I woke up early the day of the show, I don’t know why. Maybe because sitting up and washing my hair and brushing my teeth were a relief after I’d spent most of the night in anxious half-sleep, turning over to find my eyes open to the watery orange square on the wall where the street light shone. Maybe I could get a nap after sound check.
The kitchen clock said 8:05 and I could hear morning traffic going down the main street off of ours. The clock hummed as the second hand swept around. The toaster rang -ding!- and I opened the silverware drawer to a jangling splash of sound and fished a fork out of the pile there. I dug half the English muffin out of the toaster and ate it off the fork, dry, while my mind tried to snatch at whatever it was that was cataloging these sounds, digesting them and weaving them into something that I wouldn’t be able to really hear until I had a vibrating string under my fingers. Man, I was tired.
I put jam on the other half of the muffin and then wandered around the first floor of the house. The living room was stacked with half a dozen rental tapes, all overdue for return. Think about buying a house, Digger had said. Yeah, and furniture, I added, as I sat in one of the soft-springed armchairs we had trash picked off the street or bought for $10 at the Salvation Army. I could no longer remember which were which.
I couldn’t go downstairs to practice, I couldn’t go back to my room to practice both because of the thumb and the noise, I had nowhere to go, no one to see. What do normal people do with themselves when they have nothing to do? I wondered. Is this why people buy albums, go to concerts, watch MTV, because it sucks so bad to just sit here doing nothing?
What are the things that other people avoid thinking about? Work, other men’s wives, the time they screwed up in front of their boss, prostate cancer?
Ziggy and I hadn’t spoken to each other in days. I mean, we’d said things: hand me that there, what time is it? like co-workers or some shit like that. Well, isn’t that what we were, really? What did I expect, he was an employee. Nothing said we had to be friends or anything more. My brain was going in two directions. On the one side thinking, but look at what you’ve become, you’ve become way beyond friends, and the other side thinking the opposite, like maybe we were further apart than ever.
Stupid, stupid… this is what they call wanting to have your cake and eat it, too. You want everyone to be friends, to be a family, to be a team, but you also want them all to stay out of it, leave you alone, not interfere, and do what you say. I told Bart once I didn’t want to meet a bandmate through classified ads any more than I’d want to meet the person I marry. And Ziggy. I wanted to, what, sleep with him but not be lovers? It hurt me when he told me he didn’t love me, and yet I’m the one who had to be forced to say the same to him. I was rubbing my eyes furiously like I was desperate to wake up from this nightmare. Shit, man, I’m just a fucking kid, I should be worrying about my senior recital and whether or not I have enough composition credits to graduate, right?
The phone rang and I jumped up to answer it before the machine picked up. “Hello?”
“Oh shit, Daron, is that you? I didn’t mean to wake you, I thought I’d get your machine.”
It took me a second to recognize Carynne’s voice. “No, I’m up.”
“I just wanted to tell you I’ll see you tonight. I’ve been working days at the Mike Fink office.”
“You’re kidding.” Mike Fink was the local promoter who handled most of the Orpheum shows. His logo was the too-apropos-to-be-believed grinning weasel in sunglasses.
“No, really,” she insisted. “It’s good to know this side of booking, too.”
“I bet. Look, do you think we’ll get a chance to talk? If not tonight, this week sometime?”
“About setting up a…” she suddenly broke off and said something with her hand over the receiver to someone else. “Yes, definitely,” she said louder, then whispered, “gotta go. Love ya, ciao.”
Yeah, the tour, right. Foremost in my mind. I hung up the phone and decided to do my laundry. At least I’d have something to occupy myself with and something clean to wear tonight.