and call security.
    When George and I had our eye-contact dalliance it might have been that I was one of the girls screaming the loudest, even though I wasn’t a screamer and peer pressure provoked it. It may have also been the big-busted chick behind me that he looked at, but for one very hot and steamy moment he made eye contact with a little frizzy-haired girl and gave her a memory to last a lifetime.
    I thought his gaze meant something, like he was interested in me, which, since I was only 12, actually would have made him a pedophile, and he wasn’t because he never called me or sent a roadie to get me from the crowd to meet him for drinks after the concert.
    When the four mop-haired blokes sang “All My Loving,” which begins with the line “Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you,” I puffed up my nonexistent cleavage just like the girl with real cleavage behind me and thought George would jump off the stage and make his way through the crowd to find me. I waited, lips pursed, for my first kiss that never came.
    When they played “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” my hands tingled in anticipation, but that could have been from the fiberglass that I had worked with earlier that day on my little boat in City Island. Whatever, George Harrison looked at me on a hot summer night and I’ll never forget it.
    The end of summer is always bittersweet, just like the appropriately named bittersweet vines that will soon sprout orange and red berries signifying that autumn has arrived. They will be wrapped on our mantles, doorways, and in vases to cheer us and welcome the new season and an opportunity to make new memories.

    Janis Hewitt is a senior writer for The Star.