Monday, January 29, 2007

Autumn Sweater

"What time do you want to meet up? 9pm? Does that sound okay?"
My head tilted left, holding the phone between my shoulder and ear, my hands busy cutting the corners of one more little bucketboy picture. "Mmmmhmmm, Trav, that sounds fine. I think I'm going to take a nap before the show." My stomach growled, I closed my phone and tried to get the tape sticking to my fingers off of one, then another, transfering the little spare pieces in a Charlie Chaplin type of innocent confusion. What? What? Eyes darting from one hand to the other. I WAS tired. I rubbed my palms together, gathered up my coat, turned off the light and collapsed on the couch.

"What are you doin'?" My feet stretched across the arm of the stale, paisley couch. I kept my head underneath the warmth of my deep wool coat, pressing my ear closer to my phone. Gorjus's voice drawing me from slumber with a yawn. "Sleepin'. What are you doin'?"

"Shouldn't you be getting ready for the show? It's almost 8'o'clock."


Brooks and Rebec-co and I stood underneath the staircase to the left of the stage. Leaning up against the railing in the room full of so many surprisingly unfamiliar faces. Who were all of those people? Seriously? We'd become so used to the returning crowd at the Bottletree, the carousel of regular customers coming out to every show, we'd kind of decided that was it. It was a little jolting to be amongst this sea of strangers and it was also decidedly inspiring. They had come out for the show. Maybe they would come out for more.

I found myself completely taken in by Georgia's pale and quiet grimace of intent. I sketched her face again and again, trying to capture that perfect concentrated gaze as she set the pace through every song.

Halfway through the set, I walked down the steps to the floor and caught the eye of my friend Greg who was standing to the right of the stage. He motioned for me to come to him, and I turned and pushed and turned and slipped past the crowd to his side. I stood right under Ira's Compact Deluxe.

My eardrums were vibrating with fury. The boys next to me were wavering with every note that Ira played, the girls with their arms held tight to their chests. In my head I kept thinking that this moment was meant for something else, for someone else, not for me. It was too much, too much for me to hold. I was wrapped in the distortion, this mess of sound. I was taken to nights, roads, driving, in the dark, around Highland Avenue in the winter chill. I was turning up the road and up the stairs and into my old apartment, in the dark, in the aftermath of a storm. Jessica was there, candles and darkness, blankets and beer and hours of conversation.

When the song ended, I had to step back and look around. Travis had appeared at my side, smiling. The guy next to me was still dancing. The faces around us were fixed on Ira's crouching form. James approached the keys and with one quiet measure the journey began again.

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