I threw myself down in the back of the bus pissed off at Dave for chastising me. Who the hell does he think he is? Why can’t I let out some steam once in a while? I have been the good guy my entire life. I just want to have fun. I took a long swig of my beer and contemplated all the fun I have been having. Drunk every night, a random blow job here and there and then finally that chick on the bus tonight…. I’ve been playing the guitar since I was twelve. I deserve this life. So, why am I so miserable?
I reached into my pocket and pulled out the silver ring hidden deep inside. As I slowly rubbed it I thought about how much happier I was before. I love Odette and Zoe and our lives together. I don’t care if we live in Athens or Florida or Oklahoma City. I want my life back. I don’t like being an asshole. What the hell have I been doing?
I reached between the crack of the bus seat and fished around for my iPhone. I think I have punished everyone long enough. I only hope I am not too late. As I texted a quick message to Odette to let her know I loved her, I thought about all the texts and emails and messages she had been leaving the past couple of months and I couldn’t help but wonder if she finally moved on. I haven’t heard from her in a while. She didn’t even try to talk to me anymore when I would call for Zoe. Has this gone too far? I wonder if we are too far gone to find our way back home. Do I even have a home anymore?
I grabbed my sack knocked on the bathroom door and told Dave that I needed to get inside to have a shower. He opened it and stumbled past me half asleep saying, “I can smell that girl’s perfume on you”. As the hot water hit my back, I thought about what he had just said. Gross. I actually finally slept with someone besides Odette and no amount of soap or scalding water could wash that away. I thought about how much I may have lost. Was it worth it? Was this all about my stupid pride?
My leg was shaking as I clumsily tried to dry off in the tight space of the bus-bathroom. I wrapped the towel tightly around my waist and wiped my hand violently across the steamy mirror to face myself and spotted my iPhone lying on the counter. I knew immediately that I really needed to face Odette. It was time we talked and it was 10:00 pm in Florida.
“Hi. Zoe is already in bed” her voice was lifeless and she sounded sleepy. I knew I needed to say something amazing in order to keep her on the line but I croaked out “I miss your pancakes” instead. Fuck. Why did I just say that? Cringing, I tried to back pedal but generous as ever she merely replied “Me too” and that was enough to get us started. I sat down on the cold and somewhat dirty floor, cradling the phone to my ear as we talked. I told her all about the road, my horrible indiscretions and long nights and she told me about Evan and how she was disappointed with Astrid for not coming home and how much she missed Meliah at Christmas. There were moments of long silences when I feared the conversation was over, but then we would start up again just like we had never been apart. Dave banged on the door a few times and even tried to open it, but I just put my finger in my ear to shut him out and listen closer to Odette. What felt like minutes must have actually been hours because Dave was pounding at the door again, and this time he was frantically telling someone that they needed to bust it open because I obviously had drowned in the tub. “Odette, please let me come back home” I whispered; scared to death to hear her answer but frightened more of not knowing.
“Chris, we will always be one another’s home”.
I started to sob into my sleeve just as Dave and the club manager kicked in the door with the paramedics close behind. “Shit, Odette. I have to call you back”.