The Dirty Little War

by James Heaton

Trigger Warning – involves suicide

Nobody wins in any war. And no war is clean, they are all dirty. Those wars are the nightmares that keep the honest veterans up at night. No, it’s not just a nightmare, real war is hell. It’s the place where life is being taken left and right, as if the grim reaper walks the streets and points to the souls he desires. Soulless bodies all over the place, left to rot like yesterday’s trash. And when the war does come to an end, and trust me, they always do its only when the reaper has collected his fill. Wars can only come to an end at that moment when the big shots, the rulers of our countries that represent us, decide they morally must end the fighting. When the big shots decide that enough innocent lives have been destroyed, when they finally see that maybe a million is enough, or is it higher now? Ten million? When so many lives have been taken on both sides its at that moment that you scream out into the chasms that you hide in your brain. You scream so loud and then you realize that none of this had to ever happen.  Because here you sit at the graveside of the one you thought was your one true friend. And now, up is down and down is up and fuck it all, cause now there’s no one.

But this wasn’t a war fought by valiant heroes in a time of crisis, this was the war that my wife waged on herself. And it was hell, and it did bring in the nightmares. Everyday all over the world people wage war on themselves as though they were in a battle within themselves. And everyday people die, and they leave us with unanswered questions.

So, I sit quietly, and the tears and the whispers all fall into that deep dark chasm. Right now, I need a drink. I need to feel something. Something other than this feeling that everything I thought I knew made sense, but nothing makes sense at all.

I spent ten years with her, we were best friends and then we weren’t. That’s when the arguments began, and then her need for privacy that superseded every moment of our lives. For the first six years we did everything together, we loved and laughed and dreamed of our lives somewhere in a trailer by the sea. We even talked about kids, but for some strange reason she refused to ever go off of her birth control. Even when she told me she did, I would see her reflection through the crack in the bathroom door as she would take the pill and wash it down with water. That was the day I realized that it was all a lie. There would never be kids, there would never be trust and this friendship was so fake that the more I studied it the more I realized that she wore a mask everyday around me. She pretended to be happy, but then she would blast such depressing music in her car as she drove away in the morning to her job.

That job, that didn’t exist, was her going to a bar and maxing out her own private credit cards. She spent every day either going to one bar or going to the beach and sitting in her favorite chair and downing a bottle of rum. There was no job, no coworker named Morgan that she talked about occasionally or Mary. Those were her ways of talking about Captain Morgan or the Bloody Mary’s that she drank all day. She hid it well; she hid it for so long that I became part of this bizarre simulation that I called life. She told her parents that we were going on vacations that we never went on and there were times when she would get the stories mixed up, but still I was oblivious to it all. I’ve learned a lot in the last three months about her. She eventually moved back in with her parents leaving me to tend to our home, our dog and our furnishings. She got so bad she wouldn’t even take my calls and then she just went silent. Two days later I got a call from her dad. He was fighting back the tears as he told me she overdosed on her psych meds. I didn’t even know she was seeing a psychiatrist, and now she was gone. She killed herself in that lonely place of dying that only she was allowed to be present at. All by herself in her childhood bed, with my picture in a frame beside the bed, she took every medication she could consume before passing out. She laid on her bed and choked on her own vomit as her body tried to push those deadly pills out of her stomach. But she was unconscious and unable to do anything but lay there looking up at the ceiling. The ceiling that she had covered with glow in the dark stars as a young girl. That was the last thing she saw as she laid there in isolation and in the final moments of her life. I truly hope she is soaring through the stars, with her hands spread out and her fingertips touching the real stars in the sky as she soars through the universe like a shooting star.

It was a senseless death, mainly because she chose for it to be senseless. She isolated herself at her parent’s home away from me and she chose to take those pills. If only she had left a letter telling me why. But there was no letter, there was no video or message, no email, no words, nothing.

I never had time to process it. She was alive and then she was dead. Ten years of marriage and in one bizarre night she ended it all. I took a week off of work, which seemed weird for me to process, one week to sort out her life, to sort out my life without her. We were still married and there had never been any legal separation. The coroner listed it as a suicide, and she was given a little service in her childhood church. Her family came and they all looked at me as if I had pushed her to this point. But I was clueless, just like everyone else. What the hell had gone so wrong in her life that she pushed her best friend away and drank herself to death. What pushed her that night to swallow every single pill that she owned and chase it with her favorite drink, straight fucking rum. What could have led to all of that. At the tiny church the people walked by and shook my hand, told me to hang in there and that things would get better. But what they didn’t know is that we may have been married for ten years but our marriage ended years ago, when she pulled away from me and began living this secret life that she had been living. As far as I was concerned, she died a long time ago and I was just now getting to those moments of laying her body in the ground, in the graveyard that was attached to the side of her childhood church. Never mind that it was a couple of hours away from our home, and that I had absolutely no say in any of it all, mind you I could have spoke up at any time and demanded that she be cremated or buried near our home. But I wanted to let her mother and father make those decisions because as far as I was concerned, she was my wife by title only. That woman who would be lowered into the ground was a stranger to me. She had been a stranger for many, many years.

Processing her death, processing the suicide and her family’s hatred toward me, as if any of this was my fault, was challenging. I took a hotel room as to avoid staying with her family and keep a considerate distance from her father who had it in his mind that I pushed his little girl into all of this. I tried to explain to him that I had no idea, but he was from a different time. When men knew there women’s every thought or at least they pretended they did. There was no escaping this insanity, other than just getting in my car and driving for a few hours back to our old house. But as luck would have it, there needed to be some forms signed for the insurance and there needed to be the reading of the will, so for me to hop in my car and drive back to my own home was not open for discussion. I still had a few days of things to process.

Two things that troubled me was that one, she had insight to make out a will in the last few months. And the other thing was how her father approached me and said not to worry about paying back all the money she had borrowed from him over the last four years. He explained to me that he understood if my job wasn’t doing well and that we needed to borrow money a few times to make our mortgage payment. But that just wasn’t the case at all, in fact my job was doing great. I had gotten a raise every year for the last six years. And I paid the mortgage, the only thing she paid for was the power bill. And she stopped doing that over a year ago. I tried to explain to her dad that I had no clue what he was talking about, but he chalked it up to me just being rude and ignoring the help that he had given “us”. The truth was she was broke, she drank all the money she had put away. She stole money from me regularly, always searching my wallet for cash when I was in bed asleep. I actually installed a camera in our foyer because I would regularly wake up and notice all my cash was gone. I never thought it would have been her, but it was clear as day on the video. The minute I fell asleep she would come through the house and go through my wallet. I figured if she needed money, I should just let her have it. I should have approached her then. But I’m not a confrontational guy, I walk away from arguments, never toward them.

I went back to the hotel after the service. I got out of the monkey suit that I felt so uncomfortable wearing and slipped on a pair of jeans and a comfortable shirt. I had forgotten to stop at the store and grab a few beers for the night. Unlike my now departed wife I was fine having a beer or two, there were months that I could go without needing a drink, and then there were nights like tonight when I just needed to be intoxicated. I had never had issues with alcohol, and I really never thought she did either, but looks like I was wrong about that. I looked down as I was undressing and saw that band of gold around my finger. It felt weird to still be wearing it, but it felt too soon to take it off. If she wanted out of the marriage, I wouldn’t have fought her, I would have been sad, but I would have wanted her happiness more than anything. I just kept it to myself that nobody wins in this dirty little war, I looked around the room that I had secured for the next few days, it was bland and boring with a horrible color scheme, as she would have said. She hated red and orange together, said it was an abomination. I didn’t care, it was a bed and a television with a decent bath and shower. But even when we first got married, she would always complain about the places I picked for vacation. She wouldn’t like these clothes either, she preferred me in nice clothes as opposed to jeans and tee. I couldn’t help but feel as though I was being less than diligent as a grieving man, perhaps I should just curl up on the bed and fall asleep to trash tv and handle the business tomorrow. But what was I grieving? The death of my closest friend? The death of my lover? She was just somebody I use to know, that woman that destroyed herself for the last four years was as much as a stranger as anyone walking down the street. I would grieve my own way, by heading down to any open pub and having six or more beers and stumbling back to this atrocious motel.

A block down from the motel was a strip of businesses and in between the tax office and the dance school was a decent looking bar. This town was a far cry from the place I called home, but it had a few stores, and it had a few bars. Seemed like the locals would blow off steam by drinking on the weekends because there was absolutely nothing to do in this town but go to church and shoot animals during whatever season it just happened to be. I did not fit in here, I didn’t want to be here, but that wasn’t an option. With the reading of the will tomorrow and then the finalizations on the insurance the day after, I was truly stuck here in this absurdly boring town.

I gave a lot of thought about how I could have done things different with her, how I could have been her drinking partner or how I could have been more assertive and demanded that we take as many vacations per year as our salaries would allow. But would any of that actually have helped her? She drank out of pain, but what was hurting her so bad? This was the worst part, no notes, no drunken rants it was just she was here and then she was gone. And the rest of us were busy planning instead of sitting around in a comfy room, crying on each other’s shoulders. Both her parents absolutely blamed me, not just dear old dad, this was clear. Her mother wouldn’t even speak to me. Words were just words, but her dad was ready to throw punches he was so angry, even more so when I told him I had no idea that she had borrowed money from him. They were back home where all their church friends were bombarding their home with casserole dishes and maybe a little valium slipped to her mother for those especially hard moments. And here I was in a pair of jeans and a tee shirt from a concert she and I went to years ago, walking down the sidewalk of this dreary town. So many bricks, so much concrete. Hardly any trees except for the tree at the end of the road that was decorated in white lights. It looked like a party or at least some celebration, maybe they were left over from Christmas or maybe they thought that adding lights to a tree outside of their little bar was the cool thing to do. I decided to leave my broken heart back in the motel room, and I headed down to the little pub at the end of the street with the lit-up tree. I watched couples walking hand in hand or arm in arm as they passed me, and I felt so out of place. So alone in a tiny little town that nobody knew my name. But it sure did beat getting wasted on a subpar mattress, drinking cheap beer with a cringeworthy comforter and flat pillows while watching local television. But I’ve got her ghost sleeping in my bed, and there’s not enough room for two broken souls in that room.

I took the chance and went into the pub, I saw at least three different names on the outside, so I wasn’t really sure what the name of this location was called, but it was packed. Apparently, it used to be Joeys Spot, but the new owner changed it to Backwoods Bar and Grille, although it was clearly on the main street of town and not in the back woods as it proclaimed. I ignored that and forced myself to step inside.

The smell of Marlboros and spilt beer from the night before was hovering in the corner of the room. I saw the lights are just low enough that everyone’s face glows in an obnoxious red tint, but it was the girl in the corner with an obnoxious white light shining in her poor eyes, she tickled those pianos keys and hits those minor notes and then she opens her mouth and sings. Her rosy golden voice just tears through me, just makes me feel so vulnerable, so naked. I hear the words perfect in the lyrics that are undeserving of her voice, and it crosses my mind that perfect isn’t even a word to describe what she is, what her voice is. But could a person have an angelic voice and not be an angel? That seems too unlikely because she is stirring emotions in me that is like honey in the early spring. I just stopped and stood right there, like an absolute idiot. I suppose I was staring, maybe I was just another face in the crowd, but she had my entire attention.

I’m lost staring at this beautiful creature that sounded like an angel but was dressed like a devil and she was standing there as exposed as I was. It seemed like I had listened to at least three songs at that point, but it was all the same song. And then I heard her make the piano play, and I felt a man brush by me, and I realized that I was in the traffic lane of the servers. I wanted to move to a seat on the front row but there were so many people there, so many people and I was feeling so vulnerable, but I just wanted to crawl into a booth and listen to this goddess as she opened her beautiful mouth and released those infinite neon rainbows that sounded like the edges of her phrasing was just rough enough to make one think that she was a little hoarse. But that was her voice, a little whiskey bent to add flavor, but it was all gold, it was happening on this little stage in this little bar in this dead town, and I just wanted to sit down and not move for hours.

A waitress saw me standing with my mouth open and she laughed as she came over to me and all but pushed me to a booth and simply said, “Whatcha drinking?” I heard her, and I said, “bring me your favorite for when your sitting back and listening to her.” She laughed and she walked away and yelled to the back of the bar, “Amy has another one,” and then the laughs came.

My waitress, Pam, that’s her name, I’m sure because she’s said it four times since she inserted me into this booth and began bringing some cotton candy, mango, lime tasting drink that was like pure heaven going down. Well, Pam told me that she could add some of Amy’s merchandise to my tab if I wanted, cause it was good to help promote the artist. I heard all of this in what tiny area of my brain I had shoved to the far-left corner and reserved it for that necessary communication that didn’t include the music I was attempting to bathe in.

Midnight came and I had drunk a few of those “Pammy Specials” and apparently purchased over a hundred dollars in cd’s and t-shirts from the singer, Amy. So, there I sat at the booth with a table full of stuff and as I’m coming to terms with what seemed like only moments ago, I had just sat down and was experiencing the most incredible amount of audible bliss I had ever experienced in my life. And the alcohol helped, maybe intensified some moments. I was comfortable that I didn’t blurt out anything absurd or rude after a song. I didn’t tend to blurt things out but it’s a fear of mine for when I go under anesthetic or if I get drunk or too high. For as long as I could remember anytime I went to the dentist I had a horrible fear of saying too much or maybe not enough.  It had been at least three hours and I felt confident in my ability to gather my things and leave the bar without dropping anything, and as I was making my escape with my bags full of band merchandise, I heard the sweetest little, “Excuse me,” come from behind me and in my head the sweetness of her voice made me think of the flavor of a pink starburst candy. It was the sweetest voice I had ever heard.

I turned. And there standing with the top of her head up to my chest, I looked down and there was Amy. You know, Amy who just gave me a literal eargasm, a trip on a euphoric roller coaster of her songs and songs she loved and a few songs that I thought I knew, this eargasm was the only way I could explain what this woman just did to me. And it was consensual between the two of us, I received the pleasure of her receiving her own pleasure of singing out those amazing songs. In my mind I was making it very strange, mainly because I had ingested several of the “Pammy Specials”.

I don’t know, maybe its one of those things you can look up on google and find out you have some weird disorder where you see colors as words. Because I did. It called Synesthesia. Every word, every number, every sound has a distinct color that I see in my brain when I hear someone talk or yell or in this case, sing. I’ve had it my entire life and I found out that I was actually one of the four percent of people on Earth that have it. So, when I listen to a woman’s voice singing, she produces colors that are ever changing in my mind. Its like being high for some people, for others they categorize their lives by code words that mean certain things. Me, I like to have, what I can only call, eargasms. When I listen to certain women sing, certain songs, certain keys, they all produce these amazing ever-changing rainbows in my head. Its purely metaphysical and not actually a physical occurrence, I’m not some perv with his hand in his pocket listening to women sing. On the contrary I enjoy it the way a cigar smoker enjoys a certain type of tobacco mixed to combine a smoke that is very satisfying. But my eargasms have been dormant for a while now. With the circumstances and all. You understand right?

But here in front of me was Amy. She looked close to my age, she was short and had such a round face. She was the embodiment of a dolled-up girl that was about to do her debutante ball. She looked amazing in her makeup. But it was a lot, and I loved it. She wore a flirty combination of Victorian and punk, but so far from goth. She put a lot into her appearance and her stage dramatics for a four-hour show of original and cover material done in a mash up of blues, rock and maybe one of those horror rock bands. It was unique but she steered away from the rockabilly side of things but instead introduced an old tremolo sound that was both creepy and deeply haunting. I was in love with her voice, her sound and I wanted to be her biggest fan all at the same time.

“You bought a lot of stuff tonight; did you mean too? If we goofed up and you don’t want to hurt my feelings, but you didn’t mean to buy all that, then I can refund it all.” She said in a woeful little, small-town voice that made me think she could never imagine hurting anyone for any reason.

I was mesmerized at her, my mind was still lost in her singing voice, that perfect voice that took me to a place that I so desperately needed. I was consumed with her voice, the ease that she belted out those words that echoed inside me, moved by its purity and how it touched me. I haven’t felt that way in a long time, but at the same time I felt silly and part of me felt inappropriate for showering affection on someone that I just met especially after burying my wife, the stranger that occupied my life for ten years. I felt elated for a moment because my early reading of her was that she had to be such a good wholesome person.

I laughed, a little more than I should. “No, umm, look I’m not a weirdo or a stalker, I have this condition… its embarrassing to say out loud to a stranger, but I have Synesthesia and your music is like the best drug anyone could ever take. I just wanted to say thank you for the ear…. Umm, the ear symphony that you gave me.” I said trying not to surprise her by saying I have some disorder that makes me special, I felt like I was back in elementary school when the kids would make fun of the special education kids, that always pissed me off. I grew up with dyslexia and synesthesia and got stuck in special education because they thought I was disabled, turns out I just had to overcome dyslexia and learn to manage and redirect the synesthesia and then I was put back in with the “normal” kids.  I was obviously showing a great deal of anxiety at this point. But she was so kind to me, so sweet and innocent.

She continued to smile so passionately at me and then she said, “I have that too!” and I felt so uplifted, and it was a magical moment meeting someone with the same disorder, the same struggle to function in real life and overcome the constant swirling of color in your head as you heard every word and noise. I felt so much better, and we both plopped back down at the booth, and I tossed my gift bags down on the table and she said quickly, “What color is this?” and she pointed up to the speakers that were playing a Hendrix tune, and I immediately said, “Rose Gold, Jimi is always Rose Gold.” And she smiled and said that to her ears it was very brassy with a bit of copper color mixed in, swirling around his voice that was a deeper shade of blue with a tinge of purple. I cannot explain how my heart felt at that point, how ten years of suffering through a marriage that I was mostly clueless if we even connected, to be sitting here with this, this angel.

We went on for the next twenty minutes talking about colors and songs and just exploring our bizarre little universe that only four percent of the world share. We got so lost in conversation, so deep in a world that only we knew together. And it was so bizarre how so many songs had the same colors to both of us, how we could see things that others didn’t even know existed. But this was real, and it was beautiful.

She had packed up her gear from the show and it was sitting in the corner of the bar, her piano and her crate of microphones and cables, all tucked nicely in their place. It was obvious that she was a semi-professional, but I saw nothing but professional. What was the difference anyway, one played locally and made next to nothing for their talent while the pros got pulled into the corporate bullshit and sent all over the country to play the same music for people who could care less? In my eyes she was a true artist, a true master of her craft and I was amazed at her. She had the merchandise table with a friend to run it while she performed, and her performance was flawless in my eyes. There were absolutely no mistakes, and each song she made into her own little version. Even the classics that everybody knew how they were supposed to sound, she transformed them into her version, and it was glorious to say the least. Her set had been over for at least an hour and the hands on my watch told me the bar would be closing soon.

The conversation got to that part where she asked me where I was from and when I said Savannah, she looked a little sad. “How about you?” I asked.

“I’m from Lawrenceville. Right here, there are only like six bars in town, so I spend my weeks bouncing around between the six bars. Sometimes I travel to other cities when I can book gigs. Sadly, you really have to travel a few hours to find towns that have decent bars for performers and it’s a full-time thing. I started small a few years back at the encouragement of my friends, “get out of the living room and get on stage.” They were persistent and I am grateful for their support. I’m going into the studio in a few weeks with a bunch of original material, been saving like a fiend. Eating ramen and bumming food from friends when I visit them. Just to be able to stick money back for my dream.

“So, what brings you to the bustling mega city of Lawrenceville?” she said with sarcasm. The conversation was about to change to real life bullshit that I desperately wanted to avoid, but I felt I owed it to her to be truthful.

“I’m here in Lawrenceville cause its where my wife was from. Her parents wanted her buried here, next to them. We had sort of separated a couple of months ago and she overdosed last week.” I said with a sense that I had just ended the pleasantries we had been sharing.

“Oh my god, and you came here? Tonight? You poor man, you were just looking for some escape, weren’t you? An escape from all of that and I gave you a little release, didn’t I?” She said as she cradled my hands on the table. Her touch sent electricity throughout my body. And I felt so damn guilty, my wife had just been tossed in the ground and covered with dirt. Ten years of marriage and in one night I was sitting in a bar talking to this creature, this amazing artist that actually made me feel human for the first time in six years.

“Yeah, so this is a first, but I like to call it an eargasm, I’m sorry if that’s rude or obscene, but I’ve always called it that.” I said as I waited to apologize a little more. Those first moments with someone, when you slowly reveal who you really are and what crazy shit floats around in your brain. Will I offend, will the conversation end, will she immediately think less of me.

“That’s hilarious, I like it, mind if I start using it?” She said as she chuckles. And in that moment, I was smitten. What kind of monster was I, it had been less than twelve hours since I buried my wife and I was sitting here in a booth in a small-town bar, with a beautiful woman’s hands resting on my hands and we were talking about my strange words that I used for my disorder? I never wanted this moment to end, I never wanted to leave her side. I wanted to sit staring at her starry green eyes and thinking about how she must look without all the makeup. What was she like in her normal life? Was it a drastic comparison to who she was right now? I wanted to know more, I wanted to experience her in the real world, take her out to eat and maybe walk around a quiet lake and talk about real life.

“I haven’t had one since last year, an eargasm. That sounds so strange to say out loud, you are the first person I’ve ever used that phrase with. But it’s such an amazing feeling to hear music that is so pure and so full of life. I can’t imagine another word for it, but you have a talent. For the last few years, it’s been all noise, and that noise has been grey. I’ve hated my life for so long that I couldn’t even have a simple little mental enjoyment.” I confessed to her as we sat lost in each other at that dirty little booth.  She smiled so brilliantly, so caring and I could feel her heart open to me and she had true compassion for me.

We talked for another hour about our lives, about our dreams and about the things we loved. I found that we had so much in common, and we connected in a way that was beyond sexual, beyond physical connection. It was truly everything I needed at that very moment. I knew as the bar was closing that our time had to come to an end. I helped her carry her gear out to her little Subaru station wagon. It was covered in band stickers and was in serious need of some upkeep. And I couldn’t help but feel like I wanted to stop my life and fix hers. I wanted to give her the world, maybe as a way of saying thank you for the voice that she shared with me. But as we said our goodnights, she asked if she could see me again. She said she knew it was an awkward time and that the death of my wife must be traumatic for me, but she really wanted to spend more time with me. And as we stood beside her car the rain started, softly with tiny droplets of water. We both laughed at the perfect timing of the rain and that was when she asked if she could see my phone. I unlocked it and handed it to her as if we had known each other for years. She put her name and her phone number in my phone, and she told me to call her when all the craziness subsided. She stood on her tip toes and kissed my cheek, and with that she said goodnight and we parted ways.

 I carried my bag of merchandise back up the street on the sidewalk as the rain began to fall slightly harder. My shirt was wet and the water from my hair started to drip down my face. I made it back to the hotel and changed into dry clothes. I placed all her merchandise on the table next to the bed and scrolled through my phone until I found her on one of the popular music streaming sites. She had one album, a homemade recording of her songs. I sat the phone next to my bed and I fell asleep listening to her voice. The recording was less than complimentary but the message was there and regardless of the quality of the recording, it was her voice and I fell into a deep sleep, dreaming of her face.

The next few days were miserable, absolutely the most depressing of my life. The will that Rebecca had left named me as the executor of her estate, a move that angered her parents greatly. I wanted nothing of hers, because I didn’t want to be reminded of the pain of the last ten years. I signed the papers and then the next day we met with the insurance representative, and he explained that because she had committed suicide, a self-inflicted death that they would need more time to explore if it was intentional or if it was simply an accident. I got the feeling that the representative, who was a young man in his early thirties and did everything on his laptop, was favoring the accidental death because otherwise the entire insurance policy that Rebecca had taken out would have been useless. He said he would do everything in his power to list it as an accidental death from strangulation of her own vomit. He said that if she had been on her side instead of her back that she would have just thrown up the meds and that she would have probably just been admitted into the hospital and then transferred to a mental hospital where she could have received the help she needed. Her parents were very thankful, even though the beneficiary of her estate was in fact me. As we concluded our business we walked out of his office and headed to our cars. I fully expected that this would be the last time I ever saw her parents again, but her father walked over to me and asked if I would mind stopping by the house to pickup some items that she had in a box for me. I was reluctant, as I felt that going to their home would put me in a position to experience their true anger and allow them to berate me, but I couldn’t say no.

I arrived at their home a few minutes after they did, as I stopped at the local quick stop and bought a bottle of whiskey. I sat in my car for a moment and sipped on the whiskey to get my courage up to go in and face them.

They invited me in, as if it was the first time I had ever been to their home. Ten years of visits to their home for Christmas and birthdays meant nothing to them, they treated me more like a visitor than a son-in-law. I wasn’t drunk, just loosened up enough to deal with their impending berating.

We sat in their sitting room, the room her mother kept meticulous in case company came by. A sage green couch with wooden accents, two sitting chairs and an oak coffee table separated us from each other.

“I appreciate that insurance kid trying to make it into an accidental overdose instead of suicide. God only knows that she probably didn’t mean to end it all that night.” Her mother said as she broke the silence, the ungodly uncomfortable silence that filled the room.

“My buddy Richard said he saw you sitting with the singer from Backwoods last night, it didn’t take you long to find a new girl to fill Rebecca’s spot in your life.” Her father said with a bit of underlying anger.

“Now, Paul, he was probably just trying to do anything but sit in that hotel room, he should have stayed here.” Her mother said in her attempt to diffuse any argument.

“Yeah, I had a few drinks and a conversation with a nice young lady at the bar. I just needed to do something other than stare at the four walls of that shithole hotel.” I said with a bit of a bite toward her father.

“A little soon to be searching for Rebecca’s replacement don’t you think?” her father said as he stood up and walked into the kitchen. I could hear the refrigerator open and heard him grabbing a beer. He walked back in the room and tossed his jacket on the chair and then sat down and guzzled his beer.

“Listen guys, this has been a very difficult time for all of us. But your instance that I had a hand in this, that I pushed her to this place, its unjustified. I loved Rebecca. I loved her for ten years. Ten years, five months and three days to be exact. I adored her; I did everything to make her life pleasant. But the truth is she lied, she lied to you, and she lied to me.” I said as Paul slammed his beer down on the coffee table, and I could feel the anxiety from Janice at the anger that he was showing, not to mention that he made a mark on her table.

“Don’t you think we know that? Don’t you think we know the real reason she came home? Why she swallowed all those damn pills and chased it with her favorite rum. She was tired, she was exhausted, and she was ashamed of what she had become. But what the hell did you do to make it easier for her?” He said loudly.

I stood up to leave and Janice asked me to please sit down. She looked at Paul and said, “Its time to show him the note.” And at that moment I felt so confused and trapped in this insanity.

“What note?” I said to the two of them. “What goddamn note are you talking about, because last time I checked you didn’t tell the cops about a note, you didn’t mention it to the insurance guy and you sure as hell didn’t tell me about a fucking note.” I said in anger, a deep-rooted anger that had been growing from the night that I got the call about Rebecca overdosing.

Paul stood up and walked into the kitchen and open a drawer. He pulled out an envelope and brought it into the room. He handed it to me, written on the front of the envelope in Rebecca’s handwriting was my name.

I opened the letter and began to read it.

Dear Rick,

I have wanted to write this for so long. I have completely destroyed my entire life. A few years after we were married, I found out that I suffered from bipolar disorder. In the beginning the medication helped, but then they increased the dosage, and I became a zombie. I had no energy, and I was confused all the time. I kept this from you, and I am truly sorry. I gave up on the meds a year after my diagnosis. I replaced it with alcohol when I was manic, and I started using coke and Adderall when the depression would cycle around. It all got out of hand so quickly. The money, my job, all disappeared. And I wanted to tell you because I knew above everyone you would have supported me; you would have cared for me, and you would have gotten me help. But I was ashamed, ashamed for failing. It got worse and worse, and you wanted kids. But how could I be a mother to anyone when I couldn’t make it through the days without snorting a line of coke or pretending to go to the office when I didn’t even have a job. I gave up and moved in with mom and dad, thinking that they could help me save our marriage. But they didn’t understand, they thought it was a phase and they had no knowledge of mental health issues. Instead, I told them that we weren’t getting along, and I was going to leave you. But things got worse, and then they got even worse than that. I was hemorrhaging money; I was having nosebleeds and it was getting harder and harder to lie to everyone. So here I sit in my childhood bed, writing this note to you. I have your picture beside my bed, and I go to sleep every night looking at you, knowing that you were the best thing to ever happen to me, but this is too much to keep up. I saw a doctor and he loaded me up with psych drugs and sleeping pills to help me cope, to help me recover. But I burnt that bridge, I burnt every bridge. I have gotten too far into the lies and the lies about the lying. My parents know that I am just wasting away. But you deserve better, you deserve happiness. You deserve a wife that can give you happiness and children and love. I can’t, I cant anymore. So tonight, when I get the courage up, I’m going to take all these pills and I’m going to finish this bottle of rum. I don’t want to wake up tomorrow or ever again. I want to give you the freedom you deserve because I know if I come clean to you that you will forgive me, and you will love me. And I just don’t deserve that. I deserve to die in my sleep and leave everyone better off. I took out an insurance policy, and I hope that suicide doesn’t prevent you from getting the check, knowing my luck they will refuse to give it to you. You were a good man; you were always a good man. Go live your life and find someone that can love you the way you tried to love me.

I am so sorry,

Rebecca

I finished the letter, put it back into the envelope and stood to my feet.

“Both of you have blood on your hands. You could have told me at any time. But you let her suffer, you let her destroy herself. And for what reason? Pride! You were too damn proud to tell me, too stubborn to call me and be honest. And now she’s gone, but we could have saved her. We could have gotten her into a program and fixed all of this.” I said as the tears began to roll down my cheeks. I turned and walked out that door. I got in my car and drove home.

It’s been two months since Rebecca died and I haven’t said another word to her parents. The insurance guy kept his word, and I got a check for a ridiculous amount of money. I put it in my desk drawer and have yet to cash it. It will be voided if I don’t cash it in the next week and I still don’t know if I should. I don’t want to be part of the lie, or the fraud that came from all the lies that those people told.

I haven’t been to Rebecca’s grave since we buried her, I just couldn’t bring myself to go back to that town, to that place. It was all so useless; it was all so ridiculous that they just let her end it all instead of calling me.

I finally got around to cashing the check, stuck it in a savings account and haven’t touched it since. But the other night, three months from that rainy night, when I found an ounce of peace in all the insanity, I got a call from Amy. She said that she knew I needed time, and then she said she would be doing a concert in my town, and she wanted to see me, she said she hasn’t stopped thinking about me since that night at the Backwoods Bar. Truth was, I haven’t stopped thinking about her either. I moved passed the guilt, because Rebecca gave me her blessing in her own strange way.

But I questioned myself, was I ready to see her? And it wasn’t just seeing her, hearing her perform and the simple but tedious act of holding my shit together long enough to tell her I haven’t stopped thinking about her since that night. Could I hold it together? Could I move on, should I move on? The concert was a week away and I needed to mentally prepare for seeing her. And then the thoughts began to roll in, I assumed she was single and that she had a romantic interest in seeing me. But those were all meaningless assumptions on my part. Jesus, it had been over ten years since I went on a date, and that would have been in the beginning with Rebecca. I was so out of the loop on modern day dating.

I decided to have lunch with a dear friend of mine, who has been there from the very beginning of my relationship with Rebecca, and she saw how it broke me to lose her the way I did. Tammie was a good friend, and I trusted her views and opinions. I needed a woman’s perspective with this, because I felt like I was assuming to much and maybe I was wrong.

We met at a river front bar and grill that served amazing soul food. They had an amazing view of the river, and that in itself was calming to me. There were many days that I sat here on the riverfront and watched it flow southeast into the ocean. Millions of gallons of water every day, just flowing out into the ocean. A man could get lost in his own mind just watching that stream, where does it all come from and where does it all go? Those moments were good for a person’s mind, when you could push away all of the real-life problems and concerns and just watch the water flow. Truth is I had a spent a lot of time here, on this finely aged bench watching the river. Some people need a counselor I needed this bench and this river to clear my mind and help me realize what was truly important.

Tammie met me a little after noon on Tuesday and we dispensed with the pleasantries. At first, she was really excited that I had met someone and that I was moving forward. And that was the word that she chose, to move forward.

“I need to tell you that when you said, moving forward that it made me feel at ease with this, because part of me has been battling with moving on. And I don’t like that word, on. I loved Rebecca and the thought of moving on has eaten away at me. But when you said moving, forward, I felt like what I was doing wasn’t so bad.” I said to her as the waitress took our drink order and left us to our conversation.

“You gave Rebecca ten years of your life, but she wasn’t in a place to enjoy those ten years. You understand that right? You know that none of that was your fault and that you did everything right?” She said with that amazing understanding that I was so jealous of, how I longed to be as wise as she was.

“But what if I’m reading too much into this and I go to the concert, and she has a boyfriend or a girlfriend? I don’t know that much about her, I spent hours just talking about our love for music and I never once learned a single thing about her personal life.” I admitted.

“You haven’t been stalking her online? Why have you not been all over her Instagram or her Facebook accounts? You at least follow her band on social media, right?” She said surprised.

“Yeah, I like each and every post on her band page and I accepted her friendship and invites and all that technical bullshit, but I’m trying to respect her privacy and boundaries. Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? Tammie, for Christ’s sake I’ve been married for ten years. All this is new to me, and I am the farthest thing from a stalker.” I said with a bit of frustration as the waitress brought us our order and I thanked her.

“Jesus’ man, you’re like the perfect guy. If I wasn’t a lesbian, I would be all over you. Its okay to look at what people post, its not okay to leave really inappropriate comments. And that isn’t you anyway. Pull her up on your phone, show me her Facebook or her Instagram.” She demanded as I pulled out my phone and scrolled to Amy’s page.

“Well for starters her name is Amy White, and she is single, and she is straight. She likes dogs over cats and her favorite show is some Victorian show, I’ve heard of it, but I’m not interested in it. She is really into Victorian stuff, and she is also a big punk fan, she’s into bands like Go Betty Go and MCR. But she loves Dolly Parton, and her idol is Anne Rice. And she mentioned two days ago that she had a very special guest coming to her show, here in Savannah. Dude, she is so into you.” She said as she laughed and handed me back my phone.

“So, what do I do, how do I act, what do I say?” I asked as the anxiety pooled around me.

“Do exactly what you did the first night you met her, and don’t deviate from that. Any weird shit you do, keep that to yourself for now. Don’t talk about Rebecca, avoid that topic. Avoid being a whiny mess who can’t move past his dead wife. Compliment her, enjoy her presence and let her know that being right there in the same room with her is everything to you.” She said as she sucked down her bloody Mary and motioned for the waitress to bring another.

“Invite her to spend the day with you after the show. Take her to your favorite places and show her this city as only you know it. I have this friend, Ellen she met this guy, Jason and they had the most amazing adventure together. Somebody should write a book about their story its so good. He met her last year and they had this incredible make out session in the playground at midnight, you know that playground by the cemetery? She told me all about how he took her to paradise three times that night and he was just a real guy who opened his heart to her. He didn’t pretend to be some flashy guy with some stupid back story that wound up being a lie, he took her on an adventure looking for this super rare book and get this, when he finally found the book, he told her it was worthless and that she was the real treasure.” She explained.

“So, I should take her on an adventure?” I asked

“No, you idiot, be true, be real, be fucking honest. And when the time comes, and it will, you let her know that nothing in this world could ever be more valuable than her. That reminds me, Jason and Ellen are getting married in a month and I need a date. Are you up for it?” She said as she sucked down another bloody Mary and was enjoying the celery.

“Yeah, but why aren’t you taking that girl you’ve been seeing?” I asked.

“That bitch, she was seeing some dude on the side. Last time I hook up with a bisexual. From here on out its butch bitches for me. Look, I need you to listen to me. This girl is into you. She has been holding out for months for you. Because you touched her where she wanted to be touched. You connected with her, and she is hanging onto this moment, this concert to show you that she wants you. She wants a relationship with you. No girl holds on for three months after just a conversation in a bar. I know you dude, you’re a good guy. You care about women, and you know how to be a genuine person and that is all any woman really wants, is a genuine man to treat her like she is a motherfucking princess.” She said as she crunched the celery. Tammie was truthful and it helped.

On the way back to my car I passed by a little store that sold everything you could imagine. I stopped inside and browsed around. I toyed with the idea of a gift for Amy, but would that have been too forward? Would that establish some assumption that we were dating if I gave her something? No, that was stupid, I just wanted to give her something, anything that would say, “Hey. I really like you and I missed you.” So, I searched and searched through the decades of what some might call junk, but this store was full of treasures. I walked over to the jewelry case and looked through the pocket watches and amulets and then in what seemed like a great revelation I saw a unique ring, and it was labeled “A Poison Ring from the early 1800’s” it intrigued me, and I asked the lady to see it. She explained that in the old day’s women would fill the inside hidden compartment with arsenic and when the man wasn’t looking, she would spill the contents in his wine. And something about that just resonated Amy. So, I bought, it was almost a hundred dollars, but I was serious about my feelings for her. And I wanted to show her what she meant to me.

So, the night came, and I tried on at least five outfits, from casual vest to t-shirts to silk button up shirts. I tried on every pair of pants that I owned, and I spent the night sending pics of my outfits to Tammie. She sent back yuck emojis on all but one outfit, and that one she labeled as the perfect choice. So dressed in a black button up shirt, with dark grey pants and leather shoes I hopped in my car. I was full of anxiety; I even thought a few times of just turning around and forgetting the entire thing. But I had the ring in my pocket in a vintage ring case made of crystal. I arrived at the club, maybe a bit too early and I sat in the car for fifteen minutes talking myself into getting out of the car. And then I remembered the note from Rebecca, where she told me to find someone who could love me the way I loved her. And that sounded like the most beautiful thing that one could experience. To simply be loved by another human, to know that you mattered to someone. That was paradise, that was the hidden city that all the heroes fought to discover, that place where love reigned. And it was at that moment that I knew I loved Amy, I knew that what I felt that night in that smokey bar was true, and I spent ten years trying to give that love to someone who wasn’t deserving of it. Maybe if she had loved herself then she would have been worthy, but she chose the pain and the demise over what I had to offer. I made my mind up, I was going to go in that bar, and I was going to enjoy every note that came out of Amy’s mouth, and I was going to float in euphoria at her voice and then I was going to ask her to spend a few days with me in Savannah after the show.

A light rain had started to fall, and I was at least twenty minutes early for the show. I got out of my car, parked on some side street and I walked the sidewalk to the club. There were steps that went down inside the club and when you reached the bottom of the steps you turned left and walked down an old hallway that was composed of rocks that had been there since the 1800’s, much like the ring that was burning a whole in my pocket. My mind went to thinking about the perfect time to give her the ring, to avoid doing it too soon, but also to make it special for her.

As I entered the actual club, I noticed Amy standing on the stage with her keyboard set up and her microphone, but beside her was a very tall man with a guitar. He had long curly hair and a finely trimmed beard. He was at least six foot two and he was very handsome. I could see the two laughing and talking as they fixed the final cables up to their gear and then he said something so funny that she broke out into laughter. I watched her as she was dressed in a beautiful black bustier with a scarlet dress underneath. Her face was covered in dramatic makeup, accentuating the person that she became on stage. That girl lost in her love for all things Edgar Allen Poe and a hint of The Misfits thrown in for darkness and rebellion. I loved the way she dressed, I adored her home-made outfits and I thought that she should start her own clothing line. But then she walked over to the guitarist and hugged him. It was a different hug from what she would give a friend. It was a hug of love and admiration. At that moment my heart broke down the middle, was she with this guy? Was it all a lie, a facade that I fell face first into? My stomach was churning, and my forehead was covered in sweat. And at that moment she looked directly at me, and a smile covered her face. Her eyes lit up and she all but jumped off the stage to come running over to me. I was so confused, should I just walk out and run to my car and go home and hide under the covers for the rest of my life? Should I act like that hug was meaningless and assert myself as the dominate man in the room? I wanted to be overjoyed and show her the same response she was showing me.

“Oh my god! I am so happy to see you! I was so anxious that you wouldn’t come, that maybe it was still too soon. I hope you didn’t stress too much about things. Bryan and I are just getting set up and we should be starting in the next fifteen minutes. I had the owner reserve a seat for you at the front of the stage.” She said with such excitement and glee.

“I’m sorry, who is Bryan. I wasn’t aware that you were involved with anyone, and I may have read the signals wrong. I was under the impression that maybe you felt something for me after that night we talked. I came here with the intentions of asking you to spend a few days with me after the show. So, I could show you, my city. But if you are involved, I understand and I still support you.” I said in what was the most painful words ever spoken from my mouth.

She just looked deep into my eyes, I’m sure she could see the moisture building in the corners of my eyes as I started to tear up. But I fought that response and choked by the tears and replaced it with part anger and part support for her life as she chose it to be.

She reached up and rubbed the tear from my eye, I was wrong she could see the tears forming and as she rubbed the tear from my eye, she smiled and then started to laugh. She quickly embraced me and held me in what was the most intense connection I had ever made with another human. Even the casual sex that I had experience that I thought was the end all to great sex, failed in comparison to intimate connection that our bodies were making. She pushed her breast against my chest and ran her hands down my back. I felt her face buried into my chest; her warm cheeks pressed against my left chest muscle. I could feel every inch of her face, pushed into me. And then in a burst of energy she pushed away, maintaining a firm hold on my biceps.

“Bryan is my brother, he played guitar for a big band back home and they folded. So, he’s been playing with me. I’m trying to build an actual band and I’m still working on doing that album. You have nothing to worry about. I knew the moment that we talked at Backwoods, that you were the most amazing man I had ever met. And we are Synesthesia buddies! I wanted you here tonight, I wanted to see you and tell you that I loved our time that night. I’m all yours for the taking, and that might be forward but I’m not one to play games, if I want you then I want you. And I want you. So go sit your ass down in your special spot and prepare yourself for multiple eargasms!” And with that I melted, just melted into the carpet. My heart relaxed and even it began to melt. I had never had a woman be so forward with me and I loved it.

I walked over to my table and pulled the tape back off the chair that read, reserved. I pulled out my phone and texted Tammie.

Me: OMG, she is into me! I’m terrified of saying the wrong thing. What do I do?

Tammie: Dude I’m right in the middle of some pretty intense playtime with my new girlfriend and all I can tell you is that you need to be you, and if you can find the g-spot like this girl I’m with right now, then you and Amy will have one hell of a night.

Her text wasn’t as helpful as I had hoped but it did tell me to be myself.

So, I sat through the show and watched as the people around me just fell in love with Amy’s style of music. They were on a roller coaster ride of euphoria, and they were dragged into every song and her version of some of the greatest songs ever written. And then around the third set she announced that her and her brother, Bryan (which I was so happy to learn that he was just a brother) would be doing a set of original material. The crowd was undecided, and her announcement didn’t bring as much as enthusiasm as she had hopped.

She began the third set with a really intense piano piece that flowed into her vocals and then Bryans guitar work began, filling the empty space with such passionate playing. The song was about finding that star in the sky that blinked brighter and more intense than any other and how night after night she looked for that star because it was the only thing that brought her joy. I was the more than just a guiding light, it was her way home, but more than that the song revealed that the star was her home, the only place she wanted to be. And as the song came to an end, something that saddened me because I longed for so much more of that music, she looked at me and with no sound she mouthed the words, “You are the star”.

I sat through four hours of the most intense Synesthesia experience I had ever felt. Bryan made an excellent addition to the band, and he added a level to the sound that was exactly what her music needed. It needed an entire orchestra to provide the adequate sound that her music demanded. She was an angel behind that microphone, and it took me back to that night I first heard her, and I knew that there was something magical about her.

I stuck around long enough to help them load their gear and Bryan told her he was going back to the hotel for some beers and a little late-night television. And then it was just me and her.

We stood outside the club, and I asked her if she would like a coffee or something harder. And she agreed, but she said she was hungry, so I offered to take her Vinny Van Gogo’s pizzeria for beer and the best pizza in Savannah. After we finished the pizza, I walked her through some of the squares, as they were always magical at night.

As we stood in Orleans Square, sitting on a bench as I went on an on about the show and the sound that she had created. I couldn’t stop talking about the music, but I could see in her eye she wanted more.

“But that music is only a small part of you. And I find that every day I fall a little bit deeper in love with you. I found that the last ten years have been a waste of my life. And the ten years before that were meaningless, just a way to a means to find a wife that I could grow old with and have kids and travel the world. And I realize that this series of strange, morbid, but enticing events has led me to that person. It may be forward of me, it may be too soon but fuck that, I’ve waited so long to love another person. To fall in love and feel the need to be with them day and night, to grow with them and become a family. And I feel like you are that person. So, if you feel the need to reject me, do it quickly because my heart cant possibly take this rejection.” I said as slid down to one knee beside the bench that she sat on.

“I feel the same, meeting you was the most life changing event in my little world. Just the meeting and the talk inspired so many new songs. It was as if you were my muse and I was writing about this thing that we have, whatever it is.” She said softly, sweetly and purely.

I pulled the ring out of my pocket and held it in front of her.

“Is that a poison ring! I have always wanted one! Where did you find this! Oh my god are you proposing to me?”

And for a moment I had to think, was I? Was it way too soon? Was this what Tammie warned me about?

“I want to spend my life with you. I want to be part of this, whatever this is. I want to be your man and I want you to be my woman, whatever the fuck that means. I just want to be with you because you pull the sunshine out of me, and I want to feel that every day for the rest of my life.” I said as I pulled the ring out and slid it on her finger.

“The man of my dreams just gave me a poison ring and asked me to share his life with him! I want to scream this to the world.” She said with an intensity and poignancy that was like a small bomb going off in the small square.

“Then stand up and yell it! This is Savannah, people do all sorts of weird things in the squares after midnight. Scream it as loud as you want but spend the night with me. Let me take you back to my place and make love you to and truly show you how I feel about you.” I said in moment of pure ecstasy.

“I’m engaged to a man who bought me a poison ring as an engagement ring, and I have never been happier in my life!” She screamed at the top of her lungs and even her scream was filled with brilliant color and light.

We went back to my place and for four hours we made the most passionate love I have ever experienced. We went placed that I didn’t even know existed, we traveled the galaxy and then after four long hours of pleasuring each other, she stood up from the bed and walked naked through my house into my kitchen and grabbed a gallon of orange juice, I followed behind her and watched as that beautiful little creature drank almost an entire gallon of orange juice and then let out the loudest burp I had ever heard in my entire life. And it was that moment, no other moment mind you, but that moment that I knew I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to giving her everything I could afford, I wanted to jump out of bed and every morning and go to work to make money to provide her with every dream she ever dreamt. In the blue light that shined from the den into the kitchen illuminating her beautifully round bottom, to the line that flowed down her back and her incredibly thick legs that screamed to be touched I watched her pick through my refrigerator, and she turned and with a look of surprise, she said, “I thought you were still in bed, I didn’t mean to burp like that. And I guess I should have put on a towel or a robe.”

“I love you like this. I love this part of you. I love that you drink straight out of the jug of OJ, and that you just burped louder than any man I have ever met. I love that your starving after sex and that this is you, that this is what I want to spend my life with.” I said in the most sincerest of fashion, what else could any man say to what I just witnessed in my kitchen.

She ran over to me, with her plump naked body jiggling across the kitchen and hugged me. “That meant everything.” She whispered in my ear as she lifted herself up with her tippy toes and put her mouth against my ear.

The next day we slept in, and then I told her to get dressed because I had somewhere to take her, somewhere special. She grabbed her backpack and pulled out a torn pair of jeans and a t-shirt with Chris Isaak printed on the front. She reached down and picked up her shoes and smelt them to see if they were overly fowl, and I just laughed. She was no normal girl; she was a horse named wildfire that would never be tamed, and I was head over heels in love with her.

So, we drove down to river street and parked at one of the many pay to park lots, which all Savannah residence hate with a feverish passion. We walked south down river street until we arrived at a very strange anomaly. The Rousakis Plaza Echo Square, a very strange experience on River Street that all the tourist flock too eventually. I walked her to the middle over the black paver stones and had her stand on the X. I walked away, motioning for her to remain right there. And then I told her to sing in every direction. And she did, with that amazing voice and the look on her face was amazing. There was no echo on my end, in fact there was no noise beyond the slight amount that I could make out coming from her voice. People gathered around as she belted out one of her original songs. She could hear the strange echo but no-one else could. And for people with Synesthesia its one of the strangest effects in the world.

She was like a little girl, so excited and bursting with questions. But I didn’t know the answer to any of the questions other than it was the strangest of all the Savannah points of interest. We spent the next week wrapped up nightly in each other’s arms and every day we explored more and more of the city. I took her to Tybee Island and bought her a bathing suit, and she was simply a goddess on the beach with her perfectly round face, and her pale skin. She had the most amazing figure I had ever seen on a woman. Such a Rubenesque beauty with her tattoos and pudgy belly hanging slightly over the bottoms of the swimsuit. I was breathless watching her run up and down the beach and followed her into the ocean. I ran across the sand and grabbed her, launching both of us into the warm ocean water. As we stood there in the Atlantic, we watched a pod of dolphin’s swim by and she was like a little girl at a petting zoo, she wanted to swim out and touch them.

“Move in with me. We can go back to your home and pack everything. You can move back with me and live her. You have an audience, and this is a great spot to set up a band. You’re a few hours from Florida and you can do your album here.” I begged as she continued to watch the dolphins.

“Under one condition, and its my only condition. Don’t ever break my heart.” She said as she looked up at me with the ocean water dripping off her face. Seeing her without the make up and realizing that she was even more beautiful with nothing on her face, nothing concealing her eyes or lips.

“I would never. You have my word.” I said as we held each other in the ocean as the dolphins swam by.

“Oh, and that thing you do with your thumb and forefinger, you should always do that, because I don’t know where you learned it but its amazing.” She said laughing.

“Believe it or not I learned it from my best friend, Tammie. She’s a lesbian and she has molded me into a decent man and taught me what women really want from a man.

“She sounds amazing, I cant wait to meet her.” She said as we splashed and played in the warm water.

And she did meet Tammie and they became good friends. And that money I had been sitting on in my savings, I pulled it out and paid for Amy’s debut record. Four weeks in a studio with new musicians that she eventually pulled into her band. I went on tour with Amy, Bryan and the rest of the band the following year. Right after our wedding of course. We were married on Tybee Beach, and she wore an amazing Victorian dress that tried its best to cover her breast, but they wanted to be the star of the show and I was fully prepared for that. She made a beautiful bride, and I have to say it feels good to finally love someone and have them love you back.

We leave in three weeks on two tour buses with three other bands, all big names, and we will be gone for the better part of the year, half in America and the rest of the time in Europe. Amy’s second album came out after she signed with a major label, and she never stopped staring at me the way she did that first night sitting at the table as we talked about Synesthesia and how much we loved music. I’ve never been happier, but there are a few days I get sad about Rebecca and that regret hits me for a little while as I wonder if it could have ever worked. But then I see Amy walk through the house in nothing but a pair of hello kitty panties and a Black Sabbath shirt with her hair messy and her fingers covered in Dorito’s dust as she shotguns a monster soda and lets out the most obnoxious burp I’ve ever heard and I realize that I reside in paradise and life could never be better, because I love her more that anyone could ever love anyone.

Find love where you can, cherish it deeply and if a woman feels comfortable enough to be her true self around you, hold onto her for life. She’s a keeper.

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