It was my birthday.
I had sublet an exquisitely well-furnished apartment.I had gotten a lot of snacks from the "gourmet section" of the local supermarket. Enough beverages. All my friends. And Steve had brought a guest.
Steve had been a Scientologist, as a matter of fact, Sea Org. He always seemed to want something out of me. Well, after he’s gotten me to bed, he still wanted something out of me. What that was, I didn’t know. Sleeping with him was like being attacked by a unicorn. I guess he was just born sociopathic, and had gotten into a place where his talents were appreciated. I never knew why he’d quit the force. Probably he was after sex. But to his guest.
Roger (redacted). Technically Roger (redacted), Jr. But mostly, Roger, or Kooble. He was in a local metal band. He was supposed to be like his father, who’d been an ace guitarist, in the early 1960’s. When he came to the party, he was in full gear, with a black wifebeater shirt, a belt with lots of studs, a pair of blue jeans, boots and lots of floofy hair.
We didn’t really hit it off, at first. He didn’t really like parties. When he came in, he took a beer and mumbled for a while to everyone else. To me, he only asked “Do you have a guitar?"
Which is how I learned a dirty little secret about rock music. Perhaps the dirtiest. They’re not always extroverts, into being celebrities, being the life of the party. Like a lot of musicians they’re introverts, who just happen to latch onto music as their calling. Whatever they enjoy, whether music, food, sex, or drugs, they enjoy alone, even when they do so in public, or not. It’s not that they don’t welcome a friend, really they enjoy them! But as long as you understand, what they have is theirs. What you have is yours. And if it works out, that you can share it, it’s wonderful. But otherwise...
Which is all right with me. I give you what I have, as a hostess, as a performer. I give the party I would like to have. Otherwise…I’m not all that great at the social angle. We hit at off because of food— he really liked lumpfish caviar, having eaten it in quite a few greenrooms. From there on, it was great. Ever so often, I’d have to freshen up his drink, but mostly, he was happy to practice if not play, while the party went on. This went on for two or three hours.
Eventually, the party dwindled off, and I was left with him, strangely attired with a headband with a bow on it.
“Hi.” He said. “I’m your present. You’re about to party with a rockstar.”
Maybe a rock player. But, OK.
He asked whether he might go for more.
He came back with a flask of vodka, some pot and a little cocaine. We enjoyed same.
He got talky. He talked about concerts he’d seen, gigs he’d done, tours he had been on, music he was listening to, music he was playing, music he was practicing to play, and music he hoped to play. I smiled, and listened happily. I was happy that he was happy. I liked music, too. That’s how it goes. He had a hard little body, that was good to hold.
Things got a little goofy. We brushed each other’s hair. (His was longer than mine.) He lamented me not having any mousse or spray, so I could be floofy, too! He gave me the loveliest caress, that only a guitar player can give: a backscratch with the flats of his fingers, where the calluses are. Really. It’s subtle, but incredible. Try it, if you’re able.
Somehow we concluded was whatever we’d done was just not conducive...to actual ummmm…
We decided that we’d not, and say we did. I would be “well, OK” to his friends and he’d be “wow, amazing” to mine. Hey, we’ve both got images to maintain. And I’m OK with him being the stud. We’re both more than sophisticated adults, and his profession dealt with sex and relationships, both on the job and shall we say extracurriculary. Like I said, we both had images to maintain: his as a stud, mine as an artist of the flesh.
And so we slept, warm and loving, and happy for each other’s company, the creature sleeping between us, like a sweet little puppy. (And I don't even like dogs.)
Except that somehow, the unspeakable happened.
No, I wasn’t pregnant.
He’d fallen in love.
And not ordinary love. This meant hard-core, Stage Four, Cat 5 love. It went to the core of Heavy Metal, even Hard Rock, into the deepest blues. Head back, guitar solo, cue the balladeer anguish alternated with sweet reveries of us walking together on a windswept shore on the off-season, having a relationship, even how I might look under a canopy? Maybe? And, let’s be honest, he really wanted to continue where we’d left off.
Is this any way for a man to carry on?
The kind of love, in short, that Steve thought I should have for him. And I never heard any of it. Not understanding emotional lives, and wanting me to fulfill various sexual exigencies, he played it cool. He told Roger I thought he was well, not my type, and didn’t give forth any details. Not my phone number, my location (I moved at the end of August), or anything else that might lend itself to his re-hooking up with me. And he said Roger thought there was “that groupie smell” to me, which made me just kind of shrug. Didn't think he would insult me...but can’t win ‘em all.
Several years passed. Steve moved out of my life, thankfully. I was drinking in a bar where the musicians go, that was friendly to all us strange folks, and I saw him.
“Teleny??” he asked, and his surprise told it all.
“Roger?” I said, puzzled.
“Where have you been??”
He looked at me with longing, made more mellow through time.
We went back to my house.
Well, he’d progressed. He was dabbling in the harder drugs, and longed to be a guitar virtuoso. I was interested in the relationship between more popular genres and classical, at that very moment. “Why don’t you listen to Wagner? Or Sor's Etudes? Get some substance behind those licks.”
“What I want is to be Yngwie Malmsteen. And take heroin.”
This didn’t seem like a great career path. “You’re just painting yourself into a corner. What does that have to do with emotion? And what does heroin have to do with it?”
And all he could say was that it was what other, more successful artists had done the same thing, and therefore, he should do the same. Clearly we had artistic differences.
And I gave of my body, and his seed went into a condom, and I never heard from him until lately. He’s in northwestern Connecticut. He works with horses, the kind with four legs that kick. He still plays, now and then. I suppose he got into four legged horses after kicking the other kind of horse.
Now, in the hospital and who isn’t supposed to do it at all, I still love him. As I do Carmen, and ALL my men...