I have no idea how this whole thing with the charity show got started. My impression was that Mills had cooked up the idea because he was part of some cadre of entertainment industry bigwigs who were trying to save the rainforest. Pardon me for being jaded but I find it hard to believe most of them actually knew anything about the rainforest or even really cared about it: I think it was kind of a fad. After Band Aid and “We Are the World” it became a status symbol in the business to have a charity.
Wow, that sounds really jaded. Even for me. Let me try again. I know there are good people who want to do good in the world. Maybe it’s that the few who really want to do good are able to get those who don’t really care to go along with it by making it the hip thing to do. I guess I’m fine with that.
Anyway, Mills was big on the rainforest and so we were supposed to play this show for the coalition he was a leader in, but politics are politics, something didn’t go right, and at some point they changed the beneficiary of the show to Covenant House. All I knew about that was it was a homeless shelter for teenagers in New York.
But you know, what’s the point of having a know-it-all like Jonathan around if you can’t pick his brain once in a while? I found him in the suite that night, talking with Carynne by the kitchen counter/bar. There were a lot of people there, as you’d imagine since it was the big post-show party. Courtney introduced me to a friend of hers. I autographed her shirt. Mills was there. Chris and Lacey were there. I didn’t see Bart or Michelle or Bart’s parents but I vaguely remembered them discussing where to eat so I assumed they were off doing that.
“So what’s the deal with this charity?” I asked Jonathan, when Carynne went to the restroom.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, who are they, what do I actually need to know? Are they religious, with a name like that?”
“I think they were founded by a priest but I don’t think they’re part of a church now,” Jonathan said. “I don’t think they’re Bible-thumpers if that’s what you mean.”
“I don’t mean anything. I just want to know.”
“I can find out.”
“I imagine there will be plenty of people to ask tomorrow.” I yawned and looked around the room. “I am going to get out of here.” I glanced at him, as if to ask, you coming?
“Be there in a sec,” he said with a nod.
So I went to the room, and got in the shower. A short while later J. stuck his head in. “Mind if I join you?”
“Not at all.” I grabbed him by the wrist then, and pulled him in, and he only vaguely protested that he still had his clothes on.
I enjoyed stripping him out of his wet things under the spray. I was tired, but the moment was too good to pass up. We both got off in the shower, and I decided maybe I had a thing for soapy hands.
We got in bed wearing nothing but dampness. I folded my arm over his bony hip. “Jeez, what a day.”
“Are you going to ask what I thought of the show?”
“Well, now that you brought it up…” I laughed a little. “Could you tell Ziggy was on the verge of falling over the entire time?”
“Not really. There were moments he looked pretty tired, but I probably only noticed because I’ve seen you so many times. Chris and Bart were really tight.”
“Weren’t they, though? Hey, did you meet Ziggy’s mother?”
“I did, briefly, up in the friends and family box. Had you met her before?”
“No. I didn’t even know she was in New York. Ziggy didn’t tell any of us she was coming.”
“Well, maybe with her medical issues it wasn’t a sure thing if she would make it.” Jonathan rolled onto his stomach and propped his pillow between his elbows.
I stroked his back. “Do you know what her medical issues are?”
“Not completely. If I had to guess I’d say… diabetes? She did say that it was wonderful that her son could pay for the best care for her now, though.”
“I wonder how long she’s been like that.” By “like that” I meant “so large she couldn’t walk and needed oxygen,” but it felt disrespectful somehow to say that. “I didn’t want to ask him because I felt like it was prying.”
“So instead we’re sitting here talking out our asses, like that’s better?” J. said, but affectionately.
“Yeah, yeah.” Still. “Our parents are all really different.”
“About as different as all of you are from each other, yeah,” he observed.
“True.” I lay on my back and stared at the ceiling. “Hey, are you coming with us to Great Woods?”
“Alas, I’ve stretched my time budget to the limit. In fact, I need to run uptown tomorrow, first thing. I’ll probably make it to the show, though, and if you want, I can be here tomorrow night.”
I rolled onto my face and put my arm across his back. “I’ve gotten used to you being here. Is that weird?”
“Not at all.”
“When are we going to London?”
“I don’t know. Did you guys ever get your European dates worked out?”
“You know, I think we should know that by now, but I don’t recall seeing a list. It was just going to be a couple of festivals, though, not a tour. Or are you saying we could piggyback?”
“Maybe. At any rate we have to find out where you’re going to be when before we can plan anything. Unless we go right away, like the others.” He felt me tense at that suggestion, and quickly added, “Or we could wait.”
“Stop. Stop right there.” I could see into a parallel universe at that moment, where all I did was agree and he walked away thinking maybe I didn’t really want to go. “I want to go. But I haven’t been home in two months and the thought of taking off again right away just made me flinch.”
“Okay,” he said. “I can understand that.”
“Then again, maybe I’m going to be home for three days and go stir crazy wondering what to do with myself. Once I catch up on sleep, that is.”
“Let’s not make any decisions now. It’s not like you don’t have my phone number.”
“Yeah.” I snuggled up against him then. “Be here tomorrow night though, if you can? In case it’s a while until we go?”
He kissed me gently. “Okay. I’ll be here.”
We drifted off to sleep then. And as I was falling asleep it struck me as really weird that Ziggy of all people was the only one of the four of us sleeping alone.