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Brothers of the Ax

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I laid my head on the pillow, holding my acoustic over my body, and noodled on the strings till I fell asleep. That was a common way for me to end my days during my warmest summer of my life. The summer I've been trying to forget for the rest of my life.

Joseph was the boy down the street. We'd grown up together, more or less, but we never really understood each other. It wasn't till the day he was walking down my street and heard me playing my guitar that we really started talking. It was the first unofficial day of summer. School was in session. The temperature was just over bearable without a jacket, but my heart was so ready for the summer sun, I opened my window and ignored the shadow in my mind that was the reality of the chill setting in on the back of my hands.

Joseph knocked on my door, dressed in some old saggy brown jeans and a plain blue night shirt. At first I was mad that he just stopped by, my hair was sweaty and messy, not how I'd want anybody, especially Joseph, to see it. We got through some awkward conversations, how we've been, post high school plans, things like that. Till finally Joseph had talked enough and felt he had displayed a 'sincere' enough interest in me to reveal what he was really there for. Music. Rock music. He was there for my guitar, or rather my guitar playing abilities.

I was shocked to discover that Joseph played guitar. Or that we even had the same musical appreciation. In the 18 years we'd spent together, we had never really talked about music. Our insecurities for our music, was yet another personality trait we did not know we shared. I held on to every similarity between us.

It had begun. I always loved to gaze into those eyes, they told nothing of the world behind them. However I knew what I wanted them to say. Yeah it's true I was starting to dream. I don't know why it never occurred to me that Joseph would have been having dreams of his own. Wild dreams.

We jammed the first Friday of that week, and it was a nice bit warmer. So was my heart and stomach too. Joseph was amazing, and I was filled with confusion and the love that wanted to burst out of me, but I refused to let it grow within me. I could feel it pulse every time Joseph expressed how impressed he was with my songs. We played a lot together. We did a lot together. But his eyes always told me how he really felt about it. I shouldn't have ignored it.

That summer was the best summer of my life. Joseph would show up with energy drinks, donuts, guitar on his back and plug in. We'd play all day and spend the rest of it listening to our favorite bands. Nirvana, Fugazi, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Sonic Youth was the one in particular that I would always bring up. I wanted my life to be just like Kim Gordan and Thurston Moore. They started a band together and as far as I know have been happily married ever since. I think he would purposely bring up the turmoil of Francis and Deal of the Pixies. We'd talk about our ideals and views and I was so happy to share them with him. I think he was more and more put off by them. We'd go to local shows and check out the local groups, Joseph would have me in tears the way he made fun of them. We were just friends...

I really loved him. I wanted nothing more than to be his Kim Gordan. He was the only comfort I had in a confusing and changing world. The only one who thought I was talented. The only one who was there for me when I cried. Sometimes when we jammed, I wanted him to just grab and squeeze me, so bad I couldn't stand it. I'd have to stop mid jam and go to the bathroom. That would piss him off. But I'd ignore his harsh words because I wouldn't tell him why I did it. I was so ashamed of myself, I considered myself above that stupid girl behavior, but I didn't know how to handle these feelings. I didn't want to love him.

The summer was coming to a close, and finally we had added a drummer and rhythm guitarist and become a full fledged band. The others, for whatever reason, weren't so fond of me. And naively I had trusted Joseph with my songs. Joseph was a skilled guitarist, but he was not a song writer. The band began to practice more and more, and only when I couldn't make it. And then Joseph did the unspeakable. He played a live show, using my songs, without telling me. I cried and cried, and I thought Joseph would be understanding. So I told him how I felt about the show.

Gone was my dreamy Joe 'Summers', and returned to me was Joseph Tanners. The asshole down the street. He actually had the audacity to argue with me, when I showed him the tears of my pain. He should have apologized; I loved him so much I was ready to forgive him. I had to tell him. He had to know the feelings clustered inside my chest all summer. I sat on his lap and confessed my love. I should have read the lust in his eyes, but I traded it for love.

I was weak. So weak. So in love. So hurt. He used me. He knew I'd do anything for him, and he took advantage of it. I can never forgive myself for being just another jerk for him to add under his belt and laugh about at parties. Joseph never talked to me again after that night. Hearing Joseph playing and singing my songs on the radio, just broke something in me.





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