October 21, 2017

Today was spectacular! Robbie and I woke up early. I wanted to stay in bed longer but he said he was excited to be there and wanted to get going. I know he’s really just worried about sex. He wants to go slow. I don’t get that. It’s just sex. He says that’s not true. We have talked about this for so long.

We are going to see James grave. Robbie hasn’t been there since he died, when him, his brother and mother drove straight here and straight back from the Midwest. After the funeral Robbie went back home and didn’t come back, other than the couple hours when he drove thru when we were 19. I have never gone back either.

It had been so long that we had to go in and ask where his grave was. It took us about 15 minutes to find it. We could tell it had been awhile since anyone had been there. Robbie cleaned off his plaque. I had forgotten that they used his senior year picture. James was three years older than me when he died. Here I was looking at his smiling, handsome face. We are 46 and he will forever be 19 years old.

I took some pictures of Robbie next to his plaque. It was emotional for Robbie. They had been like brothers.

We left to drive to our old neighborhood. Daisy lives there now and I’ve gone to her house but I’ve never driven by any of our old houses. I’ve never driven through there and remembered.

There was the corner where Daisy and I met Grady for the first time. Austin’s house, where I saw Luke for the first time. My old house, where Robbie made me so mad one day that I punched him thru my bedroom window because he was mocking me on the other side!!

Today, we drove thru to remember, and I cried. Life was so fun and it was so easy back then. I could feel the ache of memories. The ache of when life was so not complicated. We all grew up and moved away. Luke and James and Grady and Victoria’s brother have all died. Robbie took pictures of his old house to show his parents and brothers.

We drove past James house. We couldn’t remember exactly which one it was. Everything looked so different but I could still see us all standing at the bus stop, in the wind when it was still warm outside, smoking cigarettes hoping our parents didn’t see us.

Robbie went to knock on the door of the house we thought was James’. It was a bright sunny day and someone answered the door but the house was dark inside and we couldn’t see the person who answered.

Robbie started explaining who we were and that his best friend James used to live there. The door opened and there was James mom, still there after all these years. She invited us in and we chatted for a few minutes. She told us that her husband had passed away a few years ago and that James sister moved out of state. She gave Robbie a framed picture of James and we left.

We drove down the street and Robbie wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to spend more time with her. She was all alone, no family around and she was such a sweet lady. He asked me if I thought she would have gone to lunch with us. I said there was only one way to find out and I turned the car around.

She agreed to lunch and we had the best time with her, reminiscing. Robbie got emotional talking about James and how close they were. We took her back home and thanked her for going with us. I’m going to go back and visit her.

We left and it was so sad leaving our old neighborhood. Our home. We drove away from our past. I wanted to put a bubble over it and stay there forever.

We found a record store because that’s what Robbie does every where he goes. He is always in search of any album he doesn’t have, to add to his collection. Not an easy task since he owns so many. He is a talker so we were in that store for two hours talking to the owner about every concert they had ever been too.

We left and headed to LA. We decided to stay the night out there since he had an early afternoon flight back home. He booked us a room online and we headed to Hollywood.

We got a room right on Sunset strip. We had a huge mural of James Dean over our bed. Can’t get any more awesome than that. I took pictures and sent them to Rae.

He walked across the street to go to the store and brought back a bottle of Jim Beam and a Coke. We took turns taking shots of each. He laughed and told me to slow down so he didn’t have to carry me home later. We would laugh about that statement in the morning…

We sat in that room for about two hours drinking and listening to music and talking. He found some of his music on YouTube and played it for me.

He played a song by Ray LaMontagne called Jolene. By this time he was buzzed and I was drunk. I was sitting on the bed and he was sitting in the chair while that song played. Ray LaMontagne’s voice is weathered. I don’t know how else to describe it. You hear his voice and you feel it in your soul. I sat cross legged on the bed while Robbie smoked a cigarette next to an empty bottle of whiskey, Jolene playing, while he sang the words and looked right at me.

“A picture of me holding a picture of you “.

I have never loved anyone more than I loved him in that moment. Heart pounding, knee weakening, stomach fluttering, scared to death, love. I had to grip on to the sheets to keep myself from going to him and sitting on his lap and never letting go.

Our Uber got there. We were going to a concert at a club. On the way there our driver picked up an English girl. She was here for the summer and was really sweet. I asked her if she liked it here and she said she did. We got on the subject of how Brits hate Americans. Robbie told her that the only good thing that ever came out of England was The Beatles and America. We were all drunk and that was hysterical! How can you not love him??

We got to the club and he bought our tickets. We got in and he opened a tab and got me a drink and he got himself a double shot and a beer. He also got us a VIP table. The drinks started rolling.

We walked outside so he could smoke. I was drunk at that point. I just straight up asked him if he was going to sleep with me. He was like, right this second? I said no, but tonight when we get back. He said he didn’t know, he said he didn’t do casual sex anymore. He said he’s spend that last 25 years having casual sex and he was done, that he wasn’t having sex again until he found “the one”. I was suddenly so sad. Was he saying that I wasn’t the one? We turned to go inside and he grabbed me and hugged me right there on Sunset under the marquee sign, buried his face in my neck and said I love you, Alabama. I told him I loved him too. I never wanted to let go.

We went back in and I could see how drunk he was getting so I stopped drinking. I was really drunk though. We sat at our table and we let this other couple sit with us. They were fighting the entire time and right now they were arguing over him cheating and her doing too much cocaine. How can you not love LA?

I look over at Robbie and he was passed out in our booth. He was starting to lean and I was having a hard time holding him up. A bouncer came by and told me to wake him up or we had to leave. I could not get him to wake up. I was trying to get an Uber but I was so drunk I couldn’t figure out how to log in to my Uber account. The bouncer came back and said we had to go and he ordered us a cab.

Then I realized that I had no idea where we were staying. I texted Rae in a panic, telling her I didn’t know where to have the cab take us. Rae gave me the name of the hotel and I was amazed and then I thought she had a tracker on my phone. I didn’t remember until I got back home that I had sent her pictures of the hotel.

The bartender came over to close out the tab. If she hadn’t done that I would have walked out without his card. The bouncer came by and found Robbie’s wallet on the floor. We were a mess.

The cab got there and two bouncers came to help us out. They each grabbed Robbie by an am and suddenly he was awake. I told him we were leaving and he said “no, we aren’t, we haven’t watched the band”. I told him that we did and he said “no we didn’t and we’re not leaving “. I said ok then let’s go smoke and he smiled and said ok. Lol. We got outside and they opened the cab door and tossed us both in.

Robbie passed out and we had the cab ride from hell. I dont think the cab driver looked up from his cell phone one time. He drove outrageously fast and weaved in and out of traffic. It felt like we jumped on Mr. Toads Wild Ride. We finally got to the hotel and I dug out the first card I could find in Robbie’s wallet. I thought the cab driver was going to help us up to the hotel but he just opened the door and kicked us out.

Now I had to get Robbie up two flights of stairs and neither of us we’re stable on our feet. We managed to make it to our room! I found the key and for the life of me I could not get the door open. Robbie grabbed the key and managed to get it open. We walked in, he hit the bed and he was out. I managed to get his shoes off and that was it.

He woke up in the middle of the night and told me he was sorry for getting so drunk. He wrapped his arms around me and we fell back asleep. We woke up late. Robbie had to get to the airport and he was so hungover. We grabbed all our stuff and left. We had no time to go get food. We realized that we hadn’t eaten since our lunch with James’ mom yesterday afternoon.

We made it to the airport minutes before his flight took off. I opened the trunk and was handling him his stuff in a rush. I didn’t want him to miss his flight. He grabbed me and held me and hugged me and buried his face in my neck. I just stopped and hugged him tight and breathed in his smell. I teared up because he was leaving again. I always miss him so so much.

I left and he missed his flight. I told him I was coming back to get him but he said he was going to sleep for two hours in the airport until his flight was ready.

My hangover lasted for three days. Never again, I promised myself, would I drink that much….


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