164 WALK AWAY

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WALK AWAY

I lay for a long time on top of the bedspread with my clothes on, thinking, thinking. I couldn’t even remember half of what we had just said, which was unusual. Usually I could play back a traumatic exchange like a movie. In fact, I was usually helpless to stop the endless replays. But it was all fucked up now. I wasn’t even sure which of us had said what. Meltdown. All I remembered was that I’d given him an ultimatum. Stop the bullshit or I’m pulling the plug.

I thought about the little truce we’d had, keeping out of each other’s way, like that was supposed to restore my confidence and get me playing better. I had been playing better, acting better… what was going to happen now?

As for how I felt about him, though, that seemed clear for the first time in a long time. I was no longer obsessed with him. I didn’t even feel much like friends at that moment.

I was still not sleeping. I got undressed, brushed my teeth, washed my face. I got into the bed. The sound of nighttime hotel seemed loud, the faraway roar of air conditioning, a radio or television on MTV in the next room. That was probably Bart.

I got back into my clothes and knocked on the connecting door to Bart’s room. He opened it. “What’s up?”

“Me. Can’t sleep. Oh, man.”

He opened the door wider and I went in. Bart got back under the covers where he’d been sitting with all his clothes on. His socks didn’t match, one black, one blue. I went to the window. This one faced away from the Quarter, onto a wide street with other hotels across the way. “Ziggy and I had a fight.”

“I know, I could hear you were yelling, though I couldn’t make out the words.” He muted the TV and looked at me. “So, what’s the update?”

I sat down in the chair by the window so I faced him. “It’s pretty much a state of mutual angst right now. I don’t think we even really like each other very much anymore. I’m not sure what to do now.”

Bart shrugged. He looked like he needed his hair cut. “What’s to do? Is there some kind of decision to make here?”

“Not that I can see.”

“I mean, is it a question of whether we stay together? Or finish the tour? Or is it a case of you trying to figure out how to make up with him? Or with each other enough to keep going?”

“I can’t even answer that.” My hands formed the fists they’d been trying to all night.

“Maybe getting some sleep would be the best thing. I’m sure it won’t look so bad in the morning.”

“I tried sleeping.”

“Well, at least quit thinking about it. Lie down over here.” He unmuted the TV and I found myself watching/listening to Kate Bush trilling through some chastely sexy melody. Late night was really the only time MTV was watchable these days, the only time anything interesting came on. “‘Why The Sky’ was just on a little while ago,” he said as I settled onto the bed next to him. “Looks like it’ll be in the top twenty countdown of the week again.”

“No kidding.”

“You should give Mills a call in the morning and see if he knows anything about it.”

“I should call Digger, too. I haven’t talked to him since he went back to New York.”

And then we didn’t say much other than side comments about videos and commercials that came on. My jaw relaxed and my fists unclenched and my burn settled to a simmer. Eventually I was too tired to be angry anymore and luckily I fell asleep before my tiredness could become depression.

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