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Of Lonely Nights and Handwritten Words

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March 18th, 1969

Ian Anderson has never been much of a night owl. This may come as a surprise, considering his busy musician lifestyle, but he's never been one to stay up later than he absolutely must. He prefers to wake up early and get the day started right away, which usually requires him to get to sleep at a reasonable time- that is, if he doesn't want to be cranky and unproductive then next day. Ian Anderson does not stay up late.

However, things have been a little different lately.

Ian sits on the bed in his little apartment, strumming away on his guitar. He's spent the past half hour playing around with different chords, and scrawling down anything that sounds half-decent onto the pad of paper on the bedside table. It’s a little past midnight now. The lamp on the table is the only source of light in the room, casting a soft glow on Ian's guitar and illuminating his handwritten words.

It's been two years since Jeffrey left the band and Ian’s missing him like crazy. Ian has gotten along well enough with most of the musicians he’s worked with, but there was just something very different about Jeffrey. He was so compelling to watch, so charismatic; when he was on stage it was hard to look away. Sure, he wasn’t the best musician, but he was trying, and his stage presence made up for his less-than-stellar musical abilities. Everything about Jeffrey was unique- from the way he dressed, to his soft, sweet voice, to those mysterious dark eyes that made Ian feel just a little bit weak in the knees sometimes.

And now he’s gone, probably off with some new friends from art school. He really was a damned good artist, although he never seemed to believe that when Ian told him. He even claimed that this was part of why he wanted to go to art school in the first place- as much as he loved painting, he didn’t think he was any good at it. He figured art school would be a good option for getting better.

So that’s where things stand right now: Jeffrey is doing what he can to improve his already-amazing art skills so that he can one day make a living as an artist, and it’s been what feels like forever since he and Ian have seen each other, and Ian is dealing with this in the only way he really knows: he's writing songs.

Ian has learned that writing is the best way for him to cope with his own emotions. Getting things down on paper, even if they're in the most abstract terms, has always helped him to make sense of what he's feeling.

Tonight he's not looking to make sense of anything, though. He knows exactly what he's feeling.

He looks over the words on the page again. They seem too sweet, too fluffy, almost too vulnerable. These are not lyrics that he’d ever share with the rest of the band. He almost feels silly doing this in the first place- it’s not like Jeffrey’s ever going to hear this song anyway. Jeffrey has gone off to art school, and Ian hasn’t seen him in what feels like an eternity, and their paths may never cross again. The thought makes Ian’s heart ache worse than it did before.

Without the strumming of the guitar, the world is silent. Ian is caught up in a moment of nostalgia, equal parts sweet and painful. So many things Ian wishes he'd said, so many memories that he didn't appreciate enough at the time. He can’t help but wonder what would happen if he and Jeffrey met again now- would the connection still be there? Would there be some massive exchange of heartfelt words and confessions, or would they just chat for a moment and then go their separate ways, both too shy to really speak their minds?

It’s almost too much for Ian to think about at this point in the night. Looking over his written words once more, he decides that it's probably time to get some rest. He puts his guitar away and turns off the light.

Before climbing into bed, Ian peeks through the curtains. It’s a relatively clear night, with plenty of stars visible in the sky, and he takes a moment to observe. Jeffrey had once talked about painting a night sky. He thought it would look best on a really big canvas, maybe a bedroom wall or something of that sort- something big enough to really show the vastness of the subject matter. Ian remembers jokingly saying that Jeffrey was invited to paint the sky on his bedroom wall anytime he wanted, as long as Ian wasn’t the one supplying the paint.

Ian falls asleep that night thinking of the night sky, and all the mysterious dark hues hidden within it, and all its twinkling stars, and Jeffrey.