Rise From The Ashes
July 2, 2006
It was just after midnight when Lindsey suggested a venture into the darkness. As innocent as a short walk sounded, Andy feared the stability Lindsey had adopted since they arrived would surely come crashing down faster than a leaning tower of children’s blocks if they were to leave the house’s sanctuary.
“Don’t worry,” Lindsey smiled gently as he hesitated in the doorway, “You’ve already met all of my monsters.”
Andy’s forced laugh sounded more like he was scoffing at her. With the key that Anne had left on the dining room table, Lindsey locked the door behind them and pretended she couldn’t place the emotion in his eyes. She had seen it before, but only in her own reflections.
Andy took a deep breath and followed her footsteps down the sidewalk that would lead them around his neighborhood. “It’s not your monsters I’m afraid of tonight.” He said uneasily. There was a reason he hadn’t returned to Wisconsin in two years, and had only seen his mother in brief whirlwinds before or after shows, and that reason, he really wasn’t ready to conquer yet.
“I was never meant to stay, you know.” Lindsey admitted to him. She had never felt so comfortable revealing herself to anyone, but beneath the moon’s soft glow, the edges had been removed from everything she feared. His preoccupation with whatever plagued this town was surely enough of a distraction to keep her secrets safe. “In Chicago, or anywhere else for that matter. I’ve never really had a home.”
“You found one,” He shrugged pressing the crosswalk button.
“One found me,” She corrected as a faceless neon man appeared in place of the glowing orange hand on the crosswalk sign. The humidity tried to permanently affix each of their steps to the pavement as they crossed the street.
“It’s going to rain.” Andy announce although the lull in conversation had hardly made their situation awkward. Lindsey ignored the comment.
“You know, my glove box is filled with bottles of pills and prescriptions I’ve never filled,” Lindsey breathed out the words like her biggest confession, “There’s Lexapro or Zoloft for Depression and Atavan for Anxiety, Ambien or Rozerem for Insomnia. I stopped keeping track after that. I was told I was Bipolar, had a Borderline Personality, an Attatchment Disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress. Psychiatrists became a joke. And even though they could never agree, they’re the only timeline I have of my life, the illnesses they pegged me with, the drugs that each doctor swore would put my life back on track. That’s all I had that was mine.”
Andy stayed silent not because he was at a loss for words; he knew she would sense his understanding clearer without empty phrases clouding the air.
“Though I’m not really sure exactly what track they mean. I’m always going in circles it seems. Like a carousal without the ornamental ponies.”
“You’re poetic, you know.” Andy nudged her, throwing off their steps that had fallen in sync.
“That’ the songwriter in me, I guess.” Lindsey shrugged, stopping them in front of a building that was all too familiar to him. His heart dropped when he noticed the light on in the leftmost apartment on the third floor.
“Is that where she lives?” Lindsey asked following his gaze up to the window, which was slightly cracked in hopes of a summer breeze to cool down the night.
He returned his attention to her with a snap of his neck, “Who?” His tone was defensive.
“The girl you never talk about.” Lindsey posed, “The one who broke your heart.”
“You’re perceptive too now?” He joked slinging an arm across his shoulders and they doubled back in the direction they had come.
He regretted the attempt to be smooth when she shook his embrace away.
“You should tell me about her, “ Lindsey suggest shaking her hair in a way that almost seemed like a twitch.
Andy pushed the lock off her forehead, “Maybe a different night, tonight’s too nice to ruin.”
She smiled, satisfied with his answer. Their shoulders brushed as they crossed the same intersection they had before, their feet still sticky with summer’s adhesive. Lindsey instinctively laced her fingers with Andy’s and when neither recoiled they smirked at each other through the dark.
“It’s getting late,” Lindsey whispered from the driveway of the little brick house.
Andy checked his watch; they had been meandering through the weaving block of the neighborhood for close to two hours now. “So much for not staying up late.”
Lindsey yawned at the mention of time. Andy broke the link of their hands and walked a few steps towards the front door.
“Andy, I…” Lindsey stopped once she heard her own words echo in the night. “Come back?” She pleaded. Once he stood in front of her she began again. “I’m sorry.”
Seeing the sincerity in her eyes, he debated whether he should pry into the reason for her apology.
“I’m sorry about the other afternoon, in the park, I guess I just, I’m not sure, I’m not accustomed to, I mean, with how I usually…”
Comprehending her string of words beyond their literal meanings, Andy cupped her cheek in his hand and closed the space between them with a kiss. It was as sweet and gentle as all first kisses should be and the part of a movie where the audience murmurs in unison. But whatever audience hid behind a neighborhood of closed doors, yellow street lights, and empty cars was the farthest thing from either mind when they parted, foreheads still resting together.
Looking at Andy’s palm, which still lightly cupped her cheek, from beneath her lowered eyelids, Lindsey nuzzled her face into his hand. Although his hands were callous from hours behind his drum set, it was the softest touch she had ever felt.
“What does this mean?” She asked him nervously.
“Whatever you want it to.” He replied hesitantly. Now, that they were so close, feeling through each other in the simplest of touches, the last thing he wanted was to lose her to the seclusion they had felt before.
“I’d like to give it a name,” She paused in thought, “But nothing makes sense beyond ‘Together’”
“That’s good enough for me.” He smiled kissing her again.