I Fall Behind
I’m wearing my blonde wig, red cowboy boots, denim mini and a tight v-neck red top.
I never have much to set up, just an amplifier and the microphone’s already in place, but I do like to have my guitar plugged in and it’s then that I see him: Callum Johnson, sitting at a front table, his blue jean-clad legs stretched out in front of him, while he draws from a long-neck bottle of some standard American beer. Still no microbrew for Cal.
Despite myself, my heart thuds and I feel heat flash over me as well as a very controlled panic that starts somewhere in my fingertips and then migrates ever so swiftly inward.
I stalk back to Doug Sullivan’s office.
“I can’t go on tonight,” I say.
Doug is never ruffled. He is not ruffled now. He just looks up at me with one arched eyebrow. “Oh?”
“My ex- is out there and he’ll recognize me.”
“Cal. I told you about him.”
“You haven’t seen him for three years?”
I nod. “But we were together forever before that.”
“You’ve changed. He won’t know it’s you,” Doug says.
“Easy for you to say.”
I am teetering from one booted heel to the other. Cal.
You have to understand. I loved the big old, heart-of-gold blonde idiot. I dreamed of babies and hugs and kisses and growing old together. I never dreamed of him just joining up without talking to me about it.
Without us talking about it.
Maybe a part of me understood. I knew he was close to Mike. But the other part wondered if this was how it was going to be. He would just make extremely important (because, let’s face it, joining up and going to a war zone is about as extreme as you can get) decisions without consulting me.
And, he made that decision and I was left with this churning stomach and fraught-filled brain that thought I was going to lose him to some misdirected sense of loyalty.
“I’m going to puke,” I say.
Doug sighs. He places the paper he was holding down on his desk and slaps it. “You’re Lacey Cantrell from Wheeling, West Virginia. You talk soft and with a drawl and your hat’s pulled down over your forehead and you never look anyone in the eyes.”
He pulls down the bill of my hat to emphasize his point.
I nod. I can create Lacey. I’ve been doing it for almost a year. I am Lacey. Sometimes. When my head’s screwed on right. Or not right. It’s confusing being two people.