“Do you love her?”
Frank slumped further into the couch, trying to ignore the incessant ringing of Gerard’s cell phone.
“Gee!” He screamed irritably, “Gee your fucking phone is going off!” The only response was the sound of the shower running.
“Fuck it” He mumbled, walking over to the bench where the phone was busy vibrating its way across the linoleum.
“Hello?” He answered tersely.
“Hi Gerard” came an American voice.
“Sorry this isn’t Gee, he’s in the shower”
The line crackled and fizzed, as though the reception wasn’t very strong.
“Oh, okay” He could barely make out the voice.
“Who is this?” He asked.
“I’ll call back later”
Suddenly he stood up straight.
The line crackled again in response.
“Escher is that you? It’s Frank”
“No Frank, sorry, this is a terrible line, it’s Sarah”
Franks shoulders slumped.
“Oh, sorry Sarah”
“No problems, how are you?”
“I spoke to…” Sarah began.
Frank turned when he heard somebody behind him, holding the phone away from his ear.
“Hey Gee, it’s Sarah”
Gerard nodded and held his hand out for the phone.
“Gee’s here Sarah,” Frank said quickly, “bye”
He slumped back down on the couch across from Bob who had come in while he was on the phone.
“Sarah?” Bob asked.
“You thought it was Escher”
“Stop doing that man”
“What?” Frank asked snappily.
“You fucking lit up when you thought it was Escher man. Don’t try and tell me you don’t care”
Bob said gruffly, knowing that the tender words sounded wrong coming from him, “you wouldn’t be such a fuckhead if you didn’t care Frank”
Frank smiled a little in spite of himself and shook his head.
“Do you love her?”
Frank snapped his head up. Was he ready?
“Yeah,” He whispered, “I do”
“So what are you going to do?”
“What the fuck am I supposed to do Bob? She left me, again I might add. She took off for fuck knows where and I am currently on tour for the rest of my natural life”
Bob smirked and glanced over to where Gee was talking animatedly with Sarah before sobering.
“Then you’re fucked man, you’ve gotta get over it. It’s affecting your playing, it’s affecting us”
Frank glared at him.
“Fuck you, what is this Dr. Phil?”
“Hey man, I’m just telling you what we’ve all noticed, you know we’re right”
Frank laid in bed that night thinking over the evening. He had admitted that he loved her. He didn’t know when it had happened. He had been infatuated with her in high school, and that had only been intensified by the night in the park, and her running away. But he’d never really known her then, only distantly, as a pretty acquaintance. And that had grown to bitterness and hate after a while.
He had never expected to meet her again. It had never even crossed his mind that he might. But he had, he would’ve even if he hadn’t wandered into that bar. She had tried so hard in the early days to win him over and he had been such an ass. And wrongly too, he thought with a twinge of guilt. All those years he spent hating her, just because she’d been in love with him and he’d been too stupid to read the signs.
He wasn’t naïve enough to say he’d always been in love with her. That had happened recently, once he got to really know her; her intelligence, her strength, her occasional fragility. The way she crackled with electricity when she argued with him, with anyone. He squeezed his eyes shut. The way she curled up around him as they slept.
He couldn’t accept that this was it for them, that a couple of nights and some fading memories were all he’d take from this. If he tried hard he could almost imagine them, some time in the future, staggering around a bright kitchen in the early morning making each other breakfast, he would kiss her on the nose and think how cute she looked wearing his shirt from the night before. If he tried hard he could see her standing backstage at his concerts, pride blazing in her eyes as he grinned at her. So this couldn’t be it, could it?
He sighed and climbed out of his bed, shuffling into the living area. He found a beer in the fridge and settled himself on the sofa, flicking on the television. He flicked onto the BBC, the only decent channel in England as far as he was concerned. He settled back into the couch barely watching the midnight movie that was halfway through, something called “My Family and Other Animals”.
“What are you doing up?”
Frank turned when he heard Mikey’s voice.
“What are you watching?”
“Some movie” Frank replied sullenly.
“Is that ‘My family and other animals’?” Mikey asked, sitting down next to Frank, “I love that book”
“It’s a book?” Frank asked, not really caring.
“Yeah by a conservationist, Gerald Durrell, this is an autobiographical book he wrote about his family living in the Greek Islands for a few years in the 1930s”
“Huh, who would have guessed it?” Frank asked sarcastically.
“Fine if you’re gonna be an asshole I’m going back to bed”
Frank shrugged and closed his eyes.
A few minutes later he sat bolt upright and ran back to the bedroom.
“What did you say the family’s name was?”
Mikey jumped as Frank wrenched open his bunk curtain.
“The family, in the movie”
- Flashback –
“Where are you going to go? What will you do?”
Escher smiled serenely.
“Oh I’m just going to chase the Durrell’s for a while”
“Why did you want to know?” Mikey asked sleepily.
“No reason” Frank muttered absently, chewing on his lip as he wandered back to the living room.