Categories > Celebrities > Metallica > up all night

up all night

by josiebelladonna 0 reviews

She had known the both of them for years when circumstances had kept them separate for lengthy stretches of time. However, once her two childhood friends join their respected bands, she found herse...

Category: Metallica - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Humor,Romance - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2020-08-12 - 3487 words

I was always the new girl, and it didn’t help matters that I was the biggest example after we moved away from Copenhagen and I had to say goodbye to Lars. I vowed to him that I would call and write whenever I found the opportunity after American school and I knew he would do the same for me, too. Los Angeles will always be home for me, but Copenhagen was where I had spent my childhood. He knew it, and I knew it as well, but I looked at the East Coast as a new opportunity for me.

I was born in the upper class beach town of Ventura, and yet my parents both transferred to Denmark when I was almost two years old. Despite my first memories consisting of the heart of LA, I recalled Copenhagen at a much clearer clip—all those brightly colored houses across the water from our apartment complex will always be etched within my memory. Every single time I woke up in the morning and peered outside to the low, overhanging clouds as they filtered in from the North Sea during the springtime, or to the winter nights wherein the darkness always threw me and I was met with the sight of the lush green neon of the northern lights, I always made contact with those houses. Bright and colorful, just like Lars himself.

My dad always told me that, since I started school there in Denmark, I fitted right in, and in fact, I did. The fact we hailed from the United States faded almost immediately: it also helped that our last name was Ellsberg and my dad’s parents were both Scandinavian immigrants. And my name, Hannah, rang with everyone there in Danish school. Even though the language was Danish, we gelled well because Oslo was right off to the north of us. My mom, being the swift learner she was, and I in turn inherited that trait, picked it up rather quick herself.

“French is the tricky one,” she always told me, “if you can master the Romance languages, you can go far here in Europe.” Indeed, my first memory consisted of the time she taught me how to say “I love you, Grandma Lafayette” in both French and in Danish. Je t’aime et... jeg elsker dig: both second nature to me at this point.

And yet, even with all of that, and the protection of having a primarily European family, relatives in both Scandinavia and in France, there were moments in which I still felt like a fish out of water. Sure, I had the name to go with the camaraderie, but there were my brown eyes, and my wavy almost jet black hair, and the fact I tanned with such ease in the northern sun during the summertime. My mom told me it was because of the African and Native American sides of her world. If there was one thing I craved for in Europe that the States had, it was to experience that. The darkness of the skin and all of those sacred rituals. To close my eyes and feel the rhythms of the native drums. To say a prayer to the earth and all it has to offer.

The unknown side of my life. The faraway side. The faraway place. The quiet side of life that I wholly embraced after I met Lars in our first year of school.

My dad had dropped me off at school and then drove off to work, which in turn left me to hold my head up high as I made my way to the front door of the classroom.

He was this short, chubby little boy with soft looking hair piled atop his head and big bright luminous green eyes, and I first met him after we took our seats in the classroom. I had made my way into the room first, thus I took the little two seater desk closest to the front of the room. The bigger kids squeezed past him for spots behind me. We were all new and yet it already felt like they all knew each other.

He stood there in the doorway with a look on his face as though he was lost and about to burst into tears. But I raised my hand and coaxed him over to me. His face lit up and he bolted over to the desk with his little book bag almost falling off of his shoulder.

“Thank you,” he told me in a soft little squeak of a voice. “I didn’t know there were any more in here.”

“Me, neither,” I confessed to him,

He draped his bag over the back of the chair behind him.

“My name is Lars,” he introduced himself.

“I’m Hannah,” I returned the favor. Within time, our teacher arrived and called our names.

“Hannah? Hannah Ellsberg?” To which I raised my hand. Then, in time—

“Lars? Lars Ulrich?” To which he raised his hand.

I had a feeling about him, especially when he invited me to sit next to him during our lunchtime, and he sat on the far end of those outside benches all by his lonesome.

“Why are you sitting all of the way over here?” I asked him. He gestured for me to move in closer to him.

“Do you want to know a secret?” he whispered to me, and I nodded my head in response.

“Before school started, some of those big kids laughed at me and called me a girl.”

“Why’d they do that?” I asked him, stunned.

“Look at my face—“ He gestured at his own face, which was full and round like the moon at night, complete with cheekbones as full and plump as little apples. I shrugged.

“I don’t see anything wrong with it,” I confessed to him. “I like your face, actually.”

“You do?” He seemed taken aback by that, and I nodded at him.

“It’s nice and round—and I think your eyes are pretty, too.” A warm blush bloomed across his face at that. I held an apple up for him.

“For me?” he squeaked out.

“Just for you.” And he took the apple and threw his arms around me.

We often shared apples with each other there at the end of the cafeteria bench: “det stille sted”, or “the quiet place” as we eventually called it because it was always just us sitting there at the far end of the benches. It was quiet, except for when one of the kids moseyed on over and giggled at his full face or raised an eyebrow at my brown eyes. He was mistaken for a girl and I was the only one willing to befriend him. I told him about myself and he did the same for himself: his dad and his grandpa were both tennis players, and he was next in line to be one himself. He also told me about his grandmother on his mom’s side, how she escaped the Holocaust and lived to tell about it. I had no stories like that—as far as I knew, anyway.

On those cold afternoons with bitter frigid arctic snows threatening in the later part of the day, I always nestled closer to him in hopes to keep him warm. And it was because of this, we referred to one another as “pingviner”, or penguins, and we knew no one would use that against us.

By the end of the year, we had become best friends and we kept it together for those first four years of Danish school. I told him I wanted to be an artist, so the first thing I made was a painting of a pair of penguins. He clapped his hands at the sight of it.

“You’ll be the best artist in the world!” he declared.

But I knew our friendship would go to a whole new level when his dad and his godfather offered to take me to see Deep Purple with the three of them. I had only heard of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, but then my dad showed me the song “Hush” when he drove me to school one day and I had it stuck in my head all day long. I even sang it to Lars and his face lit up upon the sound of my voice.

“Are you coming with us?” he asked me, complete with his voice breaking.

“My parents have to let me, though,” I pointed out. Lucky for us, they said yes, and Mr. Ulrich and Danny took us, a nine year old boy and an almost ten year old girl, to see Deep Purple there in Copenhagen. Mr. Ulrich joked that it was Lars’ Valentine’s Day gift to me, given it was four days away, but I assured him as well as some other Danes in the crowd around us otherwise.

“We’re just friends!”

And Lars even joined me in on it as well, because we were. We really were mere friends who shared apples with each other and called each other penguins.

So I felt my whole world turn sideways when my parents told me we were emigrating back to the states come the springtime. That meant I would be leaving Lars and the home under the northern lights for something else. I would be leaving it all behind.

Lars almost burst into tears when I told him about it.

“Please don’t go,” he begged me as he threw his arms around me. “I don’t want you to leave!”

“I don’t want to leave, either!” I felt the lump forming in my throat. “But we are—my parents are being transferred to New York. Not New York City, but in the bigger part of it. ‘Upstate’, they call it.”

He sniffled.

“Well... at least you will be across the ocean,” he said in a soft voice. “I’ll jet pack my way over if I’ve got to.”

“I’ll call you to see how it’s going with it, too,” I added.

“And I’ll write you about it!” he exclaimed.

The last lunchtime we had together, he gave me the biggest apple and I gave him the biggest hug in return.

“Goodbye, my penguin,” he whispered in my ear.

Even on the flight across the Atlantic, I found myself drawing penguins in my sketchbook. I missed him even as we took off from the Copenhagen airport.

However, we were an hour outside of New York City when my mom noticed what I was doing.

“Hannah, picture it like this,” she began, “we’re coming home. We’re returning to the place where we were born, but in a different region of it. It’s a new adventure for the three of us while being a homecoming.”

I had to agree, even though I swore Copenhagen was my home. I was born in the States, in California. It only made sense to call myself as much of a Dane as I was an American.

But given right at the first notice of settling into our new home an hour away from Syracuse, I made the mistake of decreeing myself "California baby, European kid" it was isolating at school there in upstate New York, and thus I often walked home from school alone. During the first lunch hours and rounds of early recess, I made my way into the library with a book to read or a picture to draw. More often than not, during those few minutes before class, I lay low outside of the classroom door. American school felt so alien to me, even though I was an American.

It didn’t help matters that I ached to see Lars again.

That first week, I wanted to find someone to sit next to; to find another one of those dual seats and take the last one and strike a friendship with them. But the classroom didn’t have those types of seats, and I found myself feeling like an immigrant even by the very sound of my own name being called out.

There was this one little boy who sat two rows over from me, though. He had these big brown eyes that reminded me of my own and thick jet black curls piled all over his head. I only ever saw the side of his face and not the whole package. I also only ever knew he was in the grade ahead of me, but I never learned his name.

It wasn’t until I sat down at the table in the library, right across from him, when I saw the rest of him. He wore a bright red hockey jersey under a big black windbreaker and he didn't look very comfortable there: the stern, serious expression plastered on his round little face was all I needed to know about him. I could sense it when he raised those big earthy brown eyes up at me from his book.

That jet black hair crowned all around his head and it had grown long enough to where it dangled down onto his shoulders. His light brown smooth skin made me think of porcelain, and with his brown eyes, I wondered if he was Indian, like me. He even kind of resembled me the more I looked at him. It was those eyes.

He cleared his throat and squirmed in his seat at one point. I was fixated on drawing in my sketchbook so I paid no attention to him. And yet every so often, I felt him taking a glimpse up at me; he never left the table, either, that is until the bell rang and we all returned to class for the rest of the day.

He actually reminded me of Lars in a way, just by his round little face and how I often saw him walking the halls of the school with his dark hair covering part of his face and his thin little body wrapped up in heavy sweaters and baggy clothes. During music class at the end of every Tuesday and Thursday, I always caught him tucked behind the tiny drum kit in the corner while I took to the choir section.

He was such a solitary little boy: he never really talked to anyone, such that I never learned his name. And yet it made me curious about him. I wanted to walk up to him and ask him a thing or two. At the same time, he had this little twinkle in his eye whenever he looked my way, like he was up to no good.

But it was the middle of November when I finally caught a chance to meet him after school. Since both of my parents worked, I walked with the other latchkey kids every day.

But on this particular afternoon, I peered up at our leader for a moment when I caught sight of that windbreaker out of the corner of my eye. I glanced over my shoulder to find him lingering behind me. As we kept on walking, I took another glimpse back to see what he was doing.

He hung back on the curb behind the group as if he was about to ditch us. Across the street was a vast grassy area lined with tall spruce trees.

The group walked further away to where I could slow down myself. I watched him cross the street, alone, and head on over to the grassy area. I darted ahead to make it look as though I was returning to the group for a moment, but then, when they turned the corner, I doubled back when no one looked.

I followed him across the street to the park. I reached the sidewalk on the other side once the group had disappeared behind the corner.

He walked faster, but I trotted after him. Once I came closer to him, he peered over his shoulder before he broke into a run. I followed suit and thus I chased him across the grass.

Up ahead stood a tall chain link fence around a low bright blue wall surrounded by thick evergreen bushes. To the right stood more grass, a side street, and then, beyond another tree line loomed a sliver of Lake Ontario.

"Leave me alone—" he pleaded once I caught up with him.

"But why?" I blurted out.

"Leave me alone, please!" He ran away towards the bushes behind the hockey rink. He was a fast runner: his legs pumped so much harder than mine. But I lurked back to watch him duck behind the biggest bush, the one closest to the door. Panting, I spotted his nappy hair from behind the thick dark pine needles. I rounded the bush closest to me in time to find he had ducked down there against the bare branches. He sat there with his feet stretched towards the wall before he realized I was there, and then he bowed his head into his arms.

"Hey—are you okay?" I choked out, out of breath.

"Don't look at me," he begged from his folded arms. I took a knee next to him. The cold earth sent a chill up my thigh.

"Hey—Hey, it's okay," I assured him as I knelt closer to him.

"No, it's not," he snapped back.

"What happened?" I asked; as I came closer, I set a hand on the base of the branch next to me to steady myself.


"I think something happened," I pointed out with a shake of my head. He sniffled, and then he lifted his head to look at me with those big brown eyes, accentuated by big dark eyelashes. His brown eyes onto mine for a good long minute before he swallowed.

"Do you promise not to tell?" he asked me; it was like interacting with Lars all over again.

"Pinky promise." I stuck out my right pinky finger for him, and he hooked his around it. He hesitated there for a good long minute before he spoke again.

"I'm ugly," he bluntly said. I gaped at him.

"Who said that?"

"Everyone.” His face fell; I slid closer to him to hear his squeaky voice laced with that interesting upstate accent. “When you're half Injun, people will look at you funny and you make you hate yourself."

"Half what?" I frowned at that.

"Injun," he repeated with another sniffle. "That's a word my grandma taught me when I was little. She said that's a word white people like to use to put Indians down."

"Why are you using it then?" I shifted my weight against the branches so I would be close to him.

"She said if we use it, it loses its venom."

"Do you think I could use it?" I suggested. He raised his gaze to me.

"Are you Indian?"

"Yeah. My grandpa is Blackfoot."

"My mom and my grandparents are all Iroquois,” he told me. “There’s a reservation near here and down in Syracuse but there’s not a lot of us to go around.” He ran his fingers through his black curls. “I don't know about your tribe but you know, I do—I kinda do feel better talking about it, though. I don't feel so all alone." He hunched his shoulders to keep the warmth in his little body. I huddled closer to him, this new little penguin.

"I'm also Italian from my dad's side," he added with another shiver.

"I'm Norwegian, German, African, and also French," I told him. "I'm a mess."

I nestled even closer to him, so close that I put my arm around him. He grimaced a little bit but once I rested my arm upon his shoulders, he relaxed and let me follow through with it. The wind picked up from behind the bushes.

"I'm Hannah," I said. "I see you all the time but I never found out about you. What’s your name?"

"Joe. But everyone calls me Joey."

He glanced around the nook in the bushes, the tops of which protected us from the outside world and the cold wind from the lake. It was quiet there.

“You’re the girl who moved here from Denmark, right?” he asked me.

“Yeah, but I was born out in California, though. My best friend back home bonded through something like this. We were both the odd ones out and we made a spot on the bench in the lunchroom our spot.”

“Like a safe spot?” he followed along.

“Yeah. We’d talk and trade apples with each other.” He smiled at that.

"Let's make this our safe spot," he told me. "We can come here when we both feel alone."

"It's a quiet place here," I added. “‘Det stille sted’, as we called it.”
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