Chris and I made it. He and the band wrote their next album that year with secret help from me. Chris would play some chords while I scribbled lyrics and hummed out melodies in our bedroom. Then he would take my ideas and his harmonies over to the guys. I had to help with writing, if only to move things along time-wise with the band. There was a 6-month deadline for creating the album and we needed that album money to keep up with payments for the extravagant new beach house. Chris stayed there with the band, and I stayed 4 houses down the beach at Luna’s beautiful little beach shack, just us 3 girls. After the album came out we made enough that Chris and I and Zoe could have our own tour bus separate from the rest of the band, and it became the family bus tour.
So basically the past 15 years have been made up of touring and writing songs. Chris, Zoe and I are inseparable. We take excursions to go camping in Yosemite or the Redwoods, and write songs by the campfire. I homeschooled Zoe until she was about 12 Then she needed more structure and did virtual school on the bus. Now she does virtual college classes. She has online friends that are also on the autism spectrum and they do role play stories together and write Anime fan fiction. We plan tours around CosPlay conventions so she can meet up with them throughout the year.
Our home base is St. Augustine Beach. But we mostly Vrbo our house out, and tour. Northern California parks are our home away from home. Chris and I have found that if we are on the move and discovering new places together, that we are happy. Things crumble when I’m left at home.
We travel well together, we write music well together. I love writing melodies and lyrics, he loves turning them into rock and pop songs and performing them on stage with the guys.
On long bus rides, he plays video games for hours with whomever is touring with us that week, while I write us new songs in our back tiny bedroom that I decorated to look like my room at Luna’s. I have natural linen curtains, soft white duvet and some seashells from outside my beachfront bedroom at Luna’s, hanging from the curtain rod on strings. They clink together quietly when the bus is in motion.
So Jake, I heard that he didn’t marry Rissa, but joined the Peace Corps about a week after our final conversation where he smashed in his windshield. Why does this make me laugh? As far as I know, he has been living in Africa the past 15 years. He has abandoned his Facebook so I don’t know for sure. When I look up Jake Nead, there is a picture of him on a mountain top from many years ago, and that’s it, nothing else.
Evan moved in with Aunt Luna and helped fix up her beach house, thank God. He has a boyfriend, Gus, in Carmel, California, that he goes and visits sometimes. Luna often tags along and has established a community there of her own. She is a beach girl through and through and loves the town. These days she is into pottery and natural dies, and sells her mugs and fabrics at the St. Augustine Saturday Farmers Market. I think she just does that because she is friends with all the vendors and musicians there. She has a student sit in for her when it gets too hot out, and for when she is in Carmel. She also sells her wares online and and has a store section in the back of an artists studio in Carmel.
I’m typing this on my laptop on the bus. The guys just played a show in San Francisco and they are staying in the City. Chris, Zoe and I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge over to Marin, and are visiting Kat. The bus is parked in her giant driveway and plugged into her house. She is living in San Rafael and has a son going into college. He and Zoe have been jumping on his trampoline this afternoon, like when they were little. I can’t wait to get out to Point Reyes Seashore and hike over the meadowy cliffs of bright yellow and violet flowers, and look for whales.
Outside of the Great American Music Hall,
When I go back and read bout all those times that Chris and I lost and found each other over and over again. I realize now that my indecisions and searching helped me to learn how to hang on to our relationship and never let go again. When we are angry with each other, we go for walks and then talk about it calmly later. But we know that no one is going to leave. No one is going to look for Jake, or for a groupie. Yes, Chris does still have groupies. It is infuriating that he aged in that way where his hair just got a bit silver and his smiles got more rugged and charming. But age has also brought us gifts of love that can never be replaced. Security is no longer scary. And we don’t really take life too seriously anymore, we are just kind to each other and we find our magic and excitement in the the strong winds of Point Reyes, the grumbling of road underneath our bus, and through connecting with friends over art, good food, and music. It is enough. It is more than enough. I don’t need Jake anymore. But I do wonder where he is.