Ten days, he said.
I'm fine, I said.
Ten days to go out and wreak havoc, albeit more slowly than he used to, tearing up the stage in a place where they all know enough English to sing along but not enough to understand the meanings of the songs they're singing. Ten days to get a taste of a life he used to have, albeit sober this time around with no women, no drugs, no booze and no all-nighters. Prescription medicine and aftershow Skype calls home each night replace a few forties of poison and a line up of girls.
Shopping for souvenirs for his stepchildren and his friends replaces writing cheques for trashed clubs, hotel rooms and equipment.
Counting days of mayhem is replaced by counting the days until home.
We shouldn't be doing this replaces we should have done this a long time ago.
Payments begin to trickle in again where before the funds sat stagnant and uninspired, earned long ago and still undecided on. What to spend. What to keep. What to invest. What to plan. What to do now that life is so suburbanized beyond what he ever thought he would have. He used to have nightmares about overdosing on the road, dying alone with nothing. Nowhere to call home, no one to call his own and nothing save for the liner notes, some fancy framed records and a Wikipedia entry to tell you who he really was.
That doesn't happen anymore. The nightmares have been replaced with ones involving who is Alpha and who is Omega. And how long before someone snaps and tries to push the Devil off the cliff, bringing a curse down upon our heads that lasts a thousand lifetimes over, dooming us to the purgatory of hell on earth. How long before the Princess explodes, her head a magnificent cocktail of incendiary thoughts and explosive moods that threaten to blow it right off her fucking neck at any given moment and that is why he keeps his hand wrapped around it when he sleeps and who's going to look after that while he's gone and what if the job is easier for someone else and what if the plane goes into the Atlantic and what if the stars don't align and what if he likes it too much to come back and what if, what if, what if?
And none of the above is relevant to you specifically unless you, like Lochlan, ask me why I'm being so awful today and maybe it's because Ben promised he wouldn't go anywhere ever again but then you know, it's only ten days, Bridget and it will be over before you know it and all sorts of half-lies and...placations and crap spewed out and the very last thing I will be to Ben is Yoko Ono and so I nodded and told him he should totally go! And he pointed out that my eyes were far removed from the rest of my enthusiasm and then with equal alarm he assured me that Lochlan would be here. That only Dalton, Duncan and Corey are going with him so I have everyone else but I'd better miss him (Ben, that is) or he would be really sad.
I said I was already sad and I cried as I helped him pack. Best wife ever. He had to switch out to a larger suitcase just for all the misery I lovingly squished in around his things because I ran out of arms to hold it and I've always been told it loves company.
Nine days left.