It seemed to vibrate, and glow as though from within. It had visible
undulations and mescal-weavings about it. Its colors seemed hyper-saturated.
It seemed to exude a human presence.
I felt a great surge of relief the moment the large door swung up and
closed on the Rolling Stones' F28 Fokker jet. They had come up with
this airplane at the last moment, having first considered the charter
of an old rickety Martin from Provincetown-Boston Airways at roughly
one-tenth the price. The F28 was a beautiful, sleek airplane, and hired
for this one trip to Philadelphia only.
There's no question about it, I actually
the air seal when
that front door shut, and I knew that I now had two months of arduous
work, sleepless nights, and very fast pitches definitively behind me. I
must have exuded this feeling, since I had people tell me how I looked
later, and actually
how I looked on the TV that night, and
read about my apparent exuberance in the newspapers that next day. It
was over. The Stones were gone, and I had been very lucky. A thousand
things could have gone wrong, and not one had.
All this put me in a somewhat historical and melancholic frame of mind,
and I beat a fast retreat to my offices in the Worcester Airport
building, ordered myself a double gin & tonic, and started throwing
things into my briefcase for the trip back to the Farm. This was the
ending of a chapter for me, and I wanted to be alone.
And alone I was. Long View was empty when I arrived in the Jag, some
twenty minutes later. No one was there. Everyone was either burnt, away
on assignment, or in some other authorized but wasted state. The
telephones were silent; no lights lit up on the keysets, no limos were
waiting on the gravel esplanade, and there was no thundering din from
whatever room Keith Richards happened to be passing through. But there
were nevertheless mysterious and lingering signs like the burning
cigarette in the ashtray which in Humphrey Bogart movies signals the
recent departure, or lurking presence, of human beings.
All the lights were on in all the rooms for a start. The beds had not
yet been stripped, much less remade, and there were silly and
inconsequential personal items lying about uncollected on the floors,
on thc toilet seat covers, and on practically every other horizontal
surface available. The place was empty, but it obviously had not been
empty for long, and had obviously been very, very full only a short
time earlier. I marveled at the silence, and thought Long View Farm
looked all of a sudden very large again.
I found myself climbing the often photographed Escher stairs to the
third floor in the Farmhouse to "my" room. Or was it still Mick's
room, and should I even be going
there? Of course I should. I
the place, the Stones were gone, and it was
again, right? I couldn't quite convince myself, however, and even
considered knocking. Only, the door was open. As elsewhere, the lights
were on, all of them. My airy hatch was sealed up with blackout
curtains and brass tacks, per Mick's repeated instructions, and there
was a bunch of obviously personal items left behind, which out of
deference I didn't want to see. Instead, I later instructed Kent to
preserve them all in a box somewhere, and not to tell me where the box
was stored. In any case, the room felt eerie, dead silent, but very
distinctly alive with itself. It seemed to vibrate, and glow as though
from within. It had visible undulations and mescal-weavings about it.
Its colors seemed hyper-saturated. It seemed to exude a human presence.
I was still an intruder in my own bedroom there was no question
about that. I wheeled about, shaken, and stumbled down the two flights
of stairs and out onto the gravel driveway. Maybe I would run into
Kathleen, or there would be some visitor to shoo away down at the
bottom of the drive, or some paparazzi photographer down at the pond to
console with the prospect of an eventual picture of Mick Jagger, even
if not today. But the driveway was empty perfectly empty except for
my Jag, which was still cooling and dripping its little spots of oil
onto the gravel, one by one. The photographers had all gone. There were
no reporters in sight. There were no kids hiding face down in the mud,
or in the branches of our trees, or behind Stanley's cows.
Long View was empty. The Rolling Stones had gone.