No one saw, which is good. A tear slipped out when the pianist at Brandy’s Piano Bar sang the last verse of Coldplay’s “The Scientist.”
Nobody said it was easy, Oh it’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be so hard
I’m going back to the start
Brett asked, in his outside big boy voice, not if I was okay but, "Is it at all possible to be gay and not have a halfway decent voice?" This is an excellent question, but another tear slid down before I could respond. Soundtracks are like scents that way; they evoke, heightening things. For me, I might as well have had an ex at the table, bringing him into my next relationship. That’s how real music is for me; it has a past I keep.
The Suitor did it, pulled the cry out of me when he whispered, “I’ve never doubted us.” And that was it; I was done. Tears began to slip into my smile, and I couldn’t hold them in, as much as I tried. What the fuck am I becoming? Cry Girl? Dear God. But when it was happening, I was in the thick of it, and all I could think was, “I am HARD.” Hard, and impossible to live with. My emotions are always on supply, on a sleeve, on a pant leg, on anything you can see. I know other people like this. I can’t stomach them. They share too many feelings, are too needy, and just too expressive. I feel like pushing them into a gym and asking them to overextend themselves, exhaust that anxiety out, for all of us. I never see myself as that person, the one who uses up all the feeling in a room. I really hope I’m not like that. I mean, I hope no one I actually know would describe me like that. It’s one thing to be that way from time to time, and I can certainly understand if I appear that way on a blog, where all I do is whine and introspect. But sometimes it’s just exhausting to be around. I don’t know how it is that The Suitor isn’t constantly asleep beside me. I exhaust with my questioning of things, with my drama, with my need to feel. With his need to ask questions he already knows the answers to, to prove some point. With what I’m doing right here in this paragraph. It’s show don’t tell time. I’m exhausting. Then again, so is he. He exhausts me with his frenetic logic and lists. With his yelling rants and pointing fingers. I’m finally getting to know who he really is, how it will really be. It’s the crossover. It has been a little over a year.
There is a certain point in a relationship where everything clicks into place and you can see things differently. Ah, so this is how it’s really going to be. I’m going to drive him a bit crazy with my questioning of things. He’s going to intimidate me, ever so slightly, into being afraid of asking or saying certain things. But I’ll ask anyway; and on some level, that’s why he chose me. And he’ll put up with my doubts and worry because he loves the rest. We see what it’s like, after the layers of polite and like and lust are pulled back, and we’re both still staying.
“I don’t question us,” he continued while squeezing my hand beneath the wooden table. We must have had a big fight earlier in the night. It’s why it meant so much to hear it. He doesn’t ever question us. Even when I’m fat and difficult and give him the hardest time about the simplest things. And the thing is, I always question, and he always has faith in us. But really, deep down, I have just as much. I just question it, probably to hear what I need to hear, even though I already know the answer. I pull a Phil.
Baby I’m amazed at the way you love me all the time
Maybe I’m afraid of the way I’ll leave you
Baby, I’m amazed at the way you fool me all the time
You hung me on a line
Baby, I’m amazed at the way I really need you
I don’t know if anything in Manhattan makes me as happy as Brandy’s Piano Bar. I did know that The Suitor wanted to leave. I grabbed him and forced him to sway. “Thank you,” I say. I know he doesn’t want to be here. “I so love it here,” I continue into his ear in a loud whisper I didn’t realize was loud.
He pulls away and shouts back, “And I love you.”
“You’re never coming back here are you?”
And then he laughs and kisses me, then begins to clap along to Thunder Road.
I love this piano bar. I feel alive here, in this stage of a bar, belting.
The thing about Brandy’s–no matter how secure or wobbly your relationship—is when you hear “Careless Whisper” chasing “Lost in Love,” you watch the pianist close his eyes to hit the note, and you know no matter what happens, I’m going to be okay. Because I have me. I have everything I need within me to be okay. Piano bars give me that. They take me back to when I was singing at the top of things. On the front lawn at six AM, waking the neighbors with a rendition of "Maybe" from Annie. They take me back to the start.