I was dazed. I walked to my car in the pouring rain, in the dark, from the twilight of the couch.
I called the venue-- I said, I'm driving from all the way, I don't know what the traffic will be like.. I mean, I'll be late, should I come? and the guy said, You know what I'll save you a ticket.
I was stupid late. The drive was terrifying in the rain. I showed up, wet, interrupting, people staring, asking for him, Eamonn. A young guy was playing beautiful flamenco guitar on the stage. I hung by the back and finally he came out. "Ah, you're the girl." He leaned over and handed me a ticket. Chemistry. Instant. Mutual. "Ah. Donnelly." He smiled. Sort of devilishly. "Put your name on the list next to the blond guy, Japanese guy, at the mixer. Three dollars." "I have to get cash... Is there an ATM?" "Across the street. You going in the rain?" "I have an umbrella." "Put your name on the list."
I walked through the crowd again, and through the rain, to the grocery store. I bought a fifth of cheap vodka and get cash back. I took a swill in the bathroom. I came back in and ordered a lemon tea. I sat sipping it next to the blond boy, watching, some weren't great. I kept scanning around for Eamonn. I said I had to pay for my ticket. I dumped a little vodka in my tea. My name was late on the list. The boy next to me said his wasn't on the list at all, and didn't make it last week, though he was there at 7 30, they sold out fast, but maybe he'd get to go up. Eamonn walked by and I got up and paid him. We exchanged a couple words, walked toward the back, hung there for a second talking about nothing. I went back to my seat. I drank a little. The engineer asked me if I wanted to go next though there were like ten names before mine... I was like, "Oh, I don't know, I'm.. not really ready..." "How about in two or three?" "Perfect, perfect," I said and I was trembling a little.
Then Eamonn was onstage with a guitar, and he was riveting, hard and soft, haunting... I got up and did my two songs without saying a word to the audience. I don't remember it, I remember making mistakes, I remember it sounding good, I remember the piano was out of tune and mid-playing I said into the mic, Hey this C is like somewhere between a B and a B-flat, to the engineer and nobody laughed or anything. They applauded. I walked off without saying anything. I sat back down. People started turning and saying, Really great, your voice is so beautiful, where can I hear more? and you sound like ____, you sound like ____, you sound like _____, I love her! And the promoter came up to me and gave me a featured set. And I said, oh, thanks, wow, thank you, and as Eamonn walked through the crowd he touched my arm and said, Haunting.
Later he asked if the drink helped. He said what do you have. He said give it here. The conversation got boozy. He's a professor, sociology and human sexuality. I'm studying sociology, next week start... He has an album out... I'm working on a new one... His ex wife is a musician too. I bet she is good. She's amazing. But she stifled me. She didn't inspire me... Mine too, my ex fiance, amazing. He inspired me though.
We ended up outside, in a corner, talking, ducking the rain, in my car, making out, in the venue in the dark after it closed, on a different couch.
There's something you should know about me. He'd said. I'll tell you later.
So after everything, he looked at me and said, I have a son, did I tell you? He's five. No, I said, that's cool, I bet he's amazing. He lives with my ex wife in Arizona, I have a stepson too. From her? I asked. From her, he said, and I still support them. Must be tough.. I said. We're finalizing our divorce... Oh boy, I grabbed my coat, I need to go home now. I joked. No, I know that takes forever, I said, it took my best friend Elena like four years... And you know that car you saw out there?
And I said, That's where you're living...
And he nodded, and I nodded, and then I shook my head, and I was shocked, and fuming, and perfectly still, staring ahead of me, jawdropped.
I... this is just, I can't. I said.
You're tired... You need to go home... I'll drive you...
How will you do that?
I'll drive you back to your car in the morning...
I know the area I know the good spots. He laughed. At me.
Addendum: He's a total jerk. Wow. I hate men. So much.