Can't Buy Me
by Jerry Guarino
Tommy was a happy man. Tall,
athletic and with surfer looks, the sophomore was
breezing through college in the carefree San
Diego lifestyle. He thought he had it all, until
he met Hannah. Hannah was gorgeous, perhaps the
woman of his dreams, except for one fact. Hannah
didnt like the Beatles.
Tommy remembered when he
first met Hannah. After a long walk on Mission
Beach, he wandered over to a café to get an ice
tea. It was crowded and the only seat available
was at a table for six.
May I take this seat?
The group was friendly. Sure, come join us.
Three women and two men, all around Tommys
age, dressed in athletic wear and chatting. The
group introduced themselves. Tommy reciprocated.
Tommy listened to the
others but had a hard time not focusing on Hannah.
She was tall, athletic and blond, with a models
face and perfect teeth.
So, Tommy, what do
Im a sophomore
at San Diego State, studying fine arts. The
group nodded approval.
We need more artists. Hannah here is an artist, a
painter. Tommy tried to reckon her age.
Are you in school?
Yes, at the
University of San Diego.
Tommy thought to himself,
probably comes from wealth. USD is private and
very expensive. Resisting the urge to pursue this
lovely in front of her friends, he chatted with
the others, to hide his infatuation with Hannah.
The others went to USD too, even though they
werent pretentious about it.
After a while, Hannah
excused herself. Got to go guys, see you
later. She got on her bike and coasted off.
Tommy, were all
friends here and we like you, so we know what youre
Yes, you like Hannah.
Every guy does. Want some advice?
Tommy realized he hadnt
been as subtle as he thought. Sure.
We have both dated
her and know a dozen other guys who have. Shes
great, basically the perfect girl.
But she has one flaw.
She doesnt like the Beatles.
None of their songs?
Not a one. Thats
why shes still available, no boyfriend.
Every time she gets serious, the guy messes up
and lets on that he likes their music, and poof,
Seems very unusual. I
never met anyone who didnt like at least
some Beatles music.
Weve never been
able to figure out why. She guards that secret
like an ancient treasure, or her virginity.
Tommy got nervous. Surely
this beauty wasnt a virgin? The others
noticed his expression and they laughed.
No, shes not a
virgin. Quite spectacular in bed actually.
Tommy looked at the other
two women. Their smiles told him something.
Listen, Tommy, we
like you. Were having a party at USD
tonight. Let me text you the address. It will be
fun watching you and Hannah.
All right, Id
like that. But how did you know I was interested
Every guy is Tommy,
and most girls too.
Tommy wanted to play it
cool, not give away too much information about
himself. Although he wasnt poor, his family
wasnt wealthy, like most of the group he
just met from USD. He knew the type, in college
for the contacts, the socializing, not worrying
about post grad issues or loans. Many would go to
med school or law school. They were the fortunate
few. He felt honored to be accepted so soon in
their circle. So, he showed up at the party, with
a bottle of wine, fashionably late.
Tommy, good to see
you. One of the guys he met earlier took
the wine. Thanks for bringing this. Go on
inside and mingle.
There were about twenty
people there. They accepted Tommy as if he was a
fellow at their college and didnt pry into
his background. Friendly and welcoming.
After a while, Tommy saw
Hannah, coming down the stairway in a cornflower
blue summer dress, with little white birds and
clouds. Hannahs friends were used to this
reaction and secretly watched Tommy approach her,
after a tension filled fifteen minutes of her
chatting with others.
Hi Hannah, nice to
see you again.
Oh, Tommy. She
gave him a hug and kiss on the cheek. Nice
to see you too. Youre studying fine arts,
yes? Tommy hoped his smile was just right,
not too eager and not too laid back.
Yes, Id like to teach music
composition and performance.
Hannah was engaged. Wonderful.
I may be able to help you with an internship. My
father teaches at Berklee College of Music, in
So, youre from
Yes, I go back for
two weeks in July, but prefer to live here in the
I love San Diego. Im
from Los Angeles.
Oh, the big city. We
go up there for concerts and to the museums. Im
a painter. Hannah smiled warmly at Tommy.
Tommy fell for her at that moment.
Maybe we could go up
to a museum someday. What do you think?
Hannah touched Tommys
hand. Id like that. Here, give me
your phone and Ill give you my contact info.
Hannah picked up Tommy on
Saturday morning in her BMW convertible.
I love driving the
PCH on a sunny day. The sound and smell of the
ocean, birds and lots of sunshine.
As they drove casually
North, another car passed them blaring Help,
loud enough for Hannah to hear. Tommy braced
himself, hoping she would ignore it. Nope.
That noise. Can you
believe people play that so loud?
Tommy checked his
expression, not knowing how to respond. Hmm
he said nonchalantly. Hannah took his expression
understand why people think they were so great,
Its a mystery,
Hannah turned up her radio,
chamber music. Ah, thats better.
Very nice Hannah. I
love Mozart. Bonding with his love of
classical music only enamored him to her even
A video billboard flashed
an ad for Love, the Beatles show in Las
Vegas. Tommy hoped that Hannah didnt see it.
Can you imagine an
entire show of Beatles music? Torture.
The restraint was becoming torture for him.
Tommy had to decide whether
he could keep up his disdain for a band he
considered the greatest of all time, in order to
capture the heart and body of this angel. He was
fighting his own integrity and instincts; but he
was too far gone. Hannah had taken his soul and
he was helpless to do anything about it, nor did
he want to.
They wandered through the
museum and the rooms with impressionist paintings,
something close to Hannahs heart.
Yes, many genius
painters working during that period. In music too.
A small bug scampered out
from under a bench. Hannah quickly squashed it.
Ugh! Must have been a
I think it was a
They stopped by the gift
shop. Tommy bought Hannah some candles and a
poster reprint by Monet. Hannah bought Tommy a
small replica of an antique flute.
Lets go to the
Tommy smiled and touched
They walked the beach in
the hot California sun. Seagulls squawked above
them and the waves made that whooshing sound
going in and out. The smell of salt water was
Hannah took Tommys
hand and playfully jogged toward the water. It
was warmer than usual today, not the usual biting
cold. They stood with the water up to their knees,
the waves splashing against their legs. Hannah
turned to Tommy.
Isnt it just
the best place in the world?
Yes, I love the ocean.
Hannah was in her element.
She seemed more like a California girl than a
What popular music do
you like Tommy?
Oh, a lot of stuff
from the 60s and 70s.
Oh, yes, very much
and the Turtles.
Suddenly a flock of
seagulls flew above them making an awful racket.
And the waves crashed against their legs.
Tommy heard her, but pretended not to.
The Beach Boys. Yes,
one of my favorites. He quickly interjected.
How about you?
Im partial to
the Woodstock generation. Music from the hippies
and the songwriters like Judy Collins, Joni
Mitchell and Carole King.
That was a golden era
of music, no doubt. I wish I could have lived
back then. What else does the ocean do for you?
Its like a
dream Tommy. I dream about the ocean, about
swimming with the dolphins. Ive even
painted some pictures like that. How about you?
The ocean reminds me
of chamber music, the rhythms of Gabrieli and
Oh, yes, Debussy.
When Im here, I think of renaissance
painters, like Cezanne and Pissarro. I saw some
originals in France last year. Have you been to
No, sadly. I would
love to go to Vienna and visit the museums of the
Maybe we should go
together some day. Then Hannah put her arms
around Tommy. The kiss lasted forever. It was the
best kiss he had ever had. When they finally
opened their eyes, Hannah gave him a look that
men long for. She smiled and made a sweet
overnight. We can get a room at that cottage
Tommy could only nod in
agreement, not wanting to ruin the moment.
They had seafood dinner on
the boardwalk, then took a final walk on the
beach before retiring to their room. Hannah sent
Tommy out to buy some champagne while she lit the
candles. When he returned, he saw her, dressed in
a lemon colored chemise with matching panties,
which only highlighted her blond hair.
Finally, the moment Tommy
had dreamed about. Their gentle caresses and long
kisses gave way to more passionate explorations.
When Hannah was ready, she held Tommys face
and gazed into his eyes.
Before we do this, I
have one question. Do you renounce the Beatles
and all their music?
Tommy was shocked back into
reality. What? You mean all their music?
Yes. I need a
This was the moment all men
face. To choose between two loves. His perfect
woman or the music that fed his soul. He was
hesitant, perhaps a mistake, and then said the
words that would haunt him for the rest of his
What about the early
And poof, Hannah was gone.
Buy Me Love by Jerry Guarino
Copyright April, 2019 All Rights Reserved