432. Fragile

(Sorry for the late post today, folks. Cough medicine knocked me out hours early last night and I didn’t wake up until well into today…! -ctan)

Carynne called. Jonathan had left for work already and I was taking my time with my morning. There were days when he left and my “morning” essentially dragged on all day, until he called and said he was on the way home, which gave me about forty five minutes to shower and get dressed. There were lots of days like that where I put a PopTart into the toaster and started writing a song and the next thing I knew it was three in the afternoon and what I had to show for it was a cold PopTart, greasy hair, and a song. I considered that a net gain.

This was one of the days when I didn’t chance putting the PopTart in, and ate it cold out of the package, while I listened to the answering machine pick up the call.

“Daron, it’s me, pick up if you’re there.”

“Hey, C.” I wiped crumbs off my chin as I answered, as if she might hear them.

“You’re not planning to go to this shindig of Lacey’s are you?”

“Given that I don’t know what you’re talking about, that would be no.”

“I figured as much. I’ve been getting calls from her publicist. It’s the annual awards dinner for the shelter where the donations went.”

“Ah, now I know what you’re talking about. If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not go. Giving the money was the point, not the publicity.”

“That’s what I told him, but he convinced Lacey she could do a lot more for them by speaking at the dinner, which is true, to be honest, but then he decided to see if he could drum up something more with you. I told him you’re busy.”

“What’s the latest with Lacey and Chris?”

“You’ll have to ask him for the latest. As of last week they were still quits, though she talked with his counselor. So maybe.”

“I’m mostly asking because if he’s going to come out here for the dinner I should be prepared.”


“To take him in stray if she goes off again.” I considered eating the second PopTart but put it back in the box. I could always eat it in an hour or two… if I remembered it was there. “I suppose I should try to make sure I don’t show up there by accident, too. When is it?”

“Here. Put it on your calendar with a big NOT next to it.”

I jotted down the information. “Do you think I should be worrying about her?”

“I don’t think worrying is productive in most cases, but were you thinking of something specific?”

“I keep coming back to the shit she said about how she would have taken up with Ziggy if only he and I hadn’t been… together.” It was unexpectedly painful to try to come up with the words. “As if it were my fault she didn’t get a shot at him.”

“She wasn’t watching very carefully if she thought she didn’t have a shot anyway,” Carynne pointed out.

“True,” I agreed, though it didn’t make me feel any better. “I just worry that one of these days she’s going to do a line of coke and then talk to the media and that will be how we end up tabloid news no matter what we do.”

“Maybe that’s the silver lining of Zig being out of sight, out of mind.” Carynne said it gently, like she knew I was hurting. “And much as I want to support Christian in his relationships… maybe that’s just one more reason why we’d all be better off without her around.”

“Okay, but now I really feel like chickenshit.”


“It just feels wrong for me to invalidate all the hard work he’s done on his relationship just to shore up my closet.”

She was silent and I couldn’t tell if it was because she was thinking, or stunned.

“Right?” I asked. “That’s chickenshit, right?”

“I’m trying to figure out if I ever heard you talk about the closet so blatantly before.”

“Jonathan’s rubbing off on me. We have a lot of talks about identity politics. I never even knew what identity politics was until him.”

“Understood. But here’s what I’m getting at, Daron. The so-called closet, you’re talking about a social construction based on your own fear and perceived public image. We need to separate things out a little more now.”

“We do?”

“Yeah. You being afraid is one thing. You feeling chickenshit is because you feel like you’re putting your feelings in front of Chris’s feelings, selfishly. But it’s a separate issue from your feelings that issues that affect your public image actually could have a negative impact on your career and the band. Do you see what I’m saying?”

“You’re saying even if I weren’t afraid of the consequences, there could be consequences?”

“That’s one way of putting it.”

“I still don’t feel right trying to break them up just to cover my ass.”

“Don’t take on guilt that doesn’t belong to you. You didn’t break them up and neither did I. They did that all on their own.”

“Okay. Sorry. Anyway, I’ll call him later and get the latest.” I emailed with Colin almost every day but Chris was harder to stay in touch with without some effort on both our parts.

Then Carynne asked, quite innocently, “So how’s Jonathan?”

“Good,” I said automatically, then immediately retracted it. “Actually, I think he’s really having a rough time but he’s such a good soldier he just keeps plowing through no matter what. I keep asking him if everything at work is okay, and he says yes, but I feel like something’s wrong anyway.”

“You think he’s in denial?”

“I don’t know what to think. I feel like he went from being a really sensible, confident person to a chronic second-guesser. And the only two possible causes are either me or the job, and I guess I’m in denial that it’s me.”

“Hah. Wait, you’re serious.”

“Yeah. I mean, if it’s me, what can I do about it? Beyond what I’m already doing?”

“Which is…?”

“Try to be a good boyfriend.”

“Which means what?”

“Be home on time for dinner and don’t fuck anyone else, far as I can tell,” I said, and I wish I were joking. “Oh, and be a good listener.”

“Daron, I hate to tell you this, but if you were my boyfriend, and that was what you brought to the table? I’d have to break it to you that you’re scraping by with the bare minimum. Maybe Jonathan’s different, but for me? That is the minimum requirements you’re meeting right there.”

“I suck at relationships.”

“Hush. This isn’t so you can beat yourself up about something else. Hang on, I have another call coming in.”

She picked up call waiting and I decided to eat the other PopTart while I had nothing better to do. I broke it in half and was finishing one of the pieces when she came back.

“That was Skyline. Looking for more filler music for documentaries. Interested?”

“Absolutely, assuming the pay rate’s similar but it’d be nice if I have a little more lead time.”

“Sounds like it. I’ll call you back with more details.”


I took the cordless phone with me to the living room and left it on the coffee table while I fussed with a song. Gee, do you think this one is about Jonathan? No wait, maybe it’s about Ziggy, too.

The words – the words – the words
Stuck inside my mouth
I keep them to myself
I never let them out

The words – the words – the words
I’ll never say
Because of how they’d cut you
Because you’d never stay

The words – the words – the words
I know by heart
Won’t bring us together
They’ll tear us apart

The words – the words – the words
I want to say
But only if I mean them
Not to make you stay

The words – the words – the words
Trapped behind my lips
A special kind of poison
I take instead of give

Words are broken
my heart unspoken


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