The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Lyle is 32 years old and originally from Montgomery County, PA. He moved to the city to expand his opportunities as a guitarist 12 years ago but hasn’t had much luck. He’s been working at several different food restaurants throughout the city. He sleeps in his friend’s basement right now but isn’t sure how much longer that will last.

I was feeling pretty low for a while. I was used to being the big musician on top in high school. Lead guitar for the jazz band and I won awards at the state level. My music teacher, the six-foot man who looked like a sardine from Spongebob told me to go to school for music.

“Go to Montco, get your grades up and transfer to Temple or another state school, you will be successful. I promise.” He said.

I promise. Everyone is always promising something, but I’ve become used to them being broken.

But maybe it was my fault; maybe I should’ve listened. I just never understood the point of school, for me at least. I tried to justify my opinion (which I should never have had to) like a commander of war, but my parents decided not to support me if I wasn’t continuing my education.

Music was the only thing that made sense to me. I didn’t want to teach it. Just play. Strumming my guitar and watching people groove to my music is all that made sense to me.

I was sleeping on a yellow-stained sofa with buttons on it that stabbed my back. This guy I worked with at a Mexican market was letting me crash there as long as I fed his cat.

He came home one day while I was watching some really bad made-for-TV movie.

“Yo, you like Tom Petty right?” He said.

Did I like Tom Petty? Oh man. Dude was my idol.

“I can get us in, side view seats, 50 feet from the stage, for free.” He said.

 I didn’t really question it. Also, it wasn’t like I was going to do anything better with my night other than play guitar and eat leftover cold pizza.

We hopped in his car and drove down to the Spectrum. He parked his Ford something in a sketchy back lot not too far from the train tracks. You could bury a dead body there probably and no one would find it for 50 years.

“Follow my lead, don’t say anything. We’re waiting for the guy.” I had no idea what was happening, but I realized pretty quickly that this guy was probably something interesting. Maybe he was in the mob, that’d be pretty cool.

We stand at a side entrance and a man who appeared to work at the venue walked over to us, looked around with intent, and handed us each a ticket.

My ticket said Bruce Springsteen, so I knew this was a pretty sweet inside job going on.The security guards hold onto old tickets so they can sneak people in while their bosses are around and make a small profit.

We got through with ease and were side stage before I knew it. I got to see the legend, Tom Petty play in all his visible talent for 2 ½ hours. It was unforgettable. I felt really low on myself for not going to school but in my opinion, music isn’t something that a 4-year-institute can teach you, you’re born with it.

The lights move around, shining blues and reds onto my sweaty skin, I feel the music vibrate my heart. Nothing else matters, I’m seeing Tom Petty with the thanks of some possible Philadelphia mobsters, I can’t really ask for more.

Tom Petty

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Philadelphia, PA.

Lyle is 32 years old and originally from Montgomery County, PA. He moved to the city to expand his opportunities as a guitarist 12 years ago but hasn’t had much luck. He’s been working at several different food restaurants throughout the city. He sleeps in his friend’s basement right now but isn’t sure how much longer that will last.

Decade: 2000s
Rating:
Recorded by Emily Scott on December 3, 2014
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