Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
We didn’t spend Christmas in Thurmount last year because we were doing a bunch of small tours along the east coast and down south that were supposed to be Christmas themed, but we would only sing one Christmas song usually something sweet like “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve.” The rest were from our album “The Thurmount Trio Does. Not.” Just for the record, pun intended, I hated the title. I did protest, much good that that did. I mean, really, does the title make much sense to you?
Our manager, Joel, said to me: “Kayla, rolling your eyes that much doesn’t change a thing. Except they could get stuck like that.”
Who is he? (Get stuck like that?) My mother? Eyeroll.
So here we are in Thurmount getting ready for the tree lighting ceremony. I have heard that Blake is going to sing “O, Christmas Tree,” but I haven’t seen him. You can be sure that I’ve been looking for him. The last time I saw him was at the Grammy Awards when he, Will, and I won a songwriting award. Will and I wrote most of the song, but Blake changed a single word, “woman” to “girl” and put himself down as a songwriter. Of course, he included it on his solo album, which is the only reason why we won. He gyrated his pelvis in the video and the girls/women loved it; he was like Elvis reincarnated.
Will comes up alongside of me and is blowing into his hands to warm them up. It was a gray day that has turned into a clouded evening with that pink hue to the sky that says snow’s on its way.
“Hope I can play the guitar,” he says. He shoves his hands in his coat pockets. He isn’t looking at me, but I can tell something is different. The last thing I’ve ever wanted was for him to be unhappy.
“I hope you can, too,” I say and elbow him. This time he does look down at me and grins. I feel a tingle in my abdomen and think: what the hell?
“Here we go.”
My heart skips. Blake strides onto the stage wearing tight faded jeans, cowboy boots, a long sleeved black shirt that hugs his muscles, and a black hat. No jacket. I think he might be taking his macho cowboy status a little too far, but there are numerous fire pits around the stage. He looks good, but he always has with his square jaw and blue eyes and very short cut light brown hair.
“We got to get ready,” Will says.
I stand there for a moment to watch Blake get situated behind the microphone. Everyone is clapping around us, but it’s muffled on account of the gloves and mittens. It’s actually a funny sound. A few hoots and hollers and some women screaming: “Blake!” round out the welcome for him. I look around. Jasper, Will, and I have done okay with our brand of folkie-pop music, but Blake is their country music star.
I follow the path that Will took to the side of the stage and we watch Mayor Everton light the tree and then Blake sings “O Christmas Tree.” A few members of the high school band, which yours truly was once a member of, are providing the music because Blake never really learned how to play anything, except a few strums on the guitar, which suffices, I guess. He shares his love with the audience, smiling as he sings, and then he glances at me and his eyebrows arch upwards and his smile turns into a grin that makes me feel flushed. His gaze doesn’t rest on me long. He’s a true performer now and he knows that it’s all about making the audience love you.
The moment his song is over the crowd roars. It’s a nice sound. The women are very vocal. He takes off his hat and waves it above his head.
“Love you, my friends and family of Thurmount!” he yells.
We wait by the steps for him to descend. He grins at me again.
“Damn, Kay, you are looking mighty fine,” he says.
I grin back. “You too.” I wink. It’s what I do.
He throws his arms around me, which catches me off-balance and the next thing I know, I’m falling backward into a dip and he kisses me. The crowd hoots. That’s mainly men. The women aren’t having it. When he rights me, I feel dazed and actually raise my fingers to my lips and stare at him.
“Bet you missed me as much as I missed you,” he says. That should be something you say and then wait for a response, but he just disappears into the throng of his waiting fans all of whom want an autograph.
I still feel dazed as I climb the steps. Will won’t look at me. He looks everywhere but at me.
It’s a little warmer on the stage, but not a lot. I pick up my guitar and join Will at the microphone. I do the talking most of the time. I can talk your ear off; it’s one thing I’m definitely good at.
“So good to be home, y’all. Anyone want to rock around a Christmas tree?”
We launch into the song. The crowd gives us a nice welcome. Not as nice as Blake’s, but nice just the same.
I smile and sing and look around the faces. I see Blake still in a swarm of fans. He doesn’t look up at us. I can tell he’s too busy flirting.
I look at Will. He’s smiling, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. I hit his hip with mine, which takes him off guard, but he doesn’t miss any of his fancy guitar play as he glances at me. I wink. He rolls his eyes and then the smile does reflect in them and his eyes are so steady and honest and blue. I see so much feeling in them that I almost stumble over my words and have to look away.
I feel a little like the world has suddenly tilted on its axis and I have to grip hard to stay on.