A few weeks after I had agreed to go to college, Todd pops over at my house. He doesn’t stay long. He drops off some school supplies for me. Nothing much, just a few pencils and notebooks with built-in folders. Class necessities, he calls them. I prefer the term torture tools. Tomorrow is actually my first day of college.
A few hours after Todd leaves, my mom comes home from work and greets me in her usual way. “Hey honey. How was your day?”
I sigh, “Boring. Todd brought over some stuff for tomorrow.”
“Scary, huh? I know you’ll do fine. I can’t believe Todd is covering the cost for your college. I volunteered to pay, or at least help him out, but he refused.”
“Ehh, I don’t even want to go. Mom, when I came home from touring, you already knew about this whole thing. When did Todd talk to you about it?” She sets down her purse and keys on the counter and walks over to the table. She pulls out the chair in her favorite spot and plops down.
“He asked me about it a while back, actually. It was probably a month and a half or so before you guys finished touring.”
“Really? That long ago? This must be really important to him…” I rub my hands over my face. Ugh. I can’t let Todd down.
“Don’t worry, honey. College isn’t as bad as you probably think it is. I survived it.”
“You went for an associate’s degree. That’s only two years.”
“A tough two years,” she laughs. “Your father always wanted you to follow your dreams, you know that. But maybe this opportunity is just what you need. A little cushion for you fall back on for a while just in case-”
I cut her off, “Just in case the band falls apart like you’ve always wanted since the beginning. Yeah, Mom, I get it. College means I’m following in your footsteps like you’ve always wanted. I know you. I know Dad too. He played music. He was a rock star, in his own way, and you were okay with that. Why can’t you be okay with me in a band? Me in the music business, doing what I love?”
“…I am okay with you being in a band, following your dreams, and being successful. If I wasn’t okay with it, do you think I would let you just get up and leave for months at a time with a bunch of boys and that god awful girl Bronte? If I wasn’t okay with this, I wouldn’t have let you record a demo CD. I am okay with this. I’m more than okay. I’m grateful. You have always been more like your father than I ever thought possible. This situation right here even reminds me of him. We would have talks like these all the time. He felt like I never cared about the band or his touring, besides the fact he was gone all the time. He was gone when you were growing up. That’s why I was so upset with him all the time. He was missing out on you, Mia. And…that’s what I’m scared of. You’re eighteen. You have all these things to experience still, but you can’t because you’re in a van going to god knows where to play in some run-down bar. I just don’t want you to miss out on life.”I paused a second before replying to let everything soak in.
“Mom, I’m not missing anything. I’m out there experiencing what others can only dream about. It may seem crappy from your point of view, but I love this. I love traveling. I love playing in those crapholes where people will stand there with an ice cold beer and just enjoy what we’re playing. I love making friends with other bands. I love the smell that radiates from our van as we drive through the night after a performance. I love the feeling of being appreciated. I love this. Sure, I may never meet that one boy I was supposed to fall in love with while in college. Sure, I may never have to worry about being late for class or forgetting my project in my dorm. I can’t experience everything, Mom.”
She smiles at me with empty eyes, “I know. Music is your life. I understand that. You don’t give up…just like your father.” She gets up from the table and leaves the room. Probably to her room to cry. That’s what I would do if I had a daughter like me. One just like her father.
The night comes and goes as the morning sun erupts through my window. I wake up and look over at my alarm clock. I still have ten minutes to sleep. Typical. I roll over trying to fall back asleep magically as my mom rushes into my room in a panic. “Get up! Get up!”
I roll back over and give her a death stare, “Why?”
“You have to go to school!”
“I have…nine minutes. Go away.” I roll back over and close my eyes.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!