We stayed until nearly nine that night, which for the dancers was a very long day and for my hand was the longest day yet. At the end of it, though, after the dancers had been sent home, Mickey and I and Ziggy sat down and agreed we didn’t have to cut anything.
That was, of course, because the third segment of the show–the part with just me and Ziggy–was assumed to be an automatic shoe-in. Neither Ziggy nor I clued Mickey in that we really hadn’t rehearsed. (I didn’t count one dead-of-night rendition of “Candlelight” as a rehearsal.) We had a couple more days before a true, full run-through. Assuming we did three songs acoustic, maybe we could work on one each day starting tomorrow and be okay. Maybe.
But there was still the problem of Star*Gaze. Bart and Chris stuck to me like flies as the rest of the band got packed up and called it a night.
And then there was one of the most awkward moments Ziggy and I had to date. When the only people left were me and Bart and Chris and him it felt weird, first of all, because I often felt weird when all four of us were together, I guess the way some people feel weird about sitting next to their ex. It always felt like when it was just the four of us like we might be about to cross over into a parallel universe where Moondog 3 had never broken up. Maybe it was just me.
So it already felt weird. But I figured any second Ziggy would leave and then we could get started.
It wasn’t until after Bart tuned his cello that it became obvious Ziggy didn’t intend to leave.
I had taken my prescribed one ounce of alcohol to prolong the effect of the Vitamin F, so I felt very well insulated from emotional jolts right then. But even still, I could feel this.
I took his hands in mine and pulled them together , cradling them under my chin, on my breastbone. “Ziggy.”
“Daron?” He seemed to sense something was up.
“I don’t know how to say this, but… you have to leave.”
In the next half-second I watched his eyes and face go through a series of arguments and emotions until he just looked like he was hiding how hurt he was.
Shit. I almost opened my mouth to say, “It’s not that I don’t love you…” But that would have been patently ridiculous. So ridiculous it might seem like a farce–or like the relationship was a farce. I tried this instead: “We won’t stay too late, I promise. I’ll be home before midnight.”
His mouth hung open slightly, his tongue touching the edge of his teeth as he contemplated his answer. “You’re kicking me out of my own rehearsal space.”
I got defensive, like I often do when I know I’ve hurt him. When I’m defensive I often sound sarcastic and insincere. “Would it be better if we went somewhere else? Because we can, if that’d make you feel better.”
He made a disgusted sound, because of course that wouldn’t make him feel better. “I guess I…better page Tony.”
“Yeah. I’m sorry, Zig.” I tried to kiss him.
But he was out of my reach. He was already walking away from me, waving a dismissive hand. “I understand. I completely understand.”
But I don’t think he did understand. I knew maybe he felt excluded, but I didn’t feel he had a right to. But truly, I’m sure Ziggy felt he was being excluded because he was Ziggy. Actually, it was that I just knew, deep down, that me and Chris and Bart needed to be alone. I knew we needed no outside ears on what we were about to do, without knowing exactly what we were about to do.