Warning: Contains profanity
It was almost 1 am and I was on the balcony having a cigarette. I had just traveled several miles and wound up at a motel outside the city of San Francisco. I had been traveling for a few days and I decided I was going to land at my brother’s house for a few days. He told me to stop in. I knew he just wanted to know what I was up to. He had a boring ass life with a boring ass wife and boring ass kids to boot. I know that’s wrong to say about my nephews but I’m honest and blunt. He lives a lifestyle guys like me dream of but just can’t quite do what it takes to have it. I would glance proudly at the pictures he would send in the mail. I had never met my nephews before and they were around four years old. I had been traveling for a while. After our Grandfather passed and left a large inheritance I packed up and left the country before returning to a hotel in Vermont. Yes, I had been completely out of control for the past four years and I could not wait to hear it from my brother, Mason. But I was his older brother and I would not tolerate too much “schooling” from him. I’ll hear him out, maybe apologize, and try to find out where I can find a bar in town to finish off my night. I knew his wife. Nice woman, but I didn’t know too much about her. She seemed like the safe marrying type. Somewhat plain, dedicated, and domestic.
The air outside was brisk but comfortable. I wasn’t expecting it to be this cool but I was prepared. I had been traveling for days in different states. I had some business ventures I had been trying to dabble in but then I’d get bored and hire someone else to take care of it. I guess you could say I’m a simple kind of guy. I just need my car, guitar, and another city to travel to. Maybe a sexy girl to lay up with up from time to time.
I walked back into the motel room and looked around. What a piece of shit. I grabbed a few of my bags and walked out to my car throwing them into the back seat. I could feel my phone softly buzzing in the back of my pants.
“What’s up bro?” I smiled. I knew he was checking in to see where I was. He got the anxiety gene from our mother.
“What time are you heading this way?” It was Mason and he sounded grim. He was probably in bed with his dad pajamas on, flipping channels on his television. I could hear talking in the background.
“I may be there in a little bit. I’m actually already in town. The motel wasn’t my cup of tea so I’m headed out to find a bar. I’ll hop on the highway and head that way in a few.”
“You’re here? Why didn’t you call? Where are you?”
“Please relax. This is why I didn’t call you. I’ll call you when I’m on the way. I’m just going to grab a beer.”
I started the car and glanced at my phone map. I remember the heavy traffic that congested the city on my way in and decided I’d try something on the outskirts.
There was a hole in the wall that I figured I mine as well turn into before it was too late. It blinked away from the city and had somewhat of a nice view. It was small but it seemed like my type of place. I walked in, looked around, and took the seat at the very end of the bar. I pulled out my wallet and looked out at the view behind the bar that led to a small lake where people stood, having drinks and conversation. I looked behind me and checked the other corners of the bar quickly before settling in.
“What’ll it be tonight?” The bar tender was scruffy and round. He was chewing on a piece of gum and sweating through his shirt. His facial hair was black and prickly. His side burns were too long and thick, almost like a John Travolta after his prime with a 5 o clock shadow gone rogue. Behind him was a pretty girl picking up things. I noticed she had glanced over twice. “Sir?” He was impatient. I was debating. I knew I couldn’t over do it. I had to get back on the road. No women. No. Women. I watched her as she bent over to wipe the machines for the third time. I shook my head to stay focused.
“I’m sorry. Scotch straight man.”
“You got it.”
My phone started buzzing. The number was San Francisco but unknown. I held it for a while before deciding to answer. I picked up and waited.
“Hello?” There was a voice I recognized. It was soft but strong enough to make me sit up. Violet. “Johnny?”
“Hey Johnny. Wow. Your brother told me you were going to be in town. I didn’t know if I should call or not.”
“Wow is right. Your voice.” I took a sip of the scotch. It burned perfectly. I hesitated before saying, “I need to see you. It’s been a long time. I need to touch you.”
“Really?” There was a half giggle.
“Where are you? I’m coming now.” I glanced at my watch then looked around the bar again. The mood had slowed down and people were trickling out. I could hear voices escalating outside. It was definitely time to go.
“No Johnny. I’m not even dressed. I’m in bed.”
“You called me. At 1 am at that. You want to see me too. You don’t have to tell me where you are. You know I’ll find you. I’ll always find you.”
“You’re so silly. I’m at the Hilton. I was going to stay with Chanel but I decided I needed space to stretch out.”
“You got a hotel so I could come see you. I’m on the way.”
“I’ll meet you somewhere. I think I need some air and to see the city.”
“I’ll pick you up, we’ll go for a ride.”
Sorry bro. I knew after that phone conversation I would not make it in tonight. I was having second thoughts about crashing there anyhow. I mean, he has a family. They don’t need some rugged grown man with a few bags, guitars, and cigarettes hanging out around the house. And I wasn’t some bum that needed to crash on the couch.
My thoughts returned to Violet as I closed up my tab and hopped back in my car. I sped off into the night and hoped for it to be a smooth ride. I let the windows down and turned the music up. Every light turned green. It was like a red carpet drive. The only thing that could cause something like this to happen in San Francisco was Violet. The city turned me into a rolling stone just for her. Rolling wherever she would point that pretty finger, even if just temporarily. Don’t get me wrong, I know I sound like a puppy for her but she was something special. Hell, she was just different.
I can’t lie. There was so much to say about Violet but where could I begin. What were the odds that she would come visit around the same time as me? What was her deal?
I pictured her soft brown eyes looking into mine and making me instantly want to grab her and keep her safe from dragons and bad men. Although, I guess I might be a little bit of both. No one had every really made me feel the way she had. But she was a bit of a wild card. She wasn’t the type that you felt you should have because she was a safe choice. Not only did her beauty not allow it but she was the type that could see right through you. She was the type that would know your game and she may actually be up for it. In other moments she was as soft as a daisy in your hand. She could melt the hardest man into the ground. She had a lot of love to give but she tried to hide it from the world. She liked to try to act tough for the world. But I knew she was butter. I had all intentions of seeing if she was still the same girl I knew, but I couldn’t imagine her being anything different. She was an old soul, she had substance. But she never let anyone or anything put hooks in her to tie her to the ground. She would flutter her wings and disappear; Just so you could blame a cloudy day on her missing.
We had moments in the past. We would ride around the city. We would grab a drink. We would sit on the hood of my car and talk. She would tell me she wanted to go away. She was just like me, always going places. In those moments her spirit would soften and she would trust me to show it. I was never really man enough for her. Sure, I could handle her but something about her made me keep my distance. I was afraid of how she made me feel at times. A man who learns how to feel that way is ruined. I had too many things to do. I had plenty of women who I could call and be wild with. I had women I could call to come watch me play at a bar and they reveled in the moment of feeling like they were the only one. I would let them have their moment. Hell, I appreciated their company. After a show I would take them and kiss them slowly..because sometimes the music would make them soft as glaze in my hands. Other times, I’d kiss them hard and pull their hair back while it rained outside the bar. They would hate me. They would love me. But I was just me. Johnny. And I was on the road again. I just wanted to do some living before I died.
So there we were, sitting on the hood of my car like old times. We were away from the blinking city. The wind blew Violet’s hair back perfectly and she turned to look at me with a smirk.
“Johnny, Johnny. Here we are.” I grabbed my guitar from the back seat. I had already texted my brother to let him know I’d be there in the afternoon. “Four years you disappeared. What could you possibly have been up to? Are you secretly married? Kids?”
“I wanted to see the world. I needed a complete change of scenery and not just coast to coast. I went to a dark place when my grandfather died. You know he was like the father I never had. I just packed up everything. I had to get the hell out of dodge.”
“Yeah, I was down in Florida for a while after I got a job out there but that didn’t really work out,” Violet looked down. I could tell she felt uncomfortable and wasn’t going to provide any other details. I wasn’t going to press it. I was just glad we were here, in the night, with not one obligation.
“Sometimes things don’t work out,” I offered. “But you. There’s always something waiting for you.”
“Yeah.” I started slowly plucking strings. I then hopped up to pop the trunk and grabbed a few beers I stopped to get on the way there.
“This is just what we need,” I smiled.
“Every time you smile you have the softest crinkles around your eyes. I want to drown in them. But you were too cool for me to tell you before.” She twirled a strand of her hair before putting it behind her ear. I lit my cigarette and eyed her carefully. This was what I was talking about. Violet was good. Very good. She was perfect and she knew it. She also knew how to play with an ego to make you a sucker.
“I wrote a song about you,” I said tossing out the cigarette I hadn’t finished.
“After four years there should be more than one,” she smiled looking away.
“What if there was but I only wanted to tell you about one?”
“Lets hear it. Wait, are you going to your brother’s house? It’s extremely late.”
“No. not tonight.” We sat there for a while looking at each other. I could smell her in the air. I could taste her as I talked. “You know what?”
“Let’s leave the country. Forget about it, I got you. Lets just go.”
“Really?” She laughed and placed her hand on my shoulder. Her lips pursed up as if I was telling a bad joke.
“Let’s go tonight.” My face remained straight. I was burning holes in her eyes with mine and she instantly looked away. I smirked then.
“You’re so full of shit Johnny. What are you going to tell your hundreds of girlfriends?” She rolled her eyes and tilted her neck. Her eyes sparkled like curious diamonds that were on fire.
I pulled out my phone and we sat in silence for a while. I held out my phone to her to show two booked plane tickets to Florida.
“We’ll go from there.”
“So are you really just spending money like there’s no tomorrow?”
“No, a real man always has a plan. But for now in this moment, yes I am spending money. I can’t take it when I die; And when I die I want to say I took you all over the world before I did. How’s that?” She shyly looked away. I placed my finger under her chin to bring her face back towards mine. I was shocked by how soft she felt. I knew my brother was going to kill me, but I was ready to be ruined. I was ready to feel.
*Subscribe for Violet’s version coming soon.