Sunday, March 8, 2009

Shells From The Beach - Chapter 5


“Sailing round the world in a dirty gondola

oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!”

-Bob Dylan

So the days turned into weeks and the and one day I woke up and it was June 2nd. I was scheduled to go on another tour starting June 3rd in Boston and then continuing on out west until Portland Oregon. The goal was to just have a fun summer out on the road by myself and hopefully make enough money to be able to afford a plane ticket back east at the end of it all. But with my half eaten wife buried in the ground the tour was looking doubtful. I had been obsessing about it in the weeks since the funeral, begging my parents to take Addie for the summer, but they insisted that she needed her dad right now. I knew they were right, but damn it, it took me three weeks of pleading phone calls to book these shows. I knew she needed her dad. I just didn’t know how.

It was a warm, wet Friday as I loaded up the old Chevy conversion van with the essentials I would need for the tour. It wasn’t quite raining but a mist hung silently in the air, tiny drops of moisture stubbornly refusing to fall to the ground. I placed the guitars and amps in first followed by the enormous amount of snack foods we would be living off for the next two months in next. These were procured the night before at the wholesale market where you could buy things like 100 individually wrapped bags of chips and a five gallon drum of ketchup. Finally the luggage went in. It was fine Italian luggage we had received as a wedding gift and looked out of place in the back of that old rusty van, but it was the one present we received that day that I had always cherished. It spoke of world travel and of endless journeys together. It was easily the nicest thing we owned.

Addie had given me no opinion on the tour. Over the past month since her mother’s death she had sat back quietly watching my reaction to gauge what her reaction should be. I had no reaction, so the two of us went on toward the warmth of impending summer like not much had happened. We operated like two robots whose human master goes out for milk one day and never comes back, mechanically going through the preprogrammed routines of our existence. If she was happy about me dismissing her from school two weeks early to join me on tour she never let on. Conversely, if she was upset about leaving her friends for the summer she never hinted toward that either. I had just told her two nights before that we were going and that she should pack her clothes and she obliged without comment.

I closed the front door to my house and left without bothering to lock it. Let the wolves have at it, I thought, and Addie and I climbed into the van. I started the engine and we both stared straight ahead into the mist. We were both somewhere else far, far away. I wondered if where our emotional selves were, where ever that was, if we were as far apart from each as we were in this tiny van. I didn’t really want to go on this tour. I didn’t want to get on stage and sing for lousy college kids or middle aged hipsters at coffee shops. I didn’t want to be famous, not anymore. I didn’t want any of it. I just wanted to get away from this house, this city, this life, as fast as I could.

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