Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.
If I should meet thee,
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.
George Gordon, Lord Byron
Trent sighed and stared at the floor of the hotel. For the first time in his life he couldn't sleep. He tried to puzzle together everything that had happened in the past few years. It was all a blur and it just kept accelerating. The band was finally on their way. They had an album on the charts and were planning their first world tour. Trent couldn't remember the last time his day didn't include a rehearsal or a gig or a session.
They had gone over to Daria's that day, to talk with her about becoming their tour manager. He just assumed that she would be coming along. She was out of school, so he didn't see any impediment to her joining them. In his mind, she had always been part of the group, temporarily parted from them, to be reunited when she graduated.
When they saw her earlier in the day, she looked different. She was never a cheerful person, but there was a sadness about her that was palpable. She looked prettier than he had ever seen her. As she got older, she became more comfortable with her looks, and with herself, and he had to admitů He wouldn't let his thoughts go there. He never let his thoughts go there.
There were times when he found himself alone with her, and his heart would beat faster. Trent always felt that he was more empathetic than most people. He could feel the emotions of his fellow beings. Psychic transference, is the way he thought of it. He was puzzled by the physiological reaction that he had when he was with Daria. What was he picking up from her?
He liked Daria because she cracked him up, and most women just weren't funny. Daria had also been a true friend, not only to Janey, but to him as well. Trent liked and admired her, but he didn't really know what to make of her reaction to him. Most women were straightforward with him. At least the ones he met at gigs. Maybe that was the problem. He didn't know how to act around regular girls.
When he and Janey went to Daria's today, his expected to move forward with plans for the tour. He didn't think that she would turn them down. But she did. Trent was hurt, like she had rejected them as friends. Jane was disappointed, but she understood. Trent had the feeling that Daria and Jane knew something that he didn't. But, really, that had been going on for years.
Trent felt that he was missing something. Admittedly he was in a fog most of the time. He thought about words and music, and in trying to document his world, missed a goodly portion of it. Trent was not a natural musician. He had a love of music, but he had to work at the poetry and the melodies. When he got stuck, or recognized that he was missing the mark with his songwriting, he turned to Daria. She always had the right phrasing, or word, or metaphor. Trent acknowledged that without her, his songs were flat, soulless and stupid. He cringed to think of some of their earlier efforts. No wonder that she tended to leave gigs after the first set, they were so raw.
Earning her respect was one of the things that kept him going. Even when the petty arguments and posturing became maddening, Trent stuck it out. Stayed with it to prove to her that he could follow through, could become successful. He flashed back to the times that he had disappointed her over the years. He was ashamed of the ways that he let her down. Each time, she smiled that sad smile at him. She accepted the disappointment as her burden. He remembered the first time, when he honestly didn't understand why she was angry with him. He was miserable because he thought she didn't understand him, and then he was miserable because she did. She understood him too well.
Trent suspected that the reason that Daria didn't join them was because of him. It wasn't a lack of confidence in him, there was some other reason. He didn't care to delve deeply into what that reason might be. Trent was not the kind of man who contemplated alternative universes. Roads may fork, but he just traveled straight ahead. His eyes were so far ahead on the horizon, that sometimes he missed what was right in front of him.
Trent felt as though he had been severed from her today. When he went to hug her goodbye, something she was usually uncomfortable with, she held him tight. He clung to her, longer than the casual gesture required. He felt something emanating from her, an emotion so strong that he was momentarily paralyzed by it. He choked up, and had no idea why. As he left her, he felt nothing. There was such an anticipatory vibration and then suddenly, everything was dampened. The woman who shared his wavelength was no longer there. He looked at her, disoriented. Something was gone. Some feeling he had, that he carried with him daily; disappeared in that moment. A cold void replaced it.
Trent had no experience with sleepless nights, he picked up his guitar and quietly strummed, clearing his mind, sublimating all the uncomfortable feelings, like he always did. Everything in his world was cool. Everything was fine. The song told a different story.