SERIALIZED FICTION: “WHEN WE ALL WENT AWAY” Part 1
I just miss seeing her things lying around — shoes lying crooked along the wall, jeans on the floor, underwear turned inside-out and tangled in the sheets, earrings atop the nightstand, a toothbrush still wet with saliva, a cereal bowl in the sink, a purse on the sofa… A faint trace of perfume on her jacket… Her reflection in the mirror.
I keep reliving our last conversation, replaying it over and over, thinking there’s something I could have said or done to make her change her mind. Her absence has left an enormous void, once filled with the many moons of my imagination.
“Shut the hell up and play already!”
“Nobody gives a shit!”
“We came to hear some rock!”
“Jesus Christ, we can’t take it anymore!”
I quit talking and we all stood there in near silence for a few seconds before Maxwell counted us in. I pulled my guitar firmly against my chest, gave the volume knob a quarter turn, strummed the opening chords to the recently released “When We All Went Away” and watched as the sound tore a hole right through the place. Even with everything on my mind, all that I was going through, I was immediately locked in, transported somewhere else, and we played even better than we had two nights earlier, the day before Elizabeth pulled the plug.
“Dude, Jack, what was that many moons of your imagination shit? You hung us out to dry up there,” said Max.
You could have started the song if I was going on too long. That’s on you. Click the sticks next time.
“There won’t be many more next times if you don’t pull it together. I get that you’re in a bad spot right now but this can’t keep happening.”
It won’t, I said.
It didn’t. It took a few months, but I realized that girls come and go, relationships will too, but good relationships will last. They won’t end. As much as I thought everything between Elizabeth and me was perfect, once she was gone, I understood that we were both better off. Once I started feeling less shitty, I was still able to continue doing all the things I enjoyed, and eventually found myself happier without her than I was with her.
In December, a little more than three months after I almost put the crowd to sleep and nearly blew any chance of The Bumblebees blowing up, we had grown so much that we were able to land a headlining show at a much bigger place, a brand new venue in Brewerytown called The Fender, a retrofitted former auto showroom over on 33rd Street, just a few doors down from John Coltrane’s old house. Eight songs into a planned 18 song set, with 1,200 people stomping and swaying and singing along, as our momentum swelled, all at once the windows burst, the power cut out, and everything went black.
Part Two of “When We All Went Away” will be published in next week’s edition of The Spirit of Penn’s Garden. “Many Moons Of My Immagination” Illustration by Luke Cloran. •