This is going to be a quick one, as there's not a ton going up here in Toronto. Todd and I have been going through a hellish November for school, while he juggles his part-time work at the record store, and Brian has been working and hectoring Todd into this whole band thing.
Believe me, it has not been the easiest thing in the world for me and Todd to feel like a couple again. We barely manage to spend time together, and I feel so removed from the days when I was happy being someone's girlfriend. My time as Rob was refreshing... it'd been a long time since I'd dated Todd but for the first time I wasn't moping around heartbroken and single. Happy being single. Happy with myself. As a guy in Philadelphia. Never thought I'd say that.
Maybe I'm over-romanticizing it, because it definitely wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, but that level of freedom and independence, I'd never had. I started being with Todd right when I left home, and he was my first love so I spent a lot of time -- probably too much to accurately call myself a feminist -- being sad it was over. Follow that with guilty rebound sex and isolation, and Rob Garcia: Philadelphian High School English teacher sounds like a decent trade.
So the whole dynamic has been different between me and Todd and for a long while I was wondering whether it was even meant to be anymore. I saw the way he was with Shelby, even though she's got a boyfriend, and wondered if he'd be happier with her. Or if I should find Crystal and give her my body back and just leave this place forever (I know a lot of you would love that!) But here's what happened: that stupid ass band.
It doesn't even have a name, they've just been calling it "The Todd and Bryan Epic Band." Funny in a kind of "we're so lame it's cool" way.
Then they coaxed Shelby into playing drums and it became... a thing. And that pissed me off. Whereas it was just them, whenever they got together, with their guitars, it was suddenly a requirement that they spend X number of hours each week at Shelby's place working on their material, because after all she's got the drums and it wouldn't do to transport them anywhere, let alone to their little apartment.
I spent a lot of November ready to say "screw it" to the whole relationship, these friendships I've had for so many years, when The Todd and Bryan Epic Band Featuring Shelby booked a gig in Mississauga (for the curious, that's a town that borders Toronto to the East and is largely suburban with a slight cultural center.) Irritated that it should be so convenient to go all the way down there, I debated even bothering. I hadn't spoken to Todd about my doubts about us but I think he was picking up on them. I went anyway, to show my support.
They went through a number of familiar covers. They're really impressive musicians, Bryan even did a Marty McFly version of Johnny B. Goode, complete with windmills and Jimi Hendrix affecations (although the imitation definitely isn't perfect.) The originals were uneven... the ballad Bryan had written (for Crystal, I think) seemed a bit cheesy, and the uptempo number was a bit clunky. I'm just being honest here.
THen for their finale, Todd stepped up to the microphone. He doesn't sing often, although he's better at it than he gives himself credit for. He looked out into the audience. I was sitting far enough back that he probably couldn't see me, but he dedicated it by saying "This last one goes out to the pretty girl in the back, with her hair in a ponytail." Me (he's often called me "the girl in the back" because of how shy I was when we met.)
Todd exchanged his bass for an acoustic guitar and began to strum. It was Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," a song he'd played for me on one of our first dates and had a special resonance now that we had been apart. Instead of fading out like the recording, it climaxed in a louder, louder, I'll say it -- epic riff to climax the show. The following act actually made a snarky remark that they couldn't follow that and were going home (they actually played a respectable set.)
And me... well I'm not made of ice. In that 5 minutes I felt the feeling welling up in me that I haven't had in a long while. That passion, that desire... Goddamnit if I'm not a sucker for a boy with a guitar. More than anything, it made me feel for the first time in years that I was being thought of, that I was wanted, that I was important to somebody.
Our relationship isn't fixed overnight, but that one song went a long way toward that goal, based on what happened between us later that night.