In the morning I took the splint off before I got in the shower and decided not to put it back on when I got out. But I brought it and first aid tape with me when I went to rehearse, just in case. I kept expecting one of them to ask me how the thumb was doing, or if I felt better, but no one said a word about it at all, like maybe they were afraid of the answer.
I survived the set without too much pain. I could play some chords now, but a lot of the harder riffs were out and would remain that way. I stopped using the D-50 though. The thumb hurt more without the support of the splint, but I didn’t want to be wearing it in the show, and with three days left I had to know if I could.
The run-through was dry, mechanical, matter-of-fact. I unplugged and sat down.
“Okay, fine. We’re ready. I guess we can all go home and take a couple of days off.” I wanted to put the splint back on but I didn’t want to do it in front of them for some reason. There was a moment while the three of them looked at me as if I should say more. And then Ziggy spoke.
“It’s early, don’t you think? I wouldn’t mind going through some stuff.” He looked back at Bart and Chris. Bart shrugged and Chris thumped his kick drum, meaning, I guess, that he was ready for whatever. “I mean, we left off working on some things.”
I held onto the neck of the guitar in my good hand and stood up. “Of course we did.”
“So?” He spread his hands.
“So… I really think it’d be best to wait until…” I waved with my stiff hand. “… don’t you?”
“You can listen,” Ziggy said as he squatted down to rest his elbows on his knees. “And you can play the keys.”
“No.” I couldn’t come up with words for why this was wrong. The three of them, writing a song, without a guitar, without me…? “No,” I said again, pushing my hand into the air like I was trying to slow everything down. I put the guitar into its stand, while still trying to think of what I could say.
Bart slung his bass off his shoulder. “Daron’s right. We’ve gotta wait for him.” Chris gave a nod and put up his sticks, and then we were all doing our little packing up things, hitting switches, and there was at least a semblance that I was once again in charge. But I left the loft wondering when it was that I’d lost control, today, yesterday, the day I tried to hit him, maybe the night he’d written the opening lyric of Windfall, or if it had happened even longer ago than that.