Sunday Night: I don’t have a style



I fumbled with my key in the door, tears already spilling over from the stress of the day. And now I would face Chris. It all seemed too much. As I entered, I saw him with his back to me, lounging on the sofa, eating.

“So, you’re finally home!” he called out. When I didn’t answer, he turned, and realized I was just leaning against the door, blubbering. Quickly but carefully, he muted the volume, put down the remote, and placed his food tray on the table beside him. Only then did he jump up and cross the room to take me in his arms.

“You’re not still upset about this morning?” he asked into my hair. It took me a few seconds to even figure out what he meant, after the day I’d had.

“What? No…I don’t know. Maybe you were right.”

“Things didn’t go so well? What happened?”

“I suck, is what happened. I really, really suck. And then I had no bus fare, and I had to ride home with Rekha, and I lost her ring – oh, god!”

“Shh, hold on, slow down. First of all, you don’t suck. You just don’t know this music. It’s not even your style…”

I felt like arguing with anyone.

“I don’t have a style!”

“Like hell you don’t!” he laughed at me, despite his sympathy.

“Yeah, so what’s my style, then?”

He didn’t hesitate, he’d thought about this.

“Classical meets hard rock. Trix and Traces is basically electro-pop with a little everything-and-the-kitchen-sink thrown in. It’s no wonder if you find it challenging to play around all the electronics.”

“The electronics haven’t even arrived yet, Trix says ‘Ms. Myrtle’s’ computer will fix everything Wednesday. She made us play the whole playlist through! The playlist I didn’t even see till today, songs I’ve only heard once if ever.”

I found myself being emphatic and pouty in a way that I knew Chris detested, but he handled it surprisingly well, keeping up with the encouraging sounds and leading me gently to sink into his arms on the sofa. To his credit, he didn’t unmute the TV, though he didn’t turn it off, either, and I suspected he was keeping an eye on the captions. I sat up, and shook the thick playlist in his face.

“Look at this thing! It’s like a book, full of instructions but hardly any sheet music. I don’t know…”

Chris took the playlist and began thumbing through it.

“Wow, this is something, alright!” he agreed.

“Anyway, I can take criticism. I can…really! Don’t give me that face! I just…I wanted to be better. They’re expecting Jake Purnell’s child wonder and I’m just…me.”

Chris turned his full attention on me with a frown. “You’re not ‘just’ anything. You’re amazing. Don’t let them get to you. You don’t have to play there at all, you know.”

“I said I would…”

“Sweetheart,” he spoke gently and with care, “you just got here. You’ve known Trix for less than two days. You don’t owe her anything. If it didn’t go well, she’s bound to see that, too. Maybe she’ll even be relieved when you bow out.”

He had spoken my deepest fear out loud, like it was supposed to be comforting.

“Do you think that? That she wants me to quit?”

“I’m not saying that. I’m just saying, this seems really stressful for you, and I don’t see why you’d put yourself through it. Tomorrow morning Tim will set you up with some paying work, and we can just settle in, you know? We’ll go to the show on Friday and have a great time in the audience.” It seemed like, to him, this perfect solution closed the issue. I felt defeated.

“Maybe you’re right. I don’t know. I’m so tired right now.”

Chris smiled, assuming I saw things his way, like a good girl.

“Let’s get ready for bed. Wait, what were you saying about Rekha?”

“Oh, shit, that too. Rekha left her rings here, then she asked me to bring them to Timeless. I did, but one of the rings must have slipped out of my case or something, I don’t know. It’s gone. I feel…awful, and stupid, and ashamed, and…”

“Hey!” exclaimed Chris softly. “You’re so hard on yourself all the time! You know that? I’m sure she has insurance. Look, I’ll run us a bath, okay? We’ll relax, get some sleep, start fresh tomorrow.”

“I guess,” I semi-capitulated.

That bath was one of the only good things about the apartment, larger than normal though not quite a soaker-tub. It almost fit us both, though Chris had to leave one leg hanging over the edge to fit me with my back tucked into his chest, and I was only partially covered in warm water. He sighed back, content.

“See, sweetie, this is what calm feels like,” he sighed. As the day flashed through my head, I felt anything but calm.


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