(Poll update! If you haven’t voted on which character I should write the next bonus story about, check out the poll back in Liner Note #24. Meanwhile, Colin only needs $25 more in donations in his name to guarantee a story about him, even if Ziggy beats him in the popular vote…)
Ziggy had a nest built out of pillows on one side of the bed, and he sat with his back propped up against the headboard, while I sat on the footstool that matched the comfy chair in the room.
I played around with some songs and making acoustic arrangements of things while Ziggy drew something in his notebook, and after a while I sang him a song, one that didn’t really have words yet, just fragments that shaped the chorus, totally built on the sound of things, not their meaning. I sang it quietly–I wasn’t playing very loud anyway–until I’d played it enough and brought it to an end.
He was looking at the ceiling and nodding. He turned the page of his notebook, and wrote to me, Write that one down?
“I’ve got it,” I assured him.
He went back to sketching then, the pencil making whispery sounds against the paper. I let myself get absorbed in playing something else.
The next time I looked up, he’d fallen asleep, the notebook lying on the flat expanse of the bedspread next to him where he hadn’t turned back the covers.
I don’t know how long I sat there looking at him. I played until I trailed off, and then I sat there watching him some more. As I said before, right then he was totally unadorned, no eyeliner, no frills.
My heart hurt looking at him and I don’t even know why.
I set the guitar aside and went to look at what he was sketching.
It was a picture of me. He had drawn it all with shadows–I can’t explain it. It was very recognizably me. A simplified, idealized me, maybe. He made me look better than I do.
I should have set the notebook aside then. I should have closed it and set it on the side table, and turned out the light. But I didn’t. I turned the page back to the previous one to see the notes he had been writing to people. And then to the page before that. And of course before I knew it, I was reading a page of song lyrics. Some really good-looking song lyrics. Then another. And another. Some of them had strict rhymes, some of them had disturbing but clever images…
Then it hit me. What he’d said. They were all about me.
I think when he’d said that I hadn’t pictured dozens of songs. I had thought maybe ten or twelve at most. I flipped the pages. This was more like a hundred. Some pages had more than one song on them, one upside down to the other.
I read them all. Everything in that book. I was reading them for so long I got a stiff neck, but I couldn’t stop–I couldn’t even move. And I thought about how in Toronto he’d said he wasn’t afraid of how he felt about me. Not being afraid of his feelings apparently meant copious song material.
He’d also said he wasn’t afraid of me hurting him the way he had hurt me. A lot of the songs could be construed as apologies. I wondered if he had been planning to show them to me sometime, maybe the next time we went into the studio?
They weren’t ALL about me, by the way. There were at least one or two that had to be about his past, maybe his mother. At least, I really hoped some of the more disturbing ones weren’t about me. Maybe they were about my fears, the way he saw them. I don’t know.
I eventually did set the notebook aside and turned out the light and got into the bed, in most of my clothes. What followed was the worst attack of insomnia I’d had in a long time. I lay awake until dawn showed that we had forgotten to close the curtains. I got up and closed them, then paced around the room for a while, then turned the A/C fan from low to high.
The heavy, steady hum may have been what finally put me to sleep. It still took a while, but eventually I felt myself drifting, and then finally, I slept.
When I woke up a few hours later, I was under the covers and he was snuggled against me. I heard a piece of paper whisper under the door: probably the day schedule? Then I fell back to sleep.
The next time I woke, he was in the shower, and someone was knocking. I went to see. It was Carynne. I pulled open the door.
“You look like you slept in your clothes,” she said simply.
“Second night in a row,” I said.
“Bart said he thought you were in here.”
“Bart was right.”
“So far. He didn’t say a word. He mostly slept and slept.”
She let out a sigh. “That’s good. Did he take the sleeping pills, do you know?”
“I have no idea.” I hadn’t noticed him taking anything, but I don’t know what he did before I got there. “Hopefully he feels better, though.”
“Hopefully.” She let out another long breath. “And you’re okay?”
“Think so.” Ha. “What’s the schedule for today?”
“You’re standing on it,” she pointed out. “Music Hall tonight, and then we’re staying here tonight, one more day in Cleveland, and not leaving for Pittsburgh until the morning of the 13th.”
“The crew, too?” I leaned over to pick up the memo on the carpet.
“No. They’re hitting the road after load out.”
“And is there press tomorrow?”
“No. There was going to be some in Pittsburgh but I rescheduled it. Ziggy will get another day of rest that way without us having to move.” She gave me a small smile. “The spa wasn’t anywhere near as boring as you feared it would be, you know.”
“No. I am not making an appointment. I’m perfectly content to watch TV and eat room service and do absolutely nothing,” I told her.
Ziggy came around behind me then, his head wrapped in a towel and the rest of him in the tight-belted robe. “Hey,” he said, in a very, very quiet voice. “Breakfast?”
“They make waffles fresh while you wait,” I said.
“Go get a table and I’ll be down in a minute,” he said.
“Hey,” Carynne said. “I don’t think you’re supposed to be talking yet.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, and then made shooing motions like we should run along.
I stopped at my room and changed my clothes, then went down and met Carynne in the restaurant. Antonio was there, too. Ziggy came down a little while later, his eyes lined and his hair gently styled.
I had to wonder, if he slept so well, and so long, why did his eyes look a little red to me now? Maybe he’d poked himself in the eye–each eye?–while putting his eyeliner on…? Yeah, right. Maybe I was just being paranoid. Since he couldn’t say anything, it was hard to gauge his mood. He seemed to eat reasonably enough. He had his waffle with strawberries and whipped cream. But maybe because he was silent it felt like he was hardly there.
(Coming up Saturday: bonus post! I will share a couple of pages from Ziggy’s notebook.)