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Six Separate Planets
Greg: That first semester at college seemed to last forever. Cassandra was bugging me to teach her the guitar, and she picked it up pretty quickly. Then she wanted me to teach her Six Separate Planets which was another Little Prince song I had written the previous summer, although we had never played it in Grendel. It suited my mood of the moment pretty well, because I felt like I was on my own lonely planet at the moment. Next, after the New Year, she decided to make her professional debut at the Tuesday at the same club where Grendel was born, the Tete a Tete, rebranded as the Carnaby Cafe following the British Invasion.
She did a nice job with the song, even though she was nervous. As soon as she finished, a voice from the back called out, “Play Soldier Boy.”
Greg: We swiveled around to see who made the request, and there’s Del standing in full dress uniform! To call us shocked is an understatement. Was this some kind of joke? We assumed Del was in New York, finding his way in the music world. We hadn’t heard much from him in the last few months. Just a few really upbeat letters.
Here’s the evening through the gauze of memory:
The Last Weekend
Greg: The stories came flooding out. While we thought Del was in New York, paying his musical dues, he was in basic training. Now he had a three-day pass before he had to report to Fayetteville, North Carolina pending assignment. “Fayette-nam” joked Del. No one laughed.
Del: I came clean on the fact that life had spiraled downward much faster than I ever anticipated. Despite the humiliation of it all, Greg and Cassandra were as rapt and attentive as I had been last summer (Man! … was it just last summer?) listening to Cassandra reading from Le Petit Prince.
We laughed, we cried, we sang, we toasted, we promised, we swore … we did it again. We packed half a lifetime into those three days. If something happened to me in Vietnam, hey … at least I had lived more than half a lifetime.