The other day I was sitting around a table with Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris, having cocktails and coffee. We were on a cobblestone terrace looking on a long avenue. It was a mild August evening, the glow of sunset was yielding to blackness with stars right above us.
Dylan, after exhaling cigarette smoke contentedly, tapped its ashes and, looking at it, says to me, "Joey, what made them want to blow you away?"
"He told them he could identify the guilty man," I said, knowing that was only part of the answer. "Your daddy he's an outlaw and a wanderer by trade."
Bob didn't look up, but nodded slowly. He smiled sadly to himself.
Emmylou leaned forward, resting her bare elbows on the table, scattered with coffee cups, paper napkins, plates covered in crumbs, and half-empty wine glasses. She didn't want to have this conversation right now. "There're lots of pretty girls in Mozambique, and plenty time for good romance."
Bob and I looked at each other, the same thought crossing our minds. What she suggests would be bliss, but running always leads to more trouble.
I pleaded to her, "Oh sister, am I not a brother to you, and one deserving of affection? Here's a ring, it cost a grand." She said "That ain't enough. I was thinking 'bout gold. I was thinking 'bout diamonds."
Cearly she would not be so easily placated. She fell back in her seat. "Blinded by sleep and in need of a bed." After three weeks of being in this city together, we were all exhausted. None of us would be the same after we parted.
Bob took the cigarette out of his mouth. "At night I dream of bells in the village steeple," he said. Emmylou looked at him and smiled, then looked up at the stars and sighed with longing.
I knew our time in this city, our time together, was coming to an end. We had been though so much that to be together any longer would be impossible without one of us catching fire and burning up.
Bob knew it too. "I can still hear the sounds of those Methodist bells." His thoughts were of places and people far away. "Sara, oh Sara, beautiful lady so dear to my heart."
I looked at both of my companions. Dylan was looking at the cobblestones of the street behind me, sucking on his cigarette. Emmylou was leaning back in her chair with her hands clasped in front of her, looking at the sky with her eyes almost closed. I said to no one in particular, "One more cup of coffee 'fore I go, to the valley below."