A light snore reminds me that I’m not alone. The heaviness of a body sprawled out, sets me off immediately. The stale smell of day old perfume lingers in the air and on my sheets.
The curtains are pulled back, the sun shining through the large window which affords me the best view and privacy.
Rolling over, there’s a face I don’t remember. A face that holds no name in my recollection or any vivid memory of how she ended up in my hotel room let alone my bed.
The bed part I can probably figure out.
The blonde hair tells me that I didn’t bother to get her name or ask her what her favorite drink was. Guaranteed our conversation was eyes, hands and lips only. There is one hair color that can make my heart beat and blonde isn’t it.
Neither is red.
They have to be brown or green, never blue.
This isn’t a downward spiral or some drug induced moment. I don’t do drugs, never have, but I may drink excessively on occasions like last night. This is me coping with my mistakes and failures. I may be successful when I’m on stage, but at night I’m alone.
And so freaking scared of dying alone.
I reach for my phone to check the time. Instead I pull up the gallery that holds her image, my thumb hovering over her face. I’ll see her when I go home and I don’t know what I’ll say.
I know she hates me.
I hate me.
I ruined her life. That is what her voice message said. The one I’ve saved for the past ten years. The one I’ve transferred from phone to phone just so I could hear her voice when I’m at my lowest. I can recite every hateful word she said to me when I was too busy to answer and never found the time to call her back.
Never found one second to call and explain to her what I had done to us. She was my best friend and I let her slip through my fingers just to save myself from the heartache of hearing she didn’t want me anymore.
I had dreams too.
And my dreams included her, but she would never have gone for it. I’m not living her American Dream. I'm living my own.
My decision destroyed everything.
My nameless bed cohabitant reaches out and strokes my arm. I move away quickly. Now that I’m sober, I have no desire to be anything to this person.
“Liam,” she says through her seductive tone that sounds like a baby. It makes my skin crawl when women talk like this. Don’t they see that it makes them sound ridiculous? No man worth his nuts likes this sort of thing. It’s not sexy.
Wrapping the sheet around my waist I sit up and swing my legs over the edge, away from her and her wandering hand. My back tenses when I feel the bed shift. Standing, I pull the sheet tighter to keep myself somewhat covered. I shouldn’t care, but I do. She’s seen me in the dark, but I’m not affording her or her camera another look.
“I’m busy.” My voice is strict, a well-practiced monotone. “Jorge, the concierge, will make sure you get a cab home.”
I sleep purposefully facing the bathroom so I never have to look at them when I tell them to leave. It’s easier that way, no emotions. I don’t have to look at their faces and see the hope fade. Each one hopes they will be the one to tame me, to make me commit.
I haven’t had a steady girlfriend since I entered the industry and a one night stand isn’t about to change that. These girls don’t mean anything and never will. I could change. I could settle down and marry.
Have a kid or two.
My manager, Sam, would love it, especially if it was her. She’s my only repeat lay. The first time was an error in judgment, a lonely night on the road mistake. Now she wants more. I don’t.
When she told me she was pregnant I wanted to jump off a cliff. I didn’t want kids, at least not with her. When I think about having a wife, she’s tall and brunette. She’s toned from years of cheerleading and her daily five-mile run. She’s not a power hungry executive in the music industry who spoke of hiring nannies before a doctor could confirm her pregnancy.
She suggested marriage; I freaked and flew to Australia to learn to surf.
She miscarried two months in. I made a vow that we’d keep things professional from that point on and that is when I started my one night stand routine. Despite everything, she still loves me, and is waiting for me to change my mind.
“You know,” the barfly from last night starts to say in between shuffling and her huffed breathing as she puts on her clothes. “I heard you were a dick, but I didn’t believe it. I thought we had something special.”
I laugh and shake my head. I’ve heard it all, each one thinks we have something special because of the most amazing night they’ve ever had.
“I didn’t pick you for your brains.” I walk into the bathroom and shut the door, locking it for good measure.
Leaning against the door I bang my head against the solid wood. Each time I tell myself I’m going to stop, and I think I have until something makes me want to forget. My hands rake over my face in pure frustration.
I’m not looking forward to going home.
The reason for returning is staring at me from my bathroom counter. The page-long article of the guy I used to call my best friend. Picking up the paper, I read over the words that I have memorized.
Mason Powell, father of two, was killed tragically when the car he was driving was rear-ended by an eighteen wheeler.
And I wasn’t there.
I left like a coward when I didn’t say goodbye.