Drummers are mysterious creatures who seek the erratic microbeats of authentic life that are layered between the macrobeats of society. Sam's hands were always tapping. Did they move in his sleep? Were his dreams filled with the nuanced undertone of beated movement? What did those hands seek?
With his hands in constant motion, how could I let him know my body should be the one place where those fingers could be still?
His hands moved like a poem, the left one tapping out a line, the right one pausing at the perfect moment to communicate emotion. Hot and sweaty on stage, the band moved as one organism. Trevor sang lead vocals. Hot, tall, muscled, and taking the crowd to a new layer of existence - and everyone willingly followed. Joe stood quiet in the background, playing bass, providing the undercurrent of emotion that allowed Trevor to fan the flames inside all of us. Liam played guitar like a man strumming a woman’s body. He seemed to make love to the instrument in a way that I could admire from afar, but that never quite caught the essence of me.
Oh no - that was all in Sam’s fingers, in his forearms, his muscled shoulders, the obliques that twisted to play each part of his drum set as if it were my body. In a way, it was. Standing here in the crowd, far in the back, at a quiet table - as if there were such a thing as a quiet table at any set played by Random Acts of Crazy.
I found myself immersed in the fever of their song. Maybe I was deluding myself, and maybe it wasn’t the song. Delusion has a way of becoming part of life when you least expect it, or maybe when you most need it. I could sit here and pretend that Sam was just a guy on stage playing his drum set, fulfilling his part in the puzzle pieces that made up the whole of each song that they played so expertly. I could even imagine that I just came here because I was looking for something fun to do after moving into my new apartment and getting ready to start grad school.
My imagination knew few bounds when it came to the taut rope that pulled me in two directions: one, to the carefully calibrated side of me that organized and categorized and protected and planned to make sure that no uncertain variables could sway me from being centered and grounded; and then there was the other side, the one where my imagination ran wild.
That was the side pulled tight in the tug of war by Sam’s fingers.
“You want another one, honey?” the cocktail waitress shouted over the fray of the end chords of Random Acts of Crazy’s famous song “I Wasted My Only Answered Prayer.”I nodded. Taking risks wasn’t part of my nature, but what the hell – a second Amaretto Sour wasn’t going to kill anyone, was it? Drinking was new to me. I’d only been legal for the past year, turning twenty-one late, after all my friends, with this damn August birthday. So, a year of drinking under my belt, at least legally, meant that it was still a novelty. Besides, I could walk home.
Alone, of course. My boyfriend these days was molded pink plastic, with stamina that lasted as long as two energized double-D batteries.
I wasn’t exactly the kind of woman guys picked up and took home. That's not quite true – it’s more that I wouldn’t let myself be that kind of woman. Not that guys didn’t try. Although, for the past two years I’d either been dating my now ex-boyfriend, Brent, or I had just carefully cultivated an outer shell that screamed Don't even try.
The last time I let someone in he shut me down. Cold. And didn't speak to me for four and a half years.
Right now my eyes caressed him, watching how he gripped the drum sticks, wondering if he remembered me. I was a masochist. I knew it.
Indulging in this moment of watching him, even as he'd so thoroughly rejected me, was probably the groundwork for a good twenty or so therapy sessions in ten years.
It was worth it.
The crowd roared as the song ended, and there pranced Trevor, just like he’d been years ago when the band started out, except that he was larger than life and had the women in the crowd eating out of his hand. A fine, masculine specimen onstage with jeans that were tight in all the right places. All the guys had changed so much since high school, since I’d seen them at their debut, way back when we were in high school. It made me feel old to think that that was now way back. Four and a half years felt like an eternity.
It was, actually, a lifetime.
Sam raked one of those beautiful hands through his auburn hair, and while I couldn’t see his eyes because of the bright lights onstage, and the shadows that added to the mystique of the set, I knew that those green-and-amber-flecked irises were still the same. He stood and the change in him made me gasp, scaring the waitress who had come by with my drink.
“You OK, hon?” she asked, bending down, making eye contact. Short, brown hair. Tight, wrinkled lips, like a smoker's. Kind, ocean-green eyes. She was as skinny as I was lush, and about my mother's age.I looked back at the stage, but Sam had turned away, was now guzzling from a bottle of water as Joe spoke animatedly to him. My God. What had been a lean, gawkish kind of high schooler body had filled out into a broad-shouldered, narrow-waisted form, the kind you find on fire fighters or tree specialists. Tall and powerful and muscled, yet he carried himself without aggression. As he turned, the waistband of his jeans slipped just enough to show a flash of skin between the bottom of his shirt and the denim, my eyes eating the grooved lines of his carved flesh.
Words. I was supposed to have words. The waitress looked at me expectantly. “I’m fine, I just...they’re just so good.”
“You mean they’re just so hot,” she said in a conspirator’s voice, nudging me gently with her elbow. “You’re not the first one in this room to think about taking one of them home, hon,” she said, her heels click-clacking off as she delivered more drinks.
I laughed politely because that’s what you do, right? When someone makes a suggestion that taps into your inner world of fantasies and hopes and dreams, and says something that isn’t quite appropriate for public, casual talk.
And yet every word she said was true.