Convincing Constance (The Blow Hole Boys)(6)

By: Tabatha Vargo

Knowing I had no money to pay rent, I went in my room and started packing up my meager belongings. My dad was probably rolling over in his grave, and my mom was rolling over Jack. My life sucked dirty dick.

Digging through my things, I came across the card from Gary Steele of Music Line. The card felt like a five-pound weight in my palm. As much as I loved music and playing it, I never wanted to make a job out of it. I saw what happened to musicians, and I’d always sworn I’d never go down that path.

My stomach rumbled as I lugged all my stuff out to my car. The girls were still sleeping, but they’d figure out I was gone soon. It wasn’t like we didn’t see each other every weekend anyway.

The gas light on my car turned on as soon as I pulled out of the parking spot. I had five dollars in my pocket and I had to decide what needed filling more, my gas tank or my stomach. I definitely needed gas if I wanted to get anywhere, and as hungry as I was, I wasn’t going to run back to my mom.

As much as I hated it, I knew what I had to do. Putting my last five dollars in my car, I looked down at the Music Line business card and got their address. I could only pray that the tiny bit of gas I put in my car would get me there, and I hoped like hell that Gary Steele was true to his word. I played music, and he wanted me to play. If all went well, he could help me out. It was a job, it made money, and I needed money more than I needed my pride.

The hospital hallway was long, and it seemed like sounds of suffering spilled from every doorway I passed. I fucking hated hospitals. The smells, the sounds, just the feeling of being there made me panic. It brought back memories that I wanted to forget. Memories that woke me from my sleep in a sweat.

The waiting room at the end of the hall was painted in happy colors. Like anyone who was sitting in the room, waiting, would be happy. Hospitals usually meant bad things. At least it did for me.

I spotted my boy, Finn, across the room. He was sitting with his head back, staring at the ceiling with sleepy eyes and day-old clothes on. Worry was etched into his features. As the front man of our band, Blow Hole, Finn had a lot on his shoulders. While the rest of us spent our time partying way too hard, Finn always had his head in the game.

I walked past a guy in a wheelchair that smelled like piss and slid through a row of chairs toward Finn.

“How is he?” I asked.

My voice shook and I knew I should’ve taken one more Valium before coming.

“He’ll live. His hand’s fucked, but we’ll worry about that later. Where’s Chet?”

Zeke, our lead guitarist, had been hit by a car. It was only right that I was there for him, but the longer I sat in the hospital, the sicker I felt.

“He’s around. Last time I saw him he was hitting on the nurse at the front desk.” I sat in the chair next to Finn and stretched out my long legs. “It’s going to be okay, dude. We’ve been through worse,” I said in an attempt to sooth Finn’s stress.

“Yeah, I know, but right in the middle of this massive tour. I’ve already called the label. We’re going to have to cancel the rest of the dates. We have to get our boy better and back to playing.”

We were friends before anything else, and I was glad Finn felt the same way. The band was important, but not as important as one of our boys. Zeke would feel the same way had it been one of us.

When I didn’t think I could take it anymore, I stood quickly and adjusted the chains hanging from my jeans.

“Look, man, I want to be supportive and shit, but this place is killing me,” I said, and again, my voice shook.

If anyone understood my crazy fear of hospitals, it was Finn. He’d been there. He’d seen what I went through. He knew about my panic attacks and nightmares and he was man enough to keep those secrets for me. It made me appreciate him even more.

“I know. Get the hell out of here. You look like you’re about to pass out. I’ll call you if anything changes.” He laid his head back on the headrest of the chair and closed his eyes, and I walked away.

Again, the hallways felt like they were closing in on me, and I didn’t breathe again until I was outside. I fucking hated the weakness that lived in me. It hovered just below all the muscle I’d built up over the years.

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