946. Tell Me When Did Things Go So Wrong

(Sorry for the late post! I tried to do it last night from the train to NYC but the wifi wouldn’t work. I arrived in the city at 3am, and when I got to where I’m crashing I fell asleep before I got it live. Then this morning we had to rush out to Brooklyn for the timed entry to the David Bowie exhibit which ends this weekend. I’m so glad I went. Lots to think about–I’m still processing it. And then straight to see part one of the Harry Potter play. So this is my first chance with real wifi to post it! Much love to all and apologies I’m as flakey as Daron when it comes to remembering the days of the week. -ctan)

Ziggy and I moved into the motel when we got back. I had been expecting a Motel 6 on the highway or something, but it was actually a mom and pop place on a county road not far from a tiny vestige of a downtown. From our room’s window you could see the outline of a couple of buildings still standing around the former train station like Stonehenge or something.

Not having to deal with anyone for a while was kind of necessary after the day we’d had with my mother. The first thing we did in our new home away from home was take a nap. Ziggy and I didn’t even get under the covers. We just lay down in our clothes on one of the two beds in our room (I didn’t ask) and conked out. When I woke up later, Ziggy had pulled one corner of the bedspread over himself, exposing the off-white underside of it.

It took me a moment to figure out why I was awake. Then I realized the phone was ringing. I had a moment of total disorientation while I tried to remember if we’d overslept our soundcheck time or what.

Then I remembered and thought, oh, that’s probably Remo calling. No one else knows where we are.

So I picked up the phone. It was not Remo. It was someone looking for Remo and the front desk had patched the call through to the wrong room. I recognized her voice right away.

“Hi, Melissa. It’s Daron.”

She sounded annoyed. “What is it this time?”

“What is what? Remo’s in a different room. I wonder if I can transfer you or if you’ll have to call back.”

“Whatever.” She sighed. “I guess you guys went to the hospital or something today?”

“Chemotherapy, yeah. It’s exactly as grim as it sounds.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean… nothing like spending the day with a bunch of people getting pumped full of poison on the off chance that it will kill their cancer faster than the cancer will kill them?”

“That’s not a joking matter.”

“Do I sound like I’m joking?”

She was silent, then.

“Look, Melissa, I know you’re not keen on him being here, but it’s not exactly a vacation to the Riviera is what I’m saying.”

“I don’t even know where the Riviera is.”

“I don’t either, actually. Europe, maybe?” I was not clear on whether the Riviera and the French Riviera were the same thing or what. “How’s Ford doing?”

“Oh, he’s fine. He had a bit of croup,”–I think she said croup, anyway; maybe she said colic?–“but he’s all right now. He misses his Daddy.”

“Well, like I said, it’s no vacation on the Riviera but you could come here, too, couldn’t you?”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. Your mother doesn’t need the hussy her true love married showing up and complicating things.”

“Mel, I gotta say, I don’t think Remo’s my mom’s true love.”

“Well, what is he, then?”

“He’s–” Just this guy, you know? “He’s just trying to do what he thinks is right. And she’s not his true love, either. I’m not even sure they like each other very much right now, honestly.”

“What makes you say that?”

They had a fight in the car today every bit as vehement and ugly as the ones my parents used to have… “Just my impression.”

“And yet, he’s there instead of here.”

I couldn’t really refute that. “Look, you want me to go find him?”

“No, I’ll call back. What room number are you guys in so I can tell them ‘no, not that one?’”


Ziggy tapped me on the back. “It’s room 213.”

“Two-thirteen,” I told her. “I don’t know what number he’s in.”

“Thanks.” She hung up and so did I.

I lay back. “Sorry about that,” I said. “Didn’t mean to wake you. I answered it before I was really awake.”

Ziggy snuggled next to me. “I can see why Mel’s confused.”


“Because why is Remo here, exactly?”

“Because Claire’s got no one else?”

“She’s got your sister and you, apparently?”

“Yeah, I guess. But you know. Look. She’s dying.”

“Think about it, Daron. If death trumped everything else… would you show up if Roger called you and said hey, I’m dying? Would you be there at his bedside?”

“This isn’t like that,” I said, but it got me thinking about it.

“Isn’t it? What are Remo and Claire? She’s the one who slept with him and manipulated him and took out her frustrations on him but he’s the one who made it big after leaving her behind.”

The stucco ceiling was yellowed and cracked in spots. “You think he feels guilty about that?”

“You know he does. He brings up how guilty he feels about leaving you behind all the time.”

“Not anymore. I mean, he doesn’t feel guilty about it anymore.”

“Because he’s made it up to you. He never made it up to Claire.”

“And you think now he is?”

“He’s trying, anyway.” Ziggy yawned.

“I guess I see what you’re saying, and yeah, if I felt at all guilty about Roger, I probably would show up at his bedside if he called. But you know what? I don’t feel guilty about Roger. Roger lived his life however he lived it, and his success or failure or health isn’t actually my responsibility.”

Ziggy nodded. “Okay, now what about Janine?”

“What about her? You mean, do I feel guilty about her?”

“Do you feel she’s your responsibility?”

“Hm, that’s harder. I mean, she’s family…?”

“Family you hadn’t spoken to in years and who you seemed content to pretend didn’t exist up until two weeks ago.”

“True. I guess I don’t really feel responsible for her, not the way I do Courtney, anyway. Do you think it’s nuts that I’m putting Court through college?”

“No, not at all. Court is a different story. You and she are close.”

“Yeah, but what does that mean, exactly?”

“It means if she showed up spouting homophobic nonsense you’d never have considered paying for her school.”

“Well, that seems true. I guess what I’m saying is I feel like if I can help Janine out a little, I should, but I’m not about to go overboard.”

“What’s your definition of ‘a little’?”

I wasn’t sure why he was pushing so hard on this point, but I guess it was good to talk about. “We should get her a Christmas tree, that much I’m sure of,” I said. “After that, we’ll see.”


  • Mark Treble says:

    Ziggy’s close to the mark. Each member of the family is damaged in direct proportion to the time spent with Digger. That includes Remo, who’s not really a member of the family, but …

    Courtney and Daron are survivors of the same pestilence. IMO Daron benefits from Courtney as she does from him.

  • aeb says:

    I hope moving to the motel doesn’t mean we get less Landon. He’s my favourite part of the recent updates!

  • Aunt Muriel says:

    Yeah, I do kind of wonder what all unresolved issues Remo has with Claire.

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