“Wait for me by the stage door,” T. says. “I’m going in this way.”
He doesn’t give me time to tell him he is crazy. He already knows that. But he wants us to meet the star of the show, the reason we are in Columbus, the woman who wooed us both from the stage–kd lang.
I go around to the back and stand at the far edge of the crowd, wondering what it will be like when security throws T. out. The stage door opens and everyone looks. T. struts out, holds a Coke can over his head as if he is toasting the world, and shouts, “kd says hi!” Smiling and nodding he makes his way over to me. “Oh my god,” I say. He says, “Come on. Follow me.”
I protest. We’ll be caught. Arrested. He is crazy. We get to the side door. “Okay,” he says. “The stairs go up this way and down this way. Go down. If anybody asks, you’re just there to get a Coke from the machine.” He helpfully waves his Coke can at me. “Easy.”
Certain we are going to be arrested, I go in after him. Three steps in and a man meets us on the landing. “Who are you?” he asks. T. grins. “Hey, we’re with the press.”
I know my smile is a grimace, but the man ignores me anyway. “Yeah?” he says.
“It’s hot down there and my friend here needed some air,” T. says.
My smile hurts and my vision starts to go. I think the man gestures up the stairs. “Just stay off the stage,” he says. I follow T. though I can’t see more than a dot of light on the back of his shirt. This is what I do when I’m nervous. I go blind.
We reach the room with the Coke machine and three people are already there. I ignore them. I see only the red dot of the Coke machine. Someone says, “What are you doing here?” I walk forward. Someone says, “You’re not supposed to be here.” I keep walking. T. is talking fast. Air. Hot. Coke. Drink. Friend. “You have to leave.” I put my quarters in the slot. My fingers ache. I think I’ve dug moons into my palm with my fingernails. T. is still talking. Faster. Sure. Sure. “I said the two of you have to leave.” I push the big square button and the Coke thuds down the machine. I do not see the man talking. I know there is a woman sitting about four feet away from me but I can’t see her. There is only the red of the machine. I kneel down and get my Coke and I wonder why the angry man has not snatched it out of my hand.
Now I can see only the pull tab on the Coke can. I turn around. T. is still talking. I have forgotten all about kd lang. I’m thinking one thing–I really need this Coke. With the same measured steps I entered in, I walk to the door. Someone threatens to call security. The Coke can is cool and wet and I’m glad I have it. It will be the best Coke ever. I am not being arrested.
T. and I exit into the alley and though it is dark, I blink like T. has flipped on a light. “Did you see her?” T. asks.
“Who?” I say, wiping the condensation from the can onto my neck.
T. stares at me. I am the dumbest person he’s ever known. “kd. She was right there. Sitting next to the Coke machine.”
“What?” I look behind me as if this will change things. But this is me–breaking the rules and still not getting what I came for.
The comments from last night’s post have been floating in my head all day. In the middle of writing, I don’t know whether rules are broken or not. There is just that tiny bit of light to head towards. I look back over the words and don’t know how the story came out that way. I may have been there, but I missed it.
So, how do you feel when you’ve been writing and stop for a breath?