After my mom left for work, I sat in the worn armchair down in The Pit, plucking out nonsense on my guitar. I let the big news of the day seep in. I hadn’t seen my brother in almost three years. As I got caught up in my memories, the doorbell snapped me back to reality. I made my way up the stairs and looked at the stove clock, realizing it couldn’t be anyone from the band, because it was only 6:00. I stopped and looked through the lace curtain covering the window of the back door, then realized whoever it was, must be at the front door. Damn salespeople. I turned left to go through the living room and made my way to the carved solid wood door.
I yanked the door wide open ready to say no to whatever it was they were selling, and there stood Savine.
“Hey.” I replied, “Uh, come in. You surprised me. I thought Kelly told you to what time we meet?”
“Uh, she did. She said you always meet at 6:00 during the week. Is that ok?”
“She did? But she knows we always meet at…” I said as I realized it was a set up. “She must have mixed up the time with her father’s birthday dinner. We always meet at 7:00. Also, we have to use the back door because my mom doesn’t want any dirt in the front foyer.” I laughed as I ushered her through the living room towards the kitchen. “Since you were at the front door, I thought you were selling something.”
“Ah, that’s why the confused face.”
“Which is probably not much different from my usual face, right?” I joked.
She smiled, “Always the funny guy, huh?”
“I try. C’mon downstairs. Todd and Brian will be here in a bit.”
We went down the stairs past the photographs that ran the length of the wall.
“I didn’t notice these before. Is that your dad?” she asked, pointing at Michael in his uniform.
“No, that’s my brother, Michael. He’s in the army. I haven’t seen him in a few years. He’s coming home next month.”
“Wow, you guys don’t look much alike.”
“Yeah, I know. He’s Mr. Allstar and I’m Mr. Artsy Fartsy.”
I plopped down onto the sofa as Savine got her guitar out and began to tune it. She sat on the low antique piano stool my mom found at a garage sale and asked without looking up, “You and your brother, you don’t get along?”
“Oh no, it’s not that. He just has always been the apple of my parent’s eyes. He’s this big, burly guy, smart and practical. Me, well, I’m the joker, the musician, the dreamer.”
“I know what you mean. My dad used to call me ‘Dreamboat Annie’. He used to say I’d better get my head on straight, otherwise it was going to come all undone. Perhaps, he was telling the truth.” She stopped tuning momentarily and stared at the floor.
“So, just out of curiosity, why wouldn’t you play my guitar that day you came to try out? I mean, you seem kinda tough around the edges and it was a little odd that something like a broken string was such a big deal.”
When she didn’t reply, I sat holding my breath. I didn’t know if I should change the subject or wait it out. Just as I was about to tell her about the Halloween dance, she said, “My dad gave me this guitar.”
More waiting. “And, that’s not a good thing?” I inquired.
“Remember I couldn’t audition on Monday because I had to visit someone in the hospital?” I nodded my head, “And when I said my mom probably had plans for Thanksgiving this coming Monday? Well, the reason I’m always busy on Monday nights is because…I promised my dad that I would visit him at the beginning of every week to start him off on a positive note.”
“I’m sorry, is your dad sick?”
She let out a bitter laugh, “I guess you could say that.”