There isn’t much Lisa and I haven’t shared over the years. Actually that’s not true. There are a couple of things but they’re too few to mention. She has been my friend, confidant, keeper, sister, and personal assistant all in one. She’s run blocker for me with record companies, film studios, executives, old girlfriends, current girlfriends, the band, press, Marty, and everyone in between. Sitting in front of her trying to explain why I did the things I did and why I am the way, you get the idea, was a lesson in humility and great embarrassment for me. If there was anyone I didn’t want to disappoint besides my parents it was her. Riding the tremendous highs and lows of my life and career certainly hasn’t been a picnic. It’s not always fun having a front row seat. Not only are you privy to the good, bad, and ugly many times you’re dragged into it no matter how much you try to get out of the way. I suppose that’s how my life has been for the most part. When I used common sense and had a goal or purpose it was a blast. The other side of the spectrum is the side no one should see or become. Unfortunately for Lisa I put her in that position more times than she deserved. I gave her the ‘I’m sorry’ speech and vowed the same promises I made to Marty and myself. Her reaction was one I didn’t expect. “T, I love you and you know that but I’ve heard this song before. To be honest it’s getting old and I don’t want to take the fall for you anymore. I can’t be that person who keeps your secrets and hides your shit. It’s just too much. Seeing you in the hospital should have been your rock bottom. I know it was mine. You have no idea how close to death you’ve come on more than once occasion. I can’t and won’t be a party to that anymore. I’m not quitting or leaving you I’m just standing my ground by saying enough is enough. I hope you really mean what you say and carry through with it, I really do. But I can’t accept your promises on blind faith anymore. That well ran dry a long time ago.”
As I listened to her I realized she was right. I’ve always said ‘words are just words’ which is a terrible thing for a lyricist to say. It’s the action behind the sentiment that really means something, that carries all the weight. Reaffirming my words, “You don’t have to believe me. In fact I wouldn’t if I were you either. But I will prove it to you. Li I have no intention of coming back to a place like this ever again. I know what got me here and I’m not foolish enough to claim I am now reborn as an angel. You can I both know that’s bullshit. What I will say is I promise to try to be the best person I can be at all times. I’ve almost lost everything more than once including my life. No drug induced high is worth that price. I don’t want to be another musician junkie who died from an overdose. That’s not my place in history I want people to write or remember.” I don’t know what I said that convinced her but Lisa’s look softened as she reached out and touched the side of my cheek. “You can do it if it’s something you really want. I’ve never known anything to stop you before once you’ve put your mind to it, you’re a stubborn bastard. Just remember this experience and all the shit that got you here. If you slip and forget I know a handful of people that will individually and collectively kick your ass. You know who I’m talking about.” “Understood.” With the serious business out of the way there was the little matter of Darren and my subsequent hearing loss. Lisa was aware of the Darren mind fuck from Marty and voiced her opinion concerning how I should handle the situation. My hearing was a whole different matter. The conversation once again became very serious and rather grave. It may not seem like a big deal and maybe in the long run it’s not but understand my entire life has revolved around the music and sound. Much like a painter in fear of losing his sight, once that sense is gone what is there? It’s everything to a person like me. It’s how I make my living and pay the bills. It is in essence my life. Lisa said she detected something was going on months ago but she assumed it was just because I was fucked up or focused on other things. Obviously it was neither. The kick of it is I had to come to rehab to discover it.
Maria came to me with a hard look on her face. Like Lisa and Marty she had heard every excuse in the book and was tired of the same old song and dance. Here comes the apology speech which by now I was getting pretty good at. It’s not that I’m trying to make light of a bad situation but I would have preferred to talk to everyone together and not have to keep repeating the same shit over and over again. The meaning and sincerity was still there no matter whom I was talking to. I guess I was just wearing myself out. You have to remember I wasn’t used to all this upheaval and company in one afternoon. My days consisted of group therapy, a one on one session, eating, working out, meditating and writing, and sleeping. I did get a lot of writing done while I was here. It helped clear my mind and put things in perspective. I couldn’t blame Maria for her suspicions and lack of faith any more than I could Lisa. After speaking honestly and openly she asked a million dollar question. Not the one you would expect; did I still love and want her but “Do you have any more shit stashed around the house?” I had to think for a minute. I wasn’t stalling I really couldn’t remember. I know my shit in the upstairs bedroom was gone; I used that up during my shooting storm trooper episode. “There’s nothing in our master bedroom or any of the downstairs. I think there may be a couple of packets in the studio taped to the bottom of the soundboard. Unless Darren went in there and copped it for himself.” “And that’s it? That’s all of it?” I could detect the hesitance in her voice. “Yes, I really think that’s it.” “I’m not going to get rid of the guns but I’m going to go over the house with a fine tooth comb. If I find anything it’s getting flushed or burned, whichever I grab for first. I will not go to jail for you or anyone else. This nonsense stops now or I’m gone, and I really mean it this time. I told you once before I wasn’t going to hang around to bury you. I love you with all my heart but I won’t let you do that to me, to us.” Maria’s tough love routine always works. Maybe because I’m really a pussy or just love her that much. In either case I knew she was serious but it wasn’t all harsh. There were moments while we were sitting there talking a lot of heartfelt feelings boiled to the surface. She showed me a vulnerable side I had rarely seen but knew was inside. She did love me deeply and only wanted the best for me. It was my turn to want the same for myself.
Although I myself had lingering doubts I dare not share. Speaking with Lisa and occasionally Sheila only complicated matters. Darren always has a conspiracy theory so talking to him about anything deep was usually a waste of time unless he wanted to chat. I had heard rumors for a couple of years that Maria’s hands weren’t as clean as they appeared. The obvious accusations rose she had been screwing around behind my back, switch-hitting. For those that don’t grasp the concept; she was back fucking men. I couldn’t prove anything conclusive though I tried. If she were she covered her tracks better than the CIA and FBI ever could. Yeah, I get I was wasted most of the time and highly paranoid but in those lucid moments there were signs not even I could ignore, though I tried. Of course I had eyes and ears in every corner of my world. The more information that passed my way the more obvious it became something wasn’t Kosher in Denmark. Doing my own detective work just added more doubt to my shaky feelings. Let’s face it; her being with men was the one thing I couldn’t compete with. I don’t have the plumbing though a reasonable facsimile is certainly an option, popular and highly possible. Sex toys are a wonderful thing. On a couple of occasions I got the balls to ask her straight out. The response was always cold and evasive. It never ceases to amaze me how some people can’t answer a yes or no question simply by just saying yes or no. Changing the subject, deflecting, bullshitting, how ever you want to surmise, by doing one or all of the above makes you look guilty as sin sweetheart. The reality of that can’t be denied. So just say it. I’d rather you hurt me with the truth than lie to me and I find out on my own later. That’s never a good or smart alternative. Maybe I was just pussy-whipped which I completely comp to. There was something about Maria that made me melt and at times it was embarrassing and made me feel weak. No matter what the truth of the situation was she did stick out this shit with me. I have to give her that and it was all at this point I had to hang on to. Although I’m sure if push came to shove Sheila would have taken me back under her wing and gotten me back into shape.
Looking back hindsight is always twenty-twenty. I could cop-a-plea and say this was the main reason I was drugging. But in all honesty it wouldn’t be completely true. Though the idea of Maria sucking dick again did send me over the bend it’s not the only factor of my self-medication. I had nothing concrete just an intuition. Gay or straight, all women have the ability to see or feel their way through someone’s bullshit and seek out the truth whether they want to or not. Maybe Maria was jealous of all I had, accomplished, desired. How presumptuous of me to put myself on a pedestal. It’s not unheard of to envy your partner’s accomplishments. The fact of the matter had always been I shared it all with her, possibly more than I should have. But love makes people do stupid shit. It can make grown men crawl on their hands and knees for a piece of ass or a crumb of affection. Who am I to say or pass judgment? I know I’d been a pain in the ass for years. I was hard to handle, impossible to deal with, a real brat. Then again this could have all been in my head, a figment of my imagination. I’ll never know anything for sure. In the meantime we’ll pick up where we left off with a few acceptations.