514. PART THIRTEEN: August 1990: Prodigal Blues

(Kickstarter Update! Wow, fundraising really flatlined over the Easter Weekend… so we’ve been stuck making almost no progress since last Thursday’s post. Here’s the link to donate or see the details! http://kck.st/R31kCx -ctan)

When the only thing I could get on such short notice at the Seville airport was a British Airways flight to London, I decided I might as well take it. One more country to check off the list, right? I took the flight since it wasn’t insanely expensive, and booked the seven-day advanced flight from London to Boston while I was at it, since the amount I saved was more than enough to get me a hostel and feed me for a week.

It was so much easier to get around an English-speaking country. I found a hostel pretty easily. I called Carynne from the pay phone there and got her machine again. I gave her the number where she could leave me a message. The next day I got up and went to see the spot where the Abbey Road album cover was photographed. Then I went to Picadilly Circus and gawked at crowds and stuff. In the afternoon I went to the Tower of London and was surprised to find it wasn’t actually a tower. When they say tower they mean fortress, I guess.

I was standing in a tourist trap shop not far from parliament and “Big Ben” (which is in a tower), when I thought about sending Jonathan a postcard. I hadn’t thought about Jonathan in months. I felt a little bit guilty about that, but then I thought why should that make me feel guilty? We had a relationship. It ended. I had no regrets about it. So I stopped thinking about it. Isn’t that how it should be? I felt so calm about it.

I was less calm, though, when I was looking through a bin at a hip record store, and I realized the flyer tacked to the wall was for the opening of Star Baby. So that was happening. My breath got a little short looking at the grainy photocopy of the photo of Ziggy and the actress whose name I could never remember in each other’s arms.

And what about Ziggy, anyway? I hadn’t exactly stopped thinking about him, but I’d run out of new thoughts to have. It had been over a year since I had last laid eyes on him.

A year. Jesus.

A voice in my head that sounded a lot like Carynne’s asked, How do you feel about him now?

And a voice that sounded a lot like mine said something I was pretty sure I’d said many times before, That really depends on him.

I was still in love with him. I’d given up fighting that. But whether I let myself experience the feeling was going to depend on him. Whether there was even a way to experience it, that remained to be seen. Was there still a band? Had Ziggy ever come home?

Back at the hostel, there was a message from Carynne. It said “Call Me. Urgent.” The hostel had a pay phone in the lounge. A Madonna sing-along was going on in the lounge, though. I went back out to the train station two blocks away and used the phone from there.

This time, at last, I reached her.

“Daron, holy fuck, where the hell are you now?”

“London. I got your message at the hostel.”

“Okay. When are you coming home? It’s… I’ve been trying to call you for weeks.”

“Shit.” I felt like a ball of ice had formed in the pit of my stomach. “I was afraid of that. I had no idea the phone in Seville was cut off.”

“It’s all right, other than the ulcer I gave myself worrying about you. But there’s a lot going on here.”

“What do you mean ‘a lot’?”

“I mean, for example, lawsuit shit ramping up and a ton of other things to tell you.”

Before I could ask her to elaborate she blurted out, “Like Ziggy’s mother dying.”

“Dying!” I clutched the phone. That sucked no matter how you looked at it.

“Well, she was. It happened a couple of months ago.”

“Oh, shit.” How long I had been away hit me like a guitar to the face. Not that it might have made any difference if I had been there. It’s not like I could have saved her. And it’s not like I could have helped him or been there for him if he didn’t want me to.

Would he have wanted me to?

“Have you… have you been in touch with him?”

“Not really. He’s been in LA and New York mostly. But anyway.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right, sweetcakes. But I really need you here, now.”

“All right. All right. Can you re-book me on an earlier flight? Otherwise I’m here for six more days.”

“If I know you’re coming home in six days, that’s–”

“No. It sounds like I’ve put it off long enough. I should get my ass home now.”

“Call me back in an hour. It’s still business hours here. I’ll call the travel agent.”

“Okay. I’ll call you. If I need to get on a flight at the crack of dawn I can do that.”

I left the next day. When I landed at Boston Logan it was shortly after 12 noon local time, the sky was dark with oncoming thunderclouds, and it was humid and hot. The A/C in the customs area seemed to be broken, and I carried my leather jacket draped over my guitar case in one hand, my duffel bag in the other.

Outside customs Carynne was waiting for me. She ran and hugged me and I stood there a little awkwardly until she let me put the stuff on the floor so I could hug her back. Then she took a look at me and squeezed my biceps.

“Shit, did you join a gym in Spain?”

“No, I helped demolish and rebuild a stone courtyard,” I said. “You don’t like it?”

“I love it. Jeezus, I’ve never seen you so buff. I guess they fed you good over there, too.”

“Chocolate and churros and red wine every day.”

She hugged me again. “God, I’m glad you’re back.”

To everyone else in the terminal we probably looked like a couple. I didn’t care. “I didn’t mean to be away so long.”

She picked up my jacket, I picked up the guitar and bag, and we started walking to her car. “Did you have a good time at least? I mean, did you learn what you wanted to?”

I nodded. “I got adopted by some gypsies and they taught me everything they knew.”

She said nothing.

“No, really,” I added.

Well, it was true.


  • whatisit says:

    He’s back! This feels like a big filler kind of ended, but not quite, because a lot of stuff happened and it didn’t feel pointless to read 🙂

    • ctan says:

      Yeah, it’s the only “self-contained” section in the whole of the Chronicles, really, because it was just Daron on his own, without all the other threads that run through all the other parts. But he’s like a boomerang, always comes back. 🙂

  • Oh, I am on tenterhooks. Is everything going to be okay? Are they going to be good to one another? Are they going to be good FOR one another finally?

    *chews claws*

    • daron says:

      Here’s a tip that keeps me from chewing mine. Clear nail polish. It tastes awful and feels weird on my teeth. So that’s what keeps me from gnawing them when I grow them out on my right hand.

  • cayra says:

    Whoo, reconverging timelines. I’m on pins and needles for what might come now.

  • Amber says:

    I’m so excited to see what will happen between them now. They have both grown so much.

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