I forge into the cold of the winter night, tender notes swirling around with
the blizzard snow. They dig into my soul like tiny hooks, nostalgic rhythms
pulling me as the whispered echoes of my own words vibrate through the air. I pull
my muffs on desperately. I hope to force you from my ears. But these were made
for warmth, not blocking out noise…that passionate beat still courses through
me and my only recourse is to keep pushing into the dark.
I must have walked for hours, but my phone insists it’s only been a few
minutes. Hateful memories pulse through my soul like unwelcome guests, trailing
mud and kicking up dirt. Their cold-hearted comments on my current state
make me realize how unprepared I am for company. There’s a mess where my mind
should be and those crystalized moments of joy twist against me to make sure I
I’ve been walking for thirty minutes now and your song has only gotten louder.
It’s stuck now, I can’t run. The poetry pounds in my head to the rhythm and
oh…it is so….you. You have a gift for filling the air with every piece of your
soul, communicating every piece of yourself into the music. Every piece you
ever wrote is absolutely filled with your personality. Some say that’s a sign
of a true artist…
It’s such a shame you’re a piece of shit.
I eventually settle in a café. The sun’s setting, but this place is showing no
sign of closing soon. I’m willing to guess it gets more business after dark,
source of warmth in the cold during a nightlife city. I order a coffee and find
a nice corner to sit in. My fingertips tap on wood, in tune to a song that
isn’t playing. Eventually, I reach into my purse. I pull out the glossed
ticket, its corners frayed slightly from being shoved nonchalantly in the bag
before, and simply stare…
…you changed the name. I
don’t know why, but that wrenches my heart more than seeing you again did. It’s
the same group, why would you change it? Was it so I wouldn’t recognize it?
Were you hoping I’d show up at your concert? Maybe you hoped you’d see me in
the crowd like last time, get another chance? As if. I know you too well to
want to know you.
I settle into my seat as my coffee is delivered. Two fifty. I hand the money
over and stare out the window…and there you are. No…wait. That’s Dinah. I smile
awkwardly, beckoning her in. In my defense, she looks a lot like you. With that
dark brown silky hair, those gentle silver eyes…it’s easy to make the mistake.
She slides inside, and orders herself a cup of chamomile tea. Well, there’s a
definite difference. You’d not know what a chamomile even was…let alone ever
order it. I remember once we went to a teashop and when you were asked what
kind of tea you wanted…you were shocked to discover there was more than just
‘tea’. I haven’t laughed like that in a long time.
“Are you okay, Susan?” she asks, breaking me from that memory. That cruel
reflection of the past. “You ran out of there like you were afraid the band had
There is no way to respond to that, really. Dinah’s too sweet to trouble with
my problems. To worry with the fact I was scared of more than being shot.
“Sorry. Had another…flashback.” I say softly, more a coarse whisper than words.
Christ, this was hard to talk about. Fortunately, I didn’t need to say much
more. Her eyes melt into affectionate concern the way you used to whenever your
guitar was damaged.
She scoots her chair around the table and wraps her arms around me
as she coos, “Gosh, I’m so sorry. Sweetheart. Was it the music? I know metal
can be a bit-”
“The band.” I say softly, cutting her off and resting my head on
her shoulder, “Music was fine. Just…that singer is…” and then I cut myself off.
I don’t want to say it. I can’t even think it, “She’s…the one.”
Dinah tilts her head, and puts a little kiss on my forehead, “The one? Hun what
do you mean?”
How do I tell her? How can I admit what you did without confessing all those
memories were ruined? Eventually I form the words, “She’s…the reason I have
I watch grim understanding cross my darling’s face as the words reach her, and
then watch it shift into a brief flare of anger. For a horrifying beat I think
she’s angry with me…and then she pulls me tighter to her chest. The embrace
is fierce, protective, like she’s trying to use her body to shelter me from the
world. It feels safe.
Dinah pets my hair as I tremble, and
slowly…that wretched song quiets.