WAITING FOR YOU BY SHEY STAHL
Have you ever been in love?
It’s a question you’re asked a lot as a kid from your friends, adults, anyone. They’re curious. How do you know you’re in love? Is there a distinct feeling you get and you automatically associate that with love? Do we even really know what love means? It’s just a word to define a feeling.
To me, love was like the colors of the sun bleeding and spilling over to the best parts of you and him together and highlighting what needed to be. Love doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It’s a word, a phrase given to someone that bleeds the same colors you bleed, feels those same lines.
I wasn’t sure if I loved Dylan the way I was supposed to. I knew I didn’t want this to end. I know that anytime I thought of him, something tugged at those lines and forced me to consider that I might bleed to the same colors he bled.
My thoughts of bleeding colors and lines I couldn’t define ended when we made it to Wichita and Dylan was on the phone with Eddy trying to find a bar called The Brickyard.
We found it hidden away on a side street and as we approached, Dylan reached for my hand. It was a nice gesture, colors bleeding, relaxing, falling, that was me, falling.
Smiling, I took his hand and walked in step with him around the side of the car noticing he reached inside for his guitar. “Are you going to play tonight?”
His eyebrows pinched together, smiling, coy, shy maybe. “Not sure, maybe.”
The bar was cleaner than the one we were in the other night, a long brick hallway led us outside to a bar open to an alley with an outdoor covered stage. In front of it were tables with cream plastic chairs filled with swaying bodies as they listened to a live band. I recognized Eddy right away. The only other time I had met him was when I was nine. Eddy wasn’t the type of guy you forgot though. He had a lasting impression.
Dressed in a flannel, similar to Dylan, he wore faded jeans that in true rocker style hung low with ripped edges and worn boots to match. His hair was a little longer than I remembered and his tattered appearance revealed his years of living life in the fast lane.
His voice, a deep rasp was perfectly belting out the lyrics to a song I recognized as a Nine Inch Nails cover.
Dylan smiled when he saw Eddy, a memory flashing in his eyes as he laughed lightly leading me around the side of the stage to sit in a quieter part of the alley, watching his uncle.
With his guitar beside him, we sat in silence listening to the music, Dylan’s head bobbed to the slow beat, feeling it.
When the song ended, Eddy came over to the side and Dylan approached the stage keeping his hand around mine. Dylan whispered in Eddy’s car when they hugged, words I couldn’t hear over the hum in the alley.
Eddy smiled my direction, the same smile Dylan had. They looked a lot alike, same eyes and smile that was.
Dylan gave Eddy a nod reaching for his guitar and then leaned into me. “Stay with Eddy.” His lips brushed my cheek slightly, a fire rose and I shivered at the contact and the excitement that I might be able to hear him sing again.
Eddy moved closer to me and sat at the same table Dylan and I had just been sitting at, I did the same. Pulling out a cigarette, Eddy lit it and then tossed his lighter on the table. “How are you doing sweetheart?” His voice sounded different now, the thick baritone he had to his singing voice was marred by years of smoking.
“I’m good. Ran away from home,” I said, as if this was no big deal, relaxing into the plastic chair watching Dylan talk with the other guys in the band. “I’m on the run now. I’m kind of an outlaw right now.”
“It’s the only way to be, sweetheart,” Eddy said with a laugh, he too watching Dylan. Leaning back in the chair, his legs kicked out in front of him slouching to one side. “You ready for this?”
I gestured to Dylan with a tip of my head when Eddy pushed a beer my way. I sighed taking it. I didn’t really like beer but I was acquiring a taste for it since it was all Dylan drank. “You mean hearing him play the guitar?”
“No.” Eddy took a long drag from his cigarette letting the smoke drift slowly out his nose. “I mean sing.”
My eyes went wide shifting from Eddy to Dylan on the stage, beer in hand. “I’ve never heard him sing before, can he?”
“No one has heard him sing aside from his mom and me,” Eddy said shifting his weight to lean into the table tapping his cigarette against the edge.
I couldn’t believe that I didn’t realize that he sang. Of course he would, given he played the guitar. I guess I always thought he just played rather than sang.
The thought of hearing Dylan sing had my tummy knotting wondering what his voice sounded like. If it was anything like it was when he was turned on, I could picture myself crawling on that stage and clinging to his leg again.
Eddy smiled and pointed to the stage, amused. “You might want to listen.”
My head whipped around when the amp chirped and Dylan tapped the microphone once. A taller man with darker hair and ripped jeans strummed his guitar once catching the crowd’s attention, a slow beat thumped as if preparing for the set.
“I’m Dylan Wade, Eddy’s nephew…go easy on me,” he laughed giving a wink to the crowd when they cheered holding their drinks up. “Uh…this song goes out to brown eyes.” Dylan spoke into the microphone drawn close to his lips, his eyes trained on the guitar in his lap. “I
hear everything you’ve ever said to me. Just…hear me now.”
Shock was my only answer, lip-parting shock.
Eddy laughed. “Watch the drool there sweetheart.”
Dylan looked at me for a brief moment knowing my reaction. His smile, crooked and powerful, made it hard not to spill my heart on the ground before him.
While Dylan played the first riff of that Framing Hanley song, his eyes stayed casted down. When he looked up, my breath caught.
When his voice rose above the crowd, both hands clutched the microphone, pouring out words that came from deep in his soul, I gasped at the intensity having never seen this side of Dylan before.
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