(Thanks to donations in the Tip Jar topping $100 this week, voila, here’s a Saturday chapter! -ctan)
I’m trying to figure out how much to tell you about rehearsal. I mean, I think it’s kind of interesting but I’m pretty sure my descriptions of it probably aren’t. We settled into a routine where me, Bart, and Christian spent about six to eight hours a day working on stuff, about half of it prepping for the opening act set we were going to do and about half of it trying out rough arrangements I’d made of Ziggy’s songs.
That usually meant Chris and I worked out when I got up, we rehearsed all afternoon and early evening with a break in there for late lunch or early dinner depending how you wanted to count it. Then after we knocked off in the evening, that left time for us (sometimes all three of us, sometimes me and either Bart or Chris, sometimes with Courtney, sometimes with Colin…) to go catch a show in one of the clubs or a late movie.
And then after we’d come home, I’d go up to my room with my hair reeking of cigarette smoke and write music. I should say write “songs” except sometimes I wasn’t writing songs so much as I was writing ideas, musical ideas that didn’t always go with lyrics. I told everyone if I made too much noise to kick me to the basement but that only happened once, the night Courtney had an exam in the morning.
I also went with her and Chris to help with the grocery shopping one day. My sister seemed to feel it was her duty as a female relative to teach me how to feed myself, which I was only slightly indignant about mostly because she was right that all I’d buy on my own would be canned soup, tuna fish, and ramen noodles.
She bought a block of mozzarrella cheese and when I asked what it was for she said she thought it would be fun for us to make our own pizza and I had a kind of interior meltdown right there in the store. Interior because I didn’t actually cry or have a hysterical fit, but the flashback to the time I was living with Jonathan was so strong it was like I needed to grip the handle of the cart like I was afraid the tornado from the Wizard of Oz was going to suck me up and plop me back down in the past.
That was the wrong night to try to finally talk to Colin more reasonably about everything. And by “everything” I mean whatever it was that I was avoiding talking to him about, including why he wasn’t jumping at the chance to come on the road and why I had been a freak case the day after the riot.
Maybe it wasn’t unusual to be a freak case after something like that, though. I had no basis for comparison.
Instead, I waited until much later to try to tell Courtney what was up with me in the store. Instead of sitting in my room alone that night, I ended up in her room listening to music and drinking beer, and she told me more cool things she had learned that semester.
“When are you heading to the city?” she asked. We were sitting on her bed, which was my old futon, I think, but dressed up with her sheets and stuff I didn’t recognize it, and looking up at her ceiling, which was covered with a batik print cloth with the overhead light shining through it.
“Last day of May, first of June, something like that? The Friday before the third of June,” I said. “That’s what I told Zig.”
“How are you getting there?”
“I don’t know. Not sure if me and the guys are going together or separately or what. Why?”
“Because I could probably use a ride. I meant to tell you earlier, I got some news.”
“News?” I sat up a tiny bit, the bottle against my chest pointing upward like a rocket.
“Yeah. I’d applied for this internship at RCA Records and didn’t get it, but then they called back to say, actually wait, I did.”
“I got an internship at RCA. I’m supposed to start the first week of June, but I have to get there.” She sat all the way up and pulled out a notepad and wrote something for herself. “Speaking of which, do you have Jonathan’s number?”
“Yeah, of course. Why?”
“Because maybe he knows someone who wants to sublet for the summer? I need to find a place pretty quick.”
In that light, which was kind of dim, I could no longer see where she had reddened her hair. “Here, I’ll write it for you.” I wrote some stuff in her notebook. “There’s Sarah’s number, too, but she’s on the road already, I think. Hm, which makes me wonder who’s house-sitting for her. But anyway. Oh, and Matthew. And here, take Barrett’s number, too. And you know Carynne’s looking for a place there, too.”
“Yeah, but her lease runs through September first so she might not go right away.” Court took the notebook back and tapped the pencil against it. “Do you think Jonathan would let me crash with him while I look, if necessary?”
I must have boggled at her or gone into a flashback or something because the next thing I knew she had gently removed the beer bottle from my fingers and was snapping hers in front of my eyes. “Earth to Daron.”
“It would be really weird if you lived with Jonathan.”
“Because he’s an ex of yours? That makes him family though, at least in my book.”
“We’re still friends, that’s not a problem, it’s just…” I blinked. “Ironic is not the right word. Weird. Especially since I had a kind of episode today in the store thinking about him.”
“Oh, is that what that was?”
Yeah, so I ended up rehashing the whole story of what went wrong between me and Jonathan, including the bit about how making pizza was kind of nice but the rest of his expectations about me being domestic had flipped me out. I won’t rehash the rehash here, you know how it went. End how it ended. The whole way you get your hooks into each other in a relationship and even when you part with the best of intentions, the hooks rip you up on the way out.
I avoided Colin for two whole days after that. But when you live with someone there’s only so much you can do to avoid each other.
And one night I walked home after seeing a show at Bunratty’s with Bart, during which I probably drank too much, but that meant when I got home my inhibitions were down, and also that it seemed logical to me that if my problem was with Colin instead of avoiding him I should throw myself at him. That Colin was shirtless in the living room using the pullup bar also had something to do with that.
I’ve started to cry during sex before, where I didn’t even realize it, and this time was like that, too, where the intensity of it all and the way I leave my head when it’s like that means I no longer had anything holding back my emotions and it all comes out. My face was being mashed into a pillow by the force of Colin fucking me from behind, which was something we both liked, so I don’t think he noticed me crying right away either.
I mean, it wasn’t like I was crying hard, right?
When he did notice, though, he wrapped his arms around me and said, “Should I stop?”
It took me a few seconds to get words engaged, but I eventually said, “No, because I’ll cry harder if you stop.”
“Um, let’s change positions, though?” I decided maybe I was having a Roger flashback or something. Which I wasn’t, but I was trying to come up with a logical explanation. Or at least a plausible one.
We switched to lying side by side, which takes a certain anatomical type to make work, but Colin had that. Also gave him easy access to getting me off. Which he did.
When we were done he spooned me and asked, “Okay, what’s up?”
“I’m feeling this like bottomless pit of terror and I don’t know why.”
“Oh. That’s…rough.” He kissed me on the ear. “Have you talked to Ziggy lately?”
“Not for very long, just a check in here and there. Things are fine between me and Ziggy.”
“Okay.” He kissed me again. “How are things between you and me, then?”
“Oh god.” I squeezed my eyes shut. “Yeah. There it is.”
“There what is?”
“The terror. I think I’m afraid of…okay, this is going to sound really stupid, but bear with me.”
He nodded with his nose in my hair.
“I’m afraid that if you and I break up, or when you and I break up, and I know break up is the wrong word because we’re not that kind of a relationship but I said bear with me, that when we break up it’s going to really wreck both of us and that’s really going to suck in the most horrible ways.”
He continued to nod. “Seems a reasonable fear, if a bit of an abstract one, given that I don’t think we’re actually on the verge of changing anything. Unless you know something I don’t.”
I suddenly realized that I did know something that Colin didn’t. “Yeah. Ziggy keeps talking about monogamy like he thinks it’s something I want, but I kind of wonder if deep down it’s something he wants.”
“Hm. That does sound like the way his mind works. But is it something you want?”
“I don’t think so. I think I’m afraid of relationships generally so handling multiple ones only ups the difficulty, but you and I have always been on the level with each other, you know?” I wormed around until I was facing him. “I guess what I don’t know, still, is bring friends, lovers, whatever, going to just mean the longer that goes on, the bigger the time bomb will be when it does end?”
“Okay, but does a friendship have to end?”
That was a good point. I had to think about it for a bit to let it sink in. “I guess it feels to me like somehow we’ve transitioned from just being friends with benefits to something more relationship-like and I don’t even know exactly why or when or how. Maybe it’s just how I feel.”
“And that’s how,” Colin said. “Since feelings are what define a relationship.”
“Oh. You mean…since I feel more like we’re lovers than friends, therefore we are.”
“So it’s my fault then.”
“Fault is kind of a strong word.” Colin twined one leg around mine. “Unless you’re really regretting it.”
“I’m not regretting it at all right now, I’m just afraid that I’m going to. Because love relationships have arcs. They end.”
“When the sex and/or the love affair end, though, the friendship doesn’t have to.”
“No, I know that. Jonathan and I are still friends, for that matter. But we left each other with a lot of scars and it absolutely sucked pulling apart from each other.”
“Ah. And you’re afraid that’s what’s going to happen with you and me?”
“Yeah. That’s what I’ve been avoiding since the morning of the riot, I guess.” I let out a long breath. “I guess it’s normal to worry about hurting people you care for a lot, though.”
Colin chuckled. “Yes, I’d say that’s normal. Now tell me honestly, do you think you’ll feel better or even more anxious about this if I come with you to South America.”
I opened my mouth to tell him of course it would be better if he came with us, but then I paused to think about it to make sure it was true. And I realized it didn’t seem so simple.
He kissed me on the temple and said, “You don’t have to answer now.”
So I didn’t. We got up and brushed our teeth then, and washed up a bit, and then together we got in my bed because it had no wet spots and because I wanted to sleep there. So we did.
(Site news: I’m working on drafting the Kickstarter info so that it can launch on March 22, but what with writing all these bonus chapters and such I’m a bit behind right now! But I’ll catch up soon, I think! Meanwhile on this coming Monday March 7th SPANISH NIGHTS is going to be on sale for 99 cents for about 48 hours. So if you have friends you think would enjoy it, Monday and Tuesday of this coming week would be a great time to grab it! -ctan)
(Another song from 1991…)