9. Looking Ahead (Too Much)
This will be a quick one today; I wrote a tome on Monday relaying the entire Barry Gibb saga and it left me a bit behind on other things. I’ve spent most of the day today tracking a new original demo at my apartment for the very first time, which has been eye-opening and incredibly, self-pityingly frustrating.
But my real reason for writing is C, or my better half. He has now forbidden me to use his full name in my posts, and asked that I go back through these first 8 Reasons and change his name to either “C”, or “Cannonball Mckrakken”. I have chosen the former. He will absolutely hate what I’m going to write about today, but I have to. At the very least, I need to exercise these feelings out of my brain.
C and I met three years ago, and he was working for Gibson International for the entire time. I say “was”, because he lost his job almost two months ago. Gibson (the guitar company) has been on a downward spiral for the past decade, owing to the terrible leadership of its deluded CEO. C seems much happier to not have the stress of an oppressive environment resting on his shoulders night and day, but this change comes with a very big caveat: C is French, so if he doesn’t have a job allowing for a work VISA here in the US, he’s just a tourist that can only stay for holidays three months at a time. We’re not able to get married at the moment (it’s complicated and legal; all you need to know is that we both want to), so a Green Card isn’t on the table yet. On June 9th when his severance ends (or sooner), he will have to leave the US. And I can’t go with him.
I’ve got my show five nights a week at Tartufo, as well as a half-dozen piano students and a successful piano tuning business. Not to mention the biggest reason: that I have the best chance of making something happen with my songwriting career here in Nashville, where I’ve been mingling and schmoozing for nearly 10 years, and would be making a big mistake by moving somewhere new, starting from scratch. It has to be now.
C is of course behind all of this; it was practically his idea more than mine. He wants me to succeed, because, as he puts it, I will be miserable for the rest of my life if I don’t pursue my dreams to farthest reaches that they can go.
We were talking about it yesterday following one of my random spazz-outs when reality washes over me again. He had had another interview, and we were speculating about what will be coming next (I won’t go into too much more detail than that, I don’t want to jinx it). We walked to lunch on Belmont Avenue in the light rain; It’s a gloomy, chilly take on spring in Nashville this year. Sitting and eating our hot meal, he could tell I was still thinking about our conversation.
“Back during the Vietnam war in America, men were called up for the draft, and they would’ve been gone for 2, 3 solid years.” He said, eyeing me. I nodded. This wasn’t anything nearing that level of anxiety; or the painful longing people felt during the Vietnam War or other wars with a draft. Called up to fight for your country even though you might not want to. At least C and I will have Skype, email, WhatsApp and other things to stay connected, even if the time change is difficult (7 hours ahead if he moves back to Europe). And the faster I make my career something that I can travel with, writing remotely and having the resources to fly to see him, the faster we can plan our reunion.
The last thing I want to say, the hardest thing too, is about this morning. It wasn’t out of the ordinary. In fact, it’s been happening more and more over these past two months. Before, I never thought I’d be away from him again. One day soon, I’ll tell you about when he was stuck overseas two years ago for three months while awaiting his American work Visa, and I flew to live with him in Amsterdam for the third month. That’ll be another time. For these three years that we’ve been together, knowing that we’re both committed to getting married and practically are in our minds (minus the legal status) I never thought we’d be separated. For so long I lived alone in Nashville: I was fine, but those times I came home from tour to my empty house, my buzzing refrigerator, and stale, dusty silence feel like a velvet painting of a teary-eyed clown to me now. I feel warm next to this man, when I hear the shower water running, or he sneaks up behind me for a hug as I make my morning coffee.
I can’t seem to get out of bed on time anymore. At first I thought it was the cold weather outside, and the icy floor I would find when I stood up. But the spring is awakening, slowly. And I’m not. I roll over, and put my cheek against his back, like a hot water bottle underneath my head, and hear him breathing. When he has to leave, I will keep pushing, even harder and with more purpose, so we can live together again. It has to be this way, because of the lives we both want and need; we’ll have to be apart for just a short time. Yet as these mornings are ticking away, I find myself holding on tighter, wishing that they would never end. They will, but only for now.