My Greatest Hits

This particular street lamp, old and black with rust marks to count it’s age, could tell a million stories. It knew more about the interconnected of life and people than Facebook ever did, could or would. The gargantuan tree standing out of place next to it knew even more. And so it was on this particular day, an abnormally clear sunny one in London, I stood next to this street lamp through its many iterations from the dawn of time till now. Time travelers have that advantage. I wonder what the caption to this moment would have been? I was too preoccupied for captions. At this moment, I was looking for someone in particular, someone I’d never seen before — my wonderwall. Today was the day I was to meet her. It had been written, so I came back in time to do just that.

While I looked about for her, there he was. He didn’t know me but I knew him. Charlie sang, “So maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me. And after all, you’re my wonder wall.” He wouldn’t have believed me if I’d told him we’d met before, and in fact, on this very corner. But that was another life, many lives actually, and another time, many times actually.

The song had meant a lot to me. It was released just before a last minute trip I made to London, Glasgow and Edinburgh back in 1995. I teared up at the thought. I went there for a girl. Isn’t that how all stories start? I had planned to be in Amsterdam for a few days, visiting my cousin, forgetting the sins of the past. Arriving at Schipol Airport by 5:00 AM, at the last minute, I decided to board a flight for London, arriving at Heathrow, taking a bus to Stamford, from where I bought a ticket to Glasgow arriving late in the afternoon. I waited at a nearby pub for her, for what seemed like forever. I would have a wonderful few days in Glasgow then Edinburgh, but I never did find her, even to this day; but that’s just an afterthought at this moment. What was more important to me was how I felt, that I was capable of feeling that way, with such love. While I never found her, I did find myself in the front row at Wembley Stadium, Liam singing the words that Noel wrote.

“Today is gonna be the day

That they’re gonna throw it back to you

By now you should’ve somehow

Realized what you gotta do

I don’t believe that anybody

Feels the way I do about you now”

The song was barely over when I was transported back to hiking in the Headlands before I was just as unexpectedly whisked into a bar. My stomach was in knots. Time travel can mess with your insides.

“There’s no such thing as time travel. And from what I understand, true love can be just as unlikely. So if you love her, stop messing about and marry her.”

Then Charlie and the streetlamp once again appeared out of nowhere, before my own wonderwall appeared. I broke her heart again when the clear skies all of a sudden gave way to storm clouds, and a heavy rain fell.

“Love’s not enough. Being a good man’s not enough…. I’m sorry, we are not supposed to be together.”

We both cried. It would be three years before I would see her again. I’d pushed a button repeatedly to save the human race. And yet, it still didn’t seem to be enough.

“Memories is all I’ve got.”

Then all of a sudden, I was on a boat, and I was once again ready to save the world; and this time, I knew it would be the end. And so I wrote down the five best moments of my life — my greatest hits —  stuck it in a bottle, and jumped into the ocean. The boat wasn’t going to survive this storm. I wasn’t sure if I would either. Actually, I was sure I wouldn’t. However, my hope against hope would be that my message in the bottle would. And that it would find its way back to her, to tell her I was wrong and she was right.

That thought revitalized me for the task at hand. I was indeed going to save the world. My lucky ruby gemstone would ensure it. Just like that, the world went blank and white.

When I came to, there she was, radiant in the light, flowing black hair gently caressing her angular, beautiful face – my very own gemstone. She was saying something that for a bit I couldn’t quite make out.

“Love is enough, my dear. You are my wonderwall, too.”

She was the one I’d been waiting for by the street lamp. And I was wrong. I had met her before, but I just wasn’t seeing clearly then. I am now.


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