Colin and I had the following very terse conversation after sex. I don’t know if the terseness demonstrates how well we knew each other at that point or that we were emotionally stunted.
Me: Something’s changed.
Him: Yeah. What, though?
Him: Is that bad?
Me: Not sure.
Him: Not sure either.
Me: Should we back off?
Colin: Yeah, probably.
I was pretty sure we knew exactly what we meant, anyway.
The next morning the vanload of everyone in the house plus Bart, minus Colin, was due to leave for New York. I found myself antsy to leave, not because of anything to do with Colin but just because I get antsy before going on trips in general and tour and work trips especially and having to wait for everyone to get ready was painful. If I’d been by myself I would have been out the door minutes after I woke up.
But I wasn’t by myself and so the fact that I woke up early only meant more hours of waiting. I made a last check of the basement rehearsal area to make sure we hadn’t left anything. I checked my own bags one more time to be sure I had my notebook, the right guitars, et cetera.
I should explain a little about what was going on at that point with my guitars. You might remember I had two Ovations that were essentially identical, one that Remo gave me and one I bought as a backup. For a year or two the only thing that distinguished them was a scratch on the headstock that only I ever noticed. But when I went to Spain I brought one of them with me and that guitar now felt and sounded a little different from the other one. Maybe all the standing around in the sun and playing in smoky bars and whatnot had aged the wood differently but there was a very subtle difference between them. So that one had become my number one guitar. Number two I had left with the Nomad equipment and so didn’t even have access to right then.
Call me a creature of habit, but my number one electric at that point was my old Korean-made Fender Strat, the sunburst. I had worn the finish down on the fretboards in a couple of places and liked the feel of it. Like shoes that are well broken in.
The question becomes how many guitars is it feasible to travel with. When you have a large road crew of course you can have as many as you want. But when you don’t have other people hauling everything it’s hard to travel with more than two–because you’ve got two hands–and even that can be tricky. I needed an acoustic and an electric at minimum. I’d be bringing both number ones with me.
I went back to check that my windows were locked and the A/C was unplugged and that nothing else in my room was in need of anything. I’d already made sure there were no beer bottles or dirty dishes hiding anywhere that could turn into any kind of infestation or science experiment run amok while I was gone but I gave it one last look.
Ziggy’s notebook was sitting there. I grabbed it on a whim and put it into my backpack.
Then I had toast.
Have I mentioned how unusual it was for me to be awake in the morning? Being awake before other people wasn’t something I was used to at all. It made the house seem very strange. I wasn’t used to seeing the light coming in from that angle.
I wondered if Colin was going to be lonely when we were all gone.
Of course he wouldn’t. He had other relationships I didn’t even know about. Pretty sure, he did, anyway.
Everyone else got up soon after that, and I tried not to stab anyone with the spiky unease of my emotional state. I figured it would smooth out as soon as we got moving, anyway.
I was partly right. As soon as we hit the highway I fell asleep, like usual, and didn’t wake up until we were halfway through Connecticut.
We dropped Courtney off in Chelsea, where another classmate of hers had a sublet for the summer. It wasn’t where she was going to stay permanently but she’d couch surf until she found something better. Then we swung by Barrett’s office where I picked up a key to the rehearsal space, which felt like a big deal to have. I mean, there’s going to be a pile of mondo expensive equipment in there, and dozens of people needing access to it, but you didn’t want every single one of them to have a key because it was too huge a risk. So for example Ziggy didn’t have a key to the place, but I did.
Because technically? Now that I was musical director? I was management now. Not just talent anymore. I knew it but somehow having that key drove it home.
Not that this meant I knew what I was doing. If I did, don’t you think my band would have a name by then?
I decided to wear the key on a lanyard around my neck. It was the only way I’d have a reasonable chance of not losing it.
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