That nap wasn’t when the nightmares started. I think I was having them already, but I’m not sure exactly when I had the first one. I think maybe I didn’t remember the first couple of them. Pretty sure it was some time after I left L.A. and before I saw Ziggy again.
Maybe nightmare is too strong a word. The dreams were more annoying than terrifying, really. Have I told you the one where I’m a busboy? That one recurs in different configurations. I still have it once in a while. The really annoying versions of it feature Ziggy as either a waiter or host… I don’t even want to think about them. Like that might make that dream come around more often.
Another one that cropped up that week had me as a documentary cameraman, and I’m trying to follow Ziggy (of course) and the camera is insanely heavy, like a hundred pounds, and I’m running uphill with it on my shoulder, then in my arms, then it gets to the point I’m dragging it on the ground and praying I’m not destroying it in the process…
You get the idea. Thoroughly unpleasant dreams where I’m trying so hard at something and the situation keeps getting worse. Natural disasters get in the way, wars break out, you name it.
Ugh. I wondered if it was because I quit therapy when I left L.A.
Anyway. I had a very long hot shower when I woke up. Sarah was still asleep.
In the shower I let my mind go around in circles. So Jordan Travers was gay. I was disturbed not by the fact that Jordan was gay, or by the fact that I’d missed it (well, okay, I was mildly perturbed about that), but mostly because I suddenly felt differently about him. I still liked him–heck, I probably like him more as a result of knowing?–and I didn’t think any less of him, but I felt like he was a different person now. And I knew he wasn’t. I knew he was exactly the same. And yet because now I saw him in a whole new light, it was like he had changed, even though it was all my fault.
And I thought: shit, this is what happens when I come out to people like Christian. He acted really cool about it but ultimately I think he felt like I’d pulled the rug out from under him. Things were good between me and him again, but maybe they’d never be “the same” because I was never the person he’d thought I was.
I hated the thought that someone who knew me could suddenly think they didn’t know me because they found out I was gay. And I knew that part of it was because of the assumptions they’d put on what “being gay” supposedly meant. And I hated those assumptions.
And yet… here I was making those same assumptions about Jordan. What the fuck, Daron? How does that make sense? It didn’t make sense and I tried to unbend those wires. Did I still trust Jordan? Yes. Respect his opinion and his abilities? Yes. Had my relationship with him changed? Well, maybe only that we’d gotten to know each other better, which would have happened from hanging out even without me finding out he had a boyfriend.
A fleeting thought, one I couldn’t stop myself from having: would I do him? Date him? If we were both available and the time was right? Hm. Probably not. I wasn’t particularly attracted to him, anyway. And I’d much rather maintain a solid working friendship since it seemed likely we might work together in the future.
Not that that stopped me from sleeping with Mitch the Convenient Sax Player in Japan.
Next fleeting thought I couldn’t stop: did Ziggy know about Jordan? And would he…?
That was the point where I smacked the wall with the flat of my hand so hard Sarah came and knocked on the door to find out if I was all right.
“I’m fine!” I yelled over the sound of the shower running, but I might have sounded kind of distressed. Because the thought that came to mind was that I knew perfectly well that Ziggy’s m.o. was to sleep with anyone he wanted to influence. He’d told me, hadn’t he, that the only thing that would keep him from doing it was that he didn’t want to upset me?
But he didn’t have much incentive not to upset me if I wasn’t around.
And, well, if I wasn’t around, then why did I care who he slept with? Why would I care whether he slept with Jordan or not?
I did care, though. That was the thing.
I shut off the water and toweled myself into a less water-logged state.
When I emerged from the bathroom in a bathrobe Sarah had left for me, she was on the phone. “Are you ready to take down the number? Here.” She rattled off a phone number from a card. “Seriously. Best vocal coach I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a couple.”
She was sitting on the side of the bed. The phone wasn’t cordless: it ran to a base on her side table shaped like a small statue of Mickey Mouse.
“Uh huh,” she said. “She’s here in New York, but she travels a fair bit, too. I had tried to get hooked up with Joan Lader, but she wasn’t available. I’m super-happy with how it’s turned out, though. Yeah, Speech Level Singing. I easily got another half-octave I didn’t think I had.”
She was clearly speaking to another singer. I stretch myself across my side of the bed again, only half-listening.
“Well, I’m supposed to see her tomorrow at two,” she went on. “You want to come along and meet her? She said he only takes new clients on referral. Joan referred me, I’ll refer you. If you like her, that is.”
I started to drift back to sleep.
“Anyway, you want to talk to Daron? He’s here.”
I opened my eyes. “Who is it?”
She handed me the receiver. “Do you really need to ask? I’m getting in the shower.”
It was warm from being pressed to her ear. “Hello?”
“Hey.” Ziggy. “I’m in town.”
My skin flashed hot and cold. “And meeting Sarah’s vocal coach, it sounds like.”
We lapsed into silence while I groped around for something that was neither loaded nor pathetic to say. The feeling was… unsettlingly familiar. Dammit it all to hell. I didn’t just jump through the fiery hoops of therapy to find myself back at square one, did I? My throat felt dry.
“I didn’t know you and Sarah knew each other,” I finally said.
“We don’t. I called there looking for you and she answered.”
“Huh.”I’d paged him the number but somehow I hadn’t been prepared for him to call. “How’d you get on the subject of vocal coaches?”
“I’m looking for one on this coast. I thought she might know someone.”
And apparently she did. “Um. Cool.” So, he was on this coast. Dammit. Back to feeling awkward and stupid. “Looking for me, huh.”
“Yeah. You, uh, you have plans for tonight?”
Only if the plans involve cornering you and burying my… nose… in your… hair. Was that me that thought that? I cleared my throat. “I’m not sure. Sarah’s the one who plans. I’m just along for the ride. We did the VIP room at Limelight last night. She might want to stay in, order a pizza, and…” I steered myself away from saying write a song, and instead said, “rent a movie. How about you?”
“I’m at the Carlyle. Why don’t all three of us do dinner?”
“Is it all right if I ask her when she gets out of the shower?”
“Okay.” I supposed that meant we had to stay on the phone until she came out. “How was St. Maarten?”
“Beautiful except I got eaten alive by mosquitoes. After the photoshoot, fortunately. Still. I’m all spotty with calamine lotion.”
I could picture it. Ziggy’s skin, tawny-brown from sun, splotched with pink medicine.
A wave of longing for him swept through me. Sigh. I was caught up in it enough that I wasn’t really absorbing what he was saying. Something about the food in St. Maarten maybe.
He kept up the chatter until Sarah emerged from the shower, her hair in a towel atop her head and the rest of her in a robe so soft and fluffy it looked like it had been made from skinned stuffed animals.
I covered the receiver with my hand. “Zig wants to know if you have plans for tonight? For us, I mean? He’s inviting us to dinner.”
“Oh we should totally do dinner with him,” she said. “We can go dancing after.”
Well, that settled it.
(Today’s selection is another Top 40 hit from 1990 and a reminder of just how dull and manufactured popular music had gotten… -d)