Again, I used both songs for the prompt. I imagine that this story would have been very different if I’d listened to Keith Urban’s “Better Life” (Thanks for the suggestion, Mandi!) first, but who knows.
Yearning for the Better Life from Boulder to Birmingham
The wind roars around the van that’s taking her to the show, making the driver fight to keep it on the bridge. Ellie watches his fingers whiten from the pressure on the steering wheel, his jaw clenches and unclenches. She intimately knows this feeling of trying to stay on course as luck diminishes.
It’s her first gig without JD. After all of his promises of a better life, she never thought she’d be in this moment or any other moment, without JD. All that it took was some old touring buddies with a vial and a promise of feeling good, better, in a way she could never make him feel good.
The curtain goes up and she hugs her guitar to her. Her fans applaud, cheer, support. Once this would have meant the world, but now the world feels too big and lonely and the last thing she wants to do is sing a love song she wrote about JD on a Friday night when the moon was high casting them in silver, the color of the wind chimes trembling dulcet tones in the breeze, when love felt like saving instead of dying.
She runs the pick over the strings and the noise hushes. She can almost feel him here, ready to pick notes on his Stratocaster. A chill caresses her cheek and nape, like icy fingertips from a lover far, far away.