One Crowded Hour

One Crowded Hour

I remember the moments with painful clarity. They replay when I close my eyes, a highlight reel that I don’t want to see any more.

A crowded bar, a woman, short black hair, grey eyes, dressed in blue jeans and a fitted pink tshirt is standing with her elbows on the bar, trying to get the bar tender’s attention.
A man, blonde hair, blue eyes, dressed in jeans a black shirt moves to stand beside her. He casually rests one arm on the bar and says, “You know if you wore a shorter skirt and a tighter top you’d get better service.”
The woman looks down at herself and replies without looking at the man. “I’m not wearing a skirt and I don’t think the shirt would make a difference since I don’t have the ahh, assets, those ladies do.”
She tilts her head towards the women the bartender is focused on but the man doesn’t look away. He smiles and says, “I’ve always thought more than a handful is a waste anyway.”
The woman is at once shocked and charmed by his reply and finally looks at the man. She’s surprised to recognise him, smiles a little shyly and says, “Don’t tell me, you have big hands.”
The man laughs and asks for her number.
The woman doesn’t expect to ever hear from him again.

A man and a woman lay in bed, the woman’s head rests on the man’s chest. He tangles his fingers in her hair then whispers, “I don’t want you to go.”
The woman turns her head to kiss his chest sighs and says, “It’s not forever.”
The man moves, rolling her to her back and settles over her. “Every moment without you is a moment wasted,” he says then kisses her passionately. “Say you’ll stay,” he demands.
“I can’t,” she says with a gentle smile. “But we have right now.”
“When you go, you take my heart with you. So you have to come back.”
“I always will,” she promises.

A woman sits alone in a room, the flickering light from the television plays over her smiling face. On the screen a band is playing on a late night talk show. The song finishes to screams and applause and the host yells, “We’ll be right back after the break to talk to Lustful Gaze, stay with us!”
The woman picks up her phone, starts to type a message:
Nick you guys were amazing on –
She stops typing as the break ends and the host is shown on screen.
“We’re back with Lustful Gaze, Nico, Denver, Matt and Jase.” He pauses as the audience reacts with screams and applause. “So guys, what a great song, who does the writing?”
Denver replies, “We pretty much all write but this one was Nico’s.” More screams from the audience and the camera zooms in on Nico who is smirking and looking sexy as fuck.
The woman grins and murmurs, “Yeah babe, that’s your song.”
The audience finally goes quiet and the host says, “So tell us about the song Nico. You wrote it for your girlfriend?”
Nico nods his head, says, “Yeah I did.” Thanks to the close up the woman watches as his eyes close for an instant and his smirk disappears. Then he sighs and opens his eyes, looking serious and sad. “That was a long time ago though. I don’t have a girlfriend any more.”
The audience starts screaming and applauding as the woman’s phone drops out of her hand to land on the floor. She doesn’t notice, all of her attention on the screen.
“Really?” The host says with a look of surprise.
The camera zooms in on Nico who smirks and says, “Yes really. We’re all on the market.” He looks at his band mates who all nod and grin.
Denver spreads his arms out and says, “Come get us ladies.”
The woman turns the television off to the sounds of wild screaming and sits in the dark room. Some time later the phone rings shattering the silence and lighting the room up. The woman looks around, as if confused, then finds the phone on the floor. She stands up and walks into the bedroom, places the still ringing phone on the bedside table then sits on the bed. When the ringing stops she makes an adjustment to the phone. The next time it rings, its silent, just like her.

I can’t avoid their music, it’s everywhere, it should be banned, I could start a petition … please stop playing Lustful Gaze as it hurts my heart … I see his face when I’m waiting in line at the supermarket, when I turn on the television, when I close my eyes. I hear his voice, not singing, just saying things like, “I don’t have a girlfriend anymore,” and “Please baby, I can explain,” in the last message he left me.

I don’t know what his explanation was, I never answered his calls. I didn’t need to anyway, I knew the party line; it was good for publicity. All of his talk of missing me, struggling with talking to me because it was so hard to say goodbye. All the messages he never sent and the calls he promised but never made, all made sense in that moment, a prelude to goodbye. And all of those moments led to this one, me staring at a magazine that proclaimed to have the name of ‘Nico’s Secret Lover’. The photo that accompanied the headline showed Nick smiling down at a gorgeous blonde in a dress that showed off her hourglass figure, their publicist extraordinaire Libby. For me the only real surprise was that it had taken almost six months for the truth to come out.


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