Ziggy and I didn’t have sex for like a week. This is significant because I felt I was holding out for something but I wasn’t sure what, and he was obviously holding back, too, because when have you ever known Ziggy not to make a move in an entire week? I think we were both waiting until we felt like it was safe to go back in the water.
After a week, though, I began to feel a little like I owed him something. After all, he was good all week–better than good, he made me do my vocal exercises and didn’t once appear to be jealous about Star*Gaze stuff. Jealous isn’t the right word, except maybe it is. Anyway. Ziggy was on his best behavior for the entire week after the miscommunication/groupie incident, and we were writing a lot late at night and then getting in bed but not grabbing each other. Does that make sense? We were actually sleeping, which was important, and just getting all the other parts of being a working pair working.
But like I said, I started to feel a bit like I should test the water at the end of the week, and that turned out to be the day a phone call came from Janessa. We were having another quiet evening at the apartment and had just finished watching a movie. (I’d be lying if I told you I remembered which one. Let’s say Point Break just to get a Keanu Reeves reference in, but it probably wasn’t that.) Ziggy jumped up to answer the phone while I sat on the floor with a guitar but didn’t actually play it.
“Hey, Janessa, what’s up?” He was on the phone from the kitchen wall but the cord was long and he wandered most of the way back to me. “Oh, really?”
He chewed one thumbnail while she talked.
“Oh, Ness,” he said in sympathy, when she ran down. “I dunno what else to say.”
She went on again for a while.
“That’s really up to you,” he said then. “As you now know, that’s one decision I’ve got no stake in whatsoever.”
And then a little while later: “No idea when I’ll be in LA next, babe. I’ll let you know, though, okay?”
And then he hung up by pressing the button on the handset while looking right at me. “Test results in,” he said. “Not my baby.” And then he had to walk back through the kitchen area to hang the phone up.
When he came back he sat down next to me on the floor and shivered slightly. “Now that she knows it’s not mine, she’s trying to decide whether to keep it or not. I was worrying maybe I was being cold but, man, Janessa is stone cold arctic.”
“Jeez,” I said.
“Yeah. Like, if it was mine she’d keep it so I’d pay support, but since it isn’t, it’s not such a good investment. She didn’t come out and say it exactly like that but that was what she was implying.”
“Does she know who the father is, then?”
“I didn’t ask and she didn’t say.” Ziggy wrapped his arms around his knees. “You know they say people tend to go for partners who are like their parents? Girls want to marry a guy like daddy, guys end up with their mothers, et cetera?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“I kind of think Janessa is similar to my mother in a lot of ways.” He rocked back and forth slightly. “Jen, too, now that I think about it.”
His eyes were on the windows, not actually looking at anything, though. A few tears glittered on his lower lashes but did not fall.
I moved my foot until it touched his, my way of telling him I was there, and listening.
“Driven women, driven by the conviction that the burning flame of their essence, their beauty, should be shared with the world. But deep worries and not always good choices about how to do it.”
He sighed and chewed his lip. “It’s weird. I knew it couldn’t be my child but I was kind of psyching myself up for it. In case it couldn’t be proved one way or the other and she tried to make it stick.”
“Do you want kids?” Four little words, simple words. I hadn’t realized how it would sound when I asked, how much it would come out sounding like I was asking something about us, our future, our possible future.
He looked at me, asking me with a wrinkle of his brow what answer I wanted him to give. I just held my breath.
“I’d like to believe that the connection from biological genetic ties would be something magical and eternal and that any child I had would be a joy and boon every day of my life.” He drew a long, slow breath. “But I think that’s probably what my mother wanted to think.”
“Maybe that’s why she had you,” I said, and I didn’t mean it in a sappy way. “As a single parent.”
“I’m so afraid that I broke her heart.” He buried his face in the crook of his arm.
I watched his shoulders rise and fall as he cried silently in to his sleeve and I put my hand on that spot between his shoulderblades where I had put my hand enough times before that it felt familiar now. And I remembered another one of those dreams or visions or whatever it was that I’d had about Ziggy, a vision of a music video to a song that didn’t exist yet, an image of a pair of hands reaching around his back to tear free his white shirt to reveal a tattoo of angel wings. I felt goosebumps as I thought about the fact that Ziggy’s first tattoo was on his back at the top of his spine, as if I’d had a freaky precognition about it.
“You don’t know that you did,” I said, hoping it was consoling. “We’ve been over this, Zig.”
“I know. It’s just hard to get past it,” he said, breathing into his sleeve and then looking at me over his arm. No running eyeliner this time. He wasn’t wearing much and the little bit he had was holding up. His nose was a little runny though and I grabbed him a tissue from the box on the far side of the couch.
“I know why you got psyched up thinking about having to take on Janessa’s baby,” I said. “Because you’re looking for karma to hit you for what you think you did to your mom. But it doesn’t work that way, Zig.”
He blew his nose and barked once in a laugh. “Hah. I should know. I went to India to study all that, didn’t I? I should start chanting again. That was way better for my brain chemistry than any pill, and better for my clarity of thought than any talk therapy.”
“Really. Because it was meditation and singing at the same time, but it’s risk free singing, you don’t even have to think about it, you just go with it like you would if you were just dancing and swaying. Except it’s singing.” He waved his hands in the air. “Singing the names of the gods.”
“Yeah, you told me.” We’d talked about kirtan and hare krishnas and Indian classical music and western improvisational music at various points over the past year.
“If we ever go back into the studio together,” he said, holding my hand as he said it, “we should bring some of that in. Somehow.”
Then we sat there in silence for a while, him slipping into a meditative state–or at least breathing really deeply and regularly–while I ran through set lists in my mind. When enough time had passed, and I don’t know how I knew it was enough but I knew, I tugged on the hand that was still in mine. I pulled him to kiss me and we took the plunge into the deep end together.
(ctan and I are going to a concert tonight. We’re seeing The Cure. It’ll be our first time seeing them in 26 years. Wish us luck. -d)