Bet you never thought you'd see me again.
Understand Your Shortcomings
July 5, 2006
Much like the fireworks they had watched the night before, Lindsey could be characterized as loud, full of light, and gone in the blink of an eye. She had claimed she was happiest when she could explode into hysterics only to disappear a second later. She held pride in leaving her audience in awe of how quickly she fell. But barefoot on the lawn outside of Andy’s house, the day after celebrating Independence, she wished she could stay there with Anne and Andy forever.
“It won’t be months before I see you again, will it?” Anne asked her son hopefully. He shook his head before taking his mother in a hug. Lindsey watched as they both almost stiffened, almost as if they were already bracing themselves for the let down. Returning wasn’t a promise he could make.
“And Lindsey dear,” Anne said turning her attention to the young woman she had only met a few days before. A woman she hoped was exactly what her son needed in his life, “Keep an eye on him. And don’t get in too much trouble. Take care of each other.”
“It was nice to meet you Ms. Hurley.” Lindsey smiled cautiously. She stood shielding herself with the open car door, with the open road so eminent in the morning’s plan she couldn’t bring herself to be physically close to someone she’d probably never see again.
Though the rims of Anne’s eyes welled with tears she smiled warmly and watched Lindsey duck into the car. While there was something unsettling about the girl, Anne kept her suspicions quiet because Lindsey had done something she hadn’t thought she would live to see. She brought Andy home again, and for that Anne would be eternally grateful. With a squint of disbelieve, Anne watched her son stretch the seat belt across his chest. Looking through the windshield of his car made the scene seem as distant as a television show. His car rolled backwards down the driveway with no effort on his part because Anne knew better than to expect he would come home again.
Andy stole one last glance at his mother almost pleading that she force him to stay. Stand unmoving in the street before him even as the approaching thunder roared and insist he send Lindsey back to wherever she had come. He would have to listen because she was his mother.
Instead of rising to become the hero he silently wished for Anne smiled sweetly as he rounding the mailbox. Lindsey waved from the passenger’s seat window. Catching the two women share the gentle goodbye caused a Andy to flinch as a sharp pain prodded his core. Since agreeing a relationship had formed, Andy relinquished himself to the fact Lindsey would rule the rest of his life whether she was physically present in it or not. If she were to ever leave, he knew he’d spend the rest of his life trying to find her again. It was inevitable, neither of them could be saved and he was in love.
As the storm that had only warned of its impending arrival began to cry down on the highway Lindsey leaned her head against the cool glass of the window. She too knew one day she would leave. This was far too close to a “happily ever after” sort of feeling. Her haircut was closer to Peter Pan’s than a princess and Andy was certainly no prince charming. She only allowed her eyes to flutter closed because the rain was summoning her to escape the same way the fireworks had summoned her to break free. Her doctors would insist these were delusions not messages meant specifically for her. For the first stop, Lindsey agreed (but she’d still refused to take the pills). She was too afraid they’d make her an empty shell of a person and she couldn’t bear to miss a second of this storyline.
Silence enveloped the Lindsey and Andy each in their own safe haven. They were side by side but worlds apart when the Chicago skyline came into view. They had deliberately chosen not to discuss what they would say to the others upon arrival, about what had happened the day they fled; they’d never understand the urgency of their departure anyway. In glances they had agreed that what had changed in Wisconsin wouldn’t disappear now that they had return to a place they had both learned to loathe. It’s the reason Lindsey wore Andy’s hoodie almost as symbolically as a cheerleader would wear the Quarter Back’s letterman jacket. So much for being an anti-cliché.
The darkness brought on by the storm gave an eerily foreboding feeling to their return. There would be no hugs or celebration once they crossed the threshold to Patrick’s apartment. That’s what it was after all. Somewhere along the line Andy had become the house-guest who never left. Unfortunately, he wasn’t quick witted or sarcastic enough to be the star of anything more than Lindsey’s cloudy little world.
As though she had heard the lightning call her name Lindsey’s stirred as the old car rattled to a stop. She was granted permission to dash through the rain when Andy exchanged the apartment’s key for a few moments alone. Lindsey’s busied herself tidying the bathroom as if it were still scattered with evidence of her breakdown before she even considered the motive behind Andy’s privacy plea.
Outside Andy fought with the building pressure in his chest to fill his lungs with a deep breath. Losing this battle he coughed a “Hello” to the gruff voice that had finally chosen to accept his call after three rings.
“Welcome back to the real world, Romeo.” Pete’s voice jeered.
Andy studies the car’s interior above his head trying to formulate an appropriate reply. He had dialed Pete’s number almost begging for a fight. No, he had dialed Pete’s number in a state completely beyond his own control. And in a pointless silence, the two sat on opposite ends of the same phone line because eventually Andy would admit that he were wrong or Pete would begin another lecture.
“You’ve got two days to lose her, man.” Pete muttered almost robotically. In California, were he had returned two days before, he flipped channels absentmindedly. Lindsey had become boring to him, Andy’s involvement had never been about her to begin with, and frankly, Pete was tired of trying to convince his friends of that, “This album isn’t going to be nearly as epic with if you’re still playing house.”
“That’s not why I called.” Andy’s lack of enthusiasm with the argument was evident too, “I don’t need your permission.”
“Are you sure about that buddy?” Pete asked his tone rising only to illustrate a piece of band dynamic that was known but never spoken about. Pete was in charge; he had always been in charge.
“I’m done.” Andy spoke his realizations sooner than he really had time to comprehend their effect, “If Lindsey’s not welcome in California that you’ll need a new drummer. I’m not showing up without her.”
Pete roared with laughter. Andy had almost expected that reaction but it made his skin crawl anyway. “She really has got you under her spell, hasn’t she?” Pete teased, “Let me guess, next you’re going to start claiming it was love?”
The called ended without another word. As the phone rattled between the dashboard and windshield with the force of his throw, Andy admitted he was wrong by emitting a terrifying scream. His only desire was to run away. He clenched his eyes closed tight and pounded his fists on the steering wheel. Game Over.
In an attempt to save her, he had become just like her, and there was no going back.