Lip Sync

It was the first time Jenny Mulligan had allowed her daughter to do something on this scale without adult supervision. Though she never thought of herself as an overly protective mother (as her daughter’s halter top and skimpy skirt certainly proved) she certainly felt more so at this moment than she could recall ever feeling before. In contrast, her daughter’s friend, Christina, was dressed like a nun.

Why didn’t I put my foot down?

“Text me during the last song,” Jenny Mulligan reminded Lauryn for the umpteenth time.

“I told you I will,” Lauryn replied with no effort to conceal her annoyance.

They were parked at a fast food restaurant in downtown Detroit, down the street from Joe Louis Arena, where the Cee Monkeez were about to make the dream of every tween-age girl in metro Detroit come true.

“And by last song, I mean encore,” Jenny reiterated.

“What’s an encore?”  Lauryn asked with the ignorant arrogance of a teenager. Jenny explained it.

“You think there will be one?” Lauryn asked.

“There always is. Trust me, I’ve been to my share of concerts.”

“Mostly lame ones, I’m sure,” Lauryn said with an exaggerated eye roll.

“Looking back, maybe so, But at the time …”

“Yeah, sure.”

“They weren’t the Cee Monkeez … I will leave it at that.”

“The Cee Monkeez are the best band ever,” her daughter insisted. Christina nodded in agreement.

“Just wait,” Jenny warned. “You will feel the same way when you’re–”

“Old?”

“Have fun,” Jenny said, changing the subject. “I’ll pick you up right here.”

“What are you going to do?” Lauryn asked.
Jenny pointed to the book sitting on the dashboard.

“The whole time?” Lauryn asked.

“Don’t worry about me,” Jenny said. “Go and have fun. And don’t do anything stupid.”

“Same to you,” Lauryn smirked.

“Yeah, sure,” Jenny said.

“Are you sure you’re not jealous?” Lauryn asked, with no regard to the fact that the original plan was a mother-daughter date. So yes, Jenny was a bit jealous. Not because she was going to miss out on such catchy hits as “Stroke my Heartstring” and “Booty-Shaped Heart”, but because she was missing out on a perfect opportunity for some much needed quality time. It was a hope that faded as soon as Lauryn let it slip that she would much rather go with her friend instead, Though hurt, Jenny didn’t let on. Besides, she understood perfectly well.

Once up on a time, she had done the same thing.

What comes around goes around.   

“Jealous? You mean other than of your age?” Jenny said.

Lauryn smiled as she and Christina climbed out of the car and scurried across the street on a flashing light.

As Jenny watched her daughter grow more distant, she was astounded by not only how grown up her only child now looked, but, by extension, by her own age. The big 4-0 was a mere two weeks away.

Where did my little girl go? Where did I go?

Jenny grabbed her library copy of a bestselling thriller she had waited four months to get her hands on, accompanied by a cool spring breeze that wafted through her half-rolled down window. It was chilly air, but a refreshing antidote to the warm sun coming through her windshield, which made it feel warmer than it actually was.

She tried in vain to read, distracted by the hordes funneling into the one-night tween mecca. Perhaps even more diverting was a sudden seepage of envy she that coursed through her bloodstream. She wasn’t so much envious of today in particular, but rather of everything the concert represented: her bygone youth; her only child’s quickly passing youth, slipping further and further into the recesses of time.

And then everything was overshadowed by concern and regret: though she would be close-by, what kind of guarantee was there that her daughter would be safe if she was out of sight? She remembered having the same conversation with her mother when she wanted to go to her first (of five!) Boyz wit’ a Z concert 23 years ago. Her father was naturally opposed. But the buck stopped with her mother on all parenting decisions, so she played up that card. After a series of bitter tantrums that morphed into soft pleas, her mother finally relented.

It was the best Christmas gift of her life.

Looking back, she liked to pictured her mother carefully wrapping and then placing the tickets into her tattered stocking. Just like she did with her own daughter years later.

She shuddered at the thought that she caved because of any pressure or desire to be a “cool parent.” She couldn’t help but feel like a hypocrite; she was always irked by parents who put friendship above parenting.

It wasn’t so much that she wanted to be her daughter’s friend, but wanted to prove to her daughter – and in many ways, to herself – that she wasn’t “lame.” That she was and is cool. That she still had a pulse. For the past couple of years, she felt a constant need to prove to her daughter that she was more than just a “mom”. That she didn’t just once have a life. But still did. Then there were parts of her she hoped her daughter would never know: that once upon a time, she gave blowjobs to half of her class before she was her daughter’s age and had lost her virginity by the age of 13. In fact, she was so determined to keep this part of her self hidden from her daughter, she was doing everything in her power to appear as square as possible in the spirit of being a “good mom.”

And how far the mighty had fallen. Despite her fast start, she had actually stopped desiring sex years ago. She had burned all of her fuel. She couldn’t even remember the last time she had sex. She could remember the last time he had sex, but she couldn’t fully blame him. He certainly wasn’t getting it at home.  Of course, her husband only saw himself as a victim in this. It wasn’t that she wanted to feel this way. And she certainly never thought she would be able to feel this way.

Though she had given him the greenlight to pursue other options, it wasn’t until she saw physical evidence that it had begun to bother her. Then it became more real to her. Less abstract.

Looking for a distraction, she grabbed her book and headed across street toward a diner, only to find herself wandering through the doors of a dive bar next door. She felt moved by forces out of her control.

Why should only my daughter have all the fun?

She sat at the nearly empty bar and ordered her old, familiar drink: rum and diet Coke.

At least some things never change.

She reflected on her life at this exact instant:

Half empty? Or half full?  

She settled on the realization that she was somewhere in the middle – a no man’s land between the two islands with no boat to navigate the chasm between the two.

She received her drink and took a long, much-deserved sip, taking notice of handsome, but slightly disheveled man two bar stools away from her, half-hunched at the bar. He appeared downtrodden. Or was he just tired?  He looked back at her, making brief eye contact. And then she nearly shat herself.

It couldn’t be….

…but there was no doubt: it was Randy Rogers, former lead singer of Boyz wit’ a Z. She was obsessed with the band…but even more so with Randy.

As much as she didn’t want to trouble him, she figured he might be flattered by the attention.

“Excuse me,” she began feebly, “but are you …”

A clear view of his face erased all doubts.

“Yes,” he said, completing her thought with a hint of what seemed like shame.

She couldn’t tell if he was annoyed, or just simply indifferent to her intrusion. He seemed more haggard and melancholy than he would have expected from such a star.

Former star.

Then again, who was she to judge?  It wasn’t like she ever knew him. She only knew his public image.

An image from twenty years ago.

He had been out of the public spotlight for years. No social media presence. Even his fan club had ceased to exist. So in her mind, the Randy Rogers of her childhood was a timeless monument cast in stone.

Despite his crow’s feet and hint of grey in his hair, if she squinted, he looked exactly the same as he had 20 years before.

This wasn’t her first one-on-one encounter with Randy Rogers. At her second concert, he turned her down for an autograph. And she felt the same nervous feeling she had when she approached him all those years ago.

“Is it really you?”

“More like a ghost,” the former heartthrob began, not looking up from his drink. “Or perhaps a shell of me.”

He didn’t seem to be affected by her presence at all.

“You don’t know how many times I imagined this exact moment.”

“Bet it’s been awhile,” he said. This time, he looked up, sporting a sarcastic grin.

“This is just …” she continued to struggle for the right words.  “I mean, I can’t—”

“Believe this is happening?” he interrupted, as though they were both reading from the same script.

“Yes.”

“There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t hear this.”

He seemed more annoyed than flattered. She understood to an extent. He couldn’t even have a drink alone without some middle-aged soccer mom dragging him out of the shadows of his solitude.

“You look far too young to be a former fan.”

She saw right through his bullshit. But liked it.

“So you must still get recognized a lot?”

“Yes, but typically only by 40 year old women.”
“So your audience aged with you…”

“Good thing, too. Otherwise, I’d still be fucking 13 year olds.”

Was he serious? His smirk made it difficult to tell. She wished she had been one of them. One thing was clear: she certainly didn’t outgrow him.

“I find it hard to believe that you are old enough to have been one of my many adoring, number one fans”

“Your biggest,” she said, dreamily. “And I’m still under 40!” she said, stopping just short of a wink.

“Still my biggest now?”
“That same little girl is still buried somewhere deep inside me. She just has to be

found.”

“What does that mean?”

“What do you want it to mean?” she asked.

He flashed a seductive smirk.

She still struggled to grasp the fact that this was reality. She snuck another glance at him. Despite his downtrodden demeanor, he was still in remarkable shape. Beneath the scruff, his baby face was still intact.

“I wrote you so many letters. At one point, I think I wrote you a different letter for like two weeks straight. Each one getting more and more desperate. By the time I got to the last one, all that was left to say was: “I HATE YOU.”

“I think I remember that.”

“Yeah, right. You probably didn’t even open up your fan mail.”

“I did! Sometimes. I mean, early on, all of it. But then I had to hire an assistant to do it for me. It eventually got so out of hand, she had to start tossing them out. And then later recycled when that became a thing.”

She?

“She had other job duties…” he said, leaving no doubt as to what he meant.

“Guess I shouldn’t have taken it so personally then,” she said, giggling like the schoo girl she once knew so well and was suddenly back from the dead.

“When you’re that young, you think the world revolves around you,” he said. “Then you grow up. Unless you turn into a pop star, which is when you find out the world truly does revolve around you. The fall from grace when you find out that’s no longer true is harder than any other.”

“Was it all worth it?” Jenny asked.

“At the time, definitely. But there are plenty of times I ask myself that very question.”

“So what if I were to write you now?”

“You don’t need to. We’re here in person.”

“I mean, suppose we never met.”

“Well, even though I still get a fair amount of mail – mostly e-mail –  I can now read most of it. And even reply back occasionally. The only real difference is that back then, I took everything for granted. Fan mail was an expectation. Now, I am flattered. An absolute privilege.”

“Wow …the ego truly can be tamed,” she said.

“I guess it’s a side effect of getting old.”

“Well, for the record, time has been kind to you.”

“Vegan diet,” he said, rattling his glass. “And bourbon.”

She laughed, then realized that he was being more serious than she had given him credit for.

“You don’t find it disturbing to get all of this fan mail from 40-year-old women?”

“No. What I find disturbing is that they still read like they were written by 10-year-olds. Only, more R-rated.”

“I’m sorry I never wrote back,” he said, almost as an afterthought.

“No you’re not.”

“Trust me when I tell you with 100% confidence that current me is apologizing on behalf of the former me. To you. And every other fan I ignored. The millions of them.”

“Like when you blew me off when I asked for an autograph?”

“Yes. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t sign one for every girl asked. Though, I did usually skip the ugly ones.”

“You literally told me: ‘Get the fuck out of my face.’”

“I can’t imagine you would have been ugly…” he said, before he held up his glass for a toast and added: “Please accept my most humble apology.”

They each sipped their drink.

“If my friends could see me now…” Jenny began.

“They’re stuck in the past, too?”

“It wasn’t that long ago.”

“Time is fluid,” Randy said, turning philosophical. “But then it isn’t.”

“Deep.”

“Are you mocking me?” Randy asked.

“Maybe a little,” Jenny said with a hint of flirtation.

“So what are you doing here, anyway?” she asked. “In Detroit?”

“Book promotion.”

“You wrote a book?”

“Surprised you didn’t pre-order it,” he said, gesturing toward her book.

Swagger still in check.

“I would have had I known.”

“That’s why I’m trying to get some press so my fans will know about it. He noticed her book.Watcha reading?”

“Oh, typical chick lit shit,” she said. She looked down with embarrassment.

“Anyways,” Randy continued. “It doesn’t help that the reporter for an interview, canceled at the last minute.”

“Rescheduled?” Jenny asked.

He shook his head. “Editor changed her assignment. Bullshit code for: ‘let’s find someone more relevant.’ But little does she know, I am about to become relevant again. I’ve been recording music.” He beamed with pride.

“Oh yeah?” Her curiosity was piqued. “What kind?”

“Folky, indie stuff. Thinking of performing in some small venues. Under the moniker: ‘Strategic Grapefruit.’

“What does that even mean?” she said, holding back laughter.

“Not really sure. Wanted something mysterious. A little artsy. To let the world know I am serious and not the teeny-bopper everyone still thinks of me as.”

“So hipster.”

“Not trying to be, but if I am, then so be it.”

“Well, I’m definitely intrigued.”

A wave of silence passed over them. They sipped their drinks.

“So what are you doing here?” he finally asked.

“My daughter’s at a Cee Monkeez concert.”

“Of course she is…” he said, rolling his eyes.

“What does that mean?” Jenny asked.

“Fucking amateurs. That’s what that means.”

She got the sense that jealousy was at play here, but wasn’t going to let on.

“Oh, come on. You were once that group.”

“Ah, but therein lies the rub…we played our own instruments. And would never have auto-tuned.”

“I agree. You were much more talented than the shit my daughters listen to.”

She caught him looking at the ring on her hand.

Why didn’t I take it off?

She had never been more aware of the ring’s existence. And for the first time since the ring had been placed on her finger, she found herself wishing it wasn’t there. She got the since that it wouldn’t have made a difference to him one way or another.

“Married?”

“In theory.”

“Well, that looks like solid evidence to me.”

“Well, not all evidence should be taken at face value.”

What the fuck am I saying?

“So what exactly do you mean?” he asked her.

“I’m going to need another drink,” Jenny stammered. “Bartender? Another please?”

“So go on…” Randy gestured.

“About my marriage?”

“Yes. Remind me why I never want to get married.”

“Well, we live together. Have a kid together. But we simply just …”

“Co-exist?”

“Yes.”

“That’s no way to live,” Randy proclaimed.

“Don’t have much of an option.”

“Sure you do. You always do.”

“Easier said than done. The whole kid factor.”

Randy leg brushed against her. She didn’t pull away. He clearly saw an opening and was going for it.

Could she have opened the door any wider?

She suddenly realized that she was defaulting to her 13-year-old self, but with an adult’s libido. A dangerous combination.

She couldn’t remember the last time she felt this vulnerable. She saw exactly where this was heading, but refused to believe it. The bartender delivered her drink and she promptly knocked it over.

“I’m so sorry.”

“No worries,” the bartender said. “I’ll fix you another.”

“No, I’m good,” Jenny said. “It’s a sign I should stop drinking.”

She noticed his drink was gone. “But can I buy you a drink?” she asked him.

“You don’t have to do that…”

“Consider it a thank you for or all the joy you brought this little girl once upon a time.”

“I have another idea. How about I fix us both a drink at my hotel. It’s right around the corner. I’ll play you some of my demos.”

And just as quickly as he offered, she accepted without hesitation. She was standing on a fulcrum between her present mess of a life and her childhood fantasy. She couldn’t help but feel that that she was owed this. It would be one singular moment of indiscretion with a man she had fantasized about more than any other. How could she not go through it?

He picked up her tab, leaving what appeared to be at least a $50 tip. She then followed him toward the exit. As he held the door for her, she was not only certain about this decision, but she was prepared to bend over, crawl on her hands and knees, and take it up the ass if that’s what he wanted. Suddenly, her long-dormant deep freeze had morphed into a hotbed of molten lava.

He led her across the street to the recently-restored Book-Cadillac Hotel, and up the elevator to his suite.  She hoped that it would be a suite, but realized she probably missed that boat by at least 15 years. But by mortal standards, his room was not too shabby.

He suavely motioned for her to have a seat on his immaculately prepared king-sized bed.

Like sitting on a cloud.

“Wine?” Randy asked.

“Merlot okay?”

“Merlot is perfect.”

She hated red.

She watched from her cloud as he opened up a new bottle of wine, keeping close tabs to make sure he didn’t add anything extra. She convinced herself that it was an irrational fear. He knew that he didn’t have to drug women to have sex with them. He was the drug. She just wanted to make sure she was conscious when he fucked her.

She settled her thoughts on how many times she had fantasized about this exact scenario – a lineage that could be traced back to the first time she masturbated.

She ignored the twinge of guilt that was threatening to ruin the moment. Not so much that she was about to have sex with another man, but the fact that she was about to give another man the satisfaction that her husband had been waiting in agony for three months and counting. In fact, the elapsed time between sessions was widening each time.

In order to focus on the task at hand, she told herself that she could feel all the guilt in the world afterward. She refused to let guilt ruin this moment. Her moment. What she wanted more than anything was to savor this moment, removing all sense of past, present, and future.

He closed the curtains, making her feel a cocktail of unease and excitement, then started playing some grating folksy music on his iPad that sounded like a tone deaf Bon Iver-Sufjan Stevens hybrid.

He walked over with two wine glasses and sat down next to her, leaving no space between them. Her body tingled with arousal.

“Like it?” he said.

She liked neither the wine, nor the music he was using to forge his comeback. It was God-awful, but she nodded, pretending to enjoy it, taking a sip of her God-awful wine.

“I think it’s the best work I have ever done.”

“It’s definitely got … promise.”

She hated lying. But what else could she possibly do in this situation?

And doesn’t ‘Strategic Grapefruit’ just seem to make more sense now that you hear it?”

“Yeah. Totally,” she lied through her teeth.

She couldn’t help but feel more and more sorry for him.

He offered her a toast as the music kept playing.

“To my number one fan.”

They clinked glasses as he slid an arm around her waist. She cozied up to him, before she took an abnormally large sip of her wine and nearly gagged. She cautioned herself not to drink too much – not to avoid doing something she would regret, but to make sure she wouldn’t distort her memory of the night. On the other hand, there was the offhand chance that if she remained too sober, she might back out while she still had a chance.

They took a couple more sips before he leaned in for a kiss. It was amazing how natural and predictable everything about it felt. This exact fantasy had been played over so many times in her mind, it was like muscle memory.

Within seconds, she allowed him to lower her onto the bed, where they made out with their clothes on like teenagers, against the excruciating cacophony of his “comeback” garbage. She tried everything in her power to tune it out. But it was impossible.

She had forgotten how good it felt to want warm body against her, as opposed to pushing one away: her husband. Plus, his feet were always cold.

Without hesitation, she allowed Randy to do something she hadn’t let her husband do since they were newlyweds: go down on her. Within a minute, she was dangerously approaching completion, but held back. She knew she had the capacity to come again, but knew it was never as good the second time around. She wanted to wait for the real thing.

She unbuckled his pants as they continued making out. She pulled his boxes down, took one look, and recoiled.

What the fuck?!

Half-cast in shadow, she assumed that the lighting – or lack thereof – was playing tricks on her. But another, more definitive look confirmed her suspicions.

He had a micro-penis.

She pretended she didn’t notice (which didn’t take much effort) and quickly tried to replace the reality with the fantasy that had infatuated her mind all those years ago. However, the fantasy was dissolving by the minute. Even though she couldn’t shake the reality, she didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Surely, he was self-conscious about it. How could he not be?

Worried she was already letting on, she took his mini-pecker in her hand, hoping it would somehow continue to blossom. It was wishful thinking. At no point had a small dick ever entered into her fantasy of this exact moment. And it wasn’t that she particularly fantasized about him having an abnormally large dick, either. Size never really played into it. The allure of having sex with him was her primary focus. Average, or large, it wouldn’t have mattered. Micro was a whole other story. However, right now – in the moment – his size was the only thing she could think about.  Years of fantasy practically reduced to rubble. Her 20-year fantasy – the fulcrum of the entirety of her youth – was fading away before her very eyes. In some ways, she had mourned the passing of that era years ago, keeping it forever preserved in her memory. Nostalgia riding off into the sunset was one thing. But watching it die a slow, prodding death in front of her eyes was another thing altogether.

It was fucking depressing.

And there was nothing she could do about it.

Despite her bleak outlook, she still had hope that the sex was going to be great. She refused to let a small pecker ruin her night.

The time had finally come as he readied his mini-pilot for a smooth landing. With her blessing, he entered. Or, at least she thought he did. She honestly couldn’t tell. In fact, she had to sneak a feel down there just to make sure.

She sadly confirmed: he was in.

And less than a minute later, it was all over. For him at least. Following three rapid thrusts, he quivered, as though in the throes of a seizure or stroke – before coming to a motionless rest. At first, she thought that maybe he had dropped dead. (A drug overdose would not have been a shocker). But his gentle sobs revealed otherwise. He was merely finished.

He collapsed next to her in a heap. When she looked over, she noticed that he was weeping. The illusion was beyond shattered. It was obliterated. He was tearing down an entire empire that she had built up in her mind over 20 years ago and continued to cultivate as absolute, unequivocal truth. And he had no clue. Or did he? Perhaps it was the pressure that destroyed him.

She wasn’t sure whether to take pity on him … or herself.  As he continued to weep, she cradled him like a baby. Neither said a word. What could they possibly say? “I’m so sorry,” he said, finally breaking the silence.

“Don’t be,” was all Jenny could muster.

“I can’t believe it’s happening again.”
“What?”

“I’m so pathetic.” He didn’t elaborate, but she had a pretty good sense as to what he meant.

She had already gotten the sense that he was a bit of a downtrodden has-been. Now, he was a downtrodden-has-been cursed with a small dick and premature ejaculation. He no longer stood on the pedestal Jenny had placed him upon so long. She didn’t even have to yank him off it. He tumbled. And the fall from such great heights would surely leave an indelible mark

The act of finishing early wasn’t nearly as pathetic as his woe-is-me response to it. She looked down at his now even smaller, shriveled dick, slipping out of the condom which was still clinging pathetically to wet flesh. She felt a cocktail of compassion, disgust, and shame flowing through her entire being.

“You don’t have to be sorry,” she assured him. She had to muster every ounce of energy to get these words out.

“It’s just so tough to live up to the expectation,” Randy said, sniffling. “Like boxing shadows.”

“You’re real. It’s fans like me that aren’t. We’re the ones with delusions of grandeur.”

He continued weeping  “It would just be nice to live up to the ideal from time to time.”

“You have already done so much for girls like me.”

What the fuck? I’m Randy Rogers’ fucking therapist now?!

“That was then. But what about now?”

“Just keep making music. And we’ll keep coming.”

Even shitty music.

This seemed to perk him out of his funk.

“You don’t need to be so hard on yourself,” she continued. “You have brought so much joy into this world. That could never be taken away. From any of us.”

She couldn’t believe the cheese that was coming out of her mouth.

“You made us all feel sexy before we were,” Jenny assured him. “We will never forget you.”

“But if only they knew the truth about –” he stopped himself just short, before gesturing toward his little shrimp.

“Most won’t. The fantasy will always remain intact. And I would like to thank you for bringing that girl back from the dead tonight.”

“And thank you for reminding me of my God-like powers, despite my physical limitations. I took so much for granted back then. But just know that now, I am so grateful for all of your support.”

They smiled at each other in mutual understand.

“Shit,” she blurted out.

“What’s wrong?” Randy asked, wiping away his tears.

It had just dawned on her. She hadn’t checked her phone since she arrived at the hotel. She scrambled to locate her phone and noticed several missed calls and texts from Lauryn. She called her back.

“Is it over?” Jenny asked.

“Where are you?”” Lauryn demanded through the phone. “We’re by your car. Why weren’t you picking up?”

“I’ll be right there.”

She hung up the phone.

What a fucking great parent I am, making my little girl wait in a Detroit gas station parking lot.

“Sorry,” she explained. “But I gotta run.”

“I understand,” her told her.

She quickly threw on her clothes as quickly as Randy had removed them.

“You know…,” Randy began. “Historically, I have always been the one rushing to leave.”

“How does it feel?” Jenny asked.

“Like karma swinging back on its pendulum,” he said with a smile tinged with leftover tears.

They smiled at one another, then hugged in in the manner of lifelong friends.

“I’ll let you know when I get my first gig,” he said.

“I’d appreciate that.” She had a feeling that there would never be a first gig.

They exchanged contact info, but she knew right and then that tonight officially marked the end of an era.

“Ok, bye.”

As she made her way to the door, he chimed in.

“So, about that autograph…”

“I’m fine,” she said with a smirk. “Thanks.”

As she hurried out the door, all she could think about was regret that she turned down his autograph. It really would have brought things full circle. Then again, there was a lot to be said for not getting it. Or, at least, that’s what she convinced herself.

She was already beginning to relegate what had just transpired – all of it: the good, the bad, and the ugly – into the part of her mind where she stored her dreams and fantasies. Far from reality. Never to be spoken of aloud. Some victories should be kept to oneself.

She hurried out the door and across the street, where Lauryn and Christina awaited with annoyed, impatient expressions on their face.

“Sorry,” she offered when she got within earshot, stopping short of offering any excuses, which would only be lies.

“I thought you got kidnapped or something!” Lauryn said.

“You wish.”

“So why didn’t you pick up or respond to any of my messages?”

“I think the signal was jammed” Jenny pulled out of her ass. “With so many people around.”

Jenny hated lying to her daughter. But in this case, it was better than the truth. “And why is your hair so messy?” Lauryn asked.

Why didn’t I take a look in the mirror before I left?

“The wind.”

Her daughter gave a quizzical glance. There was no wind. In fact, it had been perfectly still all day.

“So how was the concert?” Jenny asked, as everyone got into the car.

“It was so awesome!” Lauryn exclaimed. “If they come back, I’m definitely going again and I hope you come, too!”

This was the greatest thing Jenny possibly could have heard that night. And certainly more special than anything else that had transpired. She fought with all of her might to hold back tears, but there was no gain in trying to hide it. Randy Rogers certainly knew about that.

She weeped. And she didn’t care whether her daughter saw her or not. It appeared that she hadn’t. Or, was perhaps pretending not to notice.

In that very moment, what Jenny wanted more than anything was for daughter’s favorite band to last forever and in parallel, for her daughter to remain young forever. So that neither could be tossed out the door by the next generation waiting in the wings.

She never had such a burning desire to see the past and present join forces to stave off an unknown future

But Jenny knew better. Nothing was born to last – in both reality and fantasy.

Nothing gold can stay.

One day, her daughter would learn this.

As they drove off, Jenny realized that she felt something in her soul that she

didn’t recognize at first, but hadn’t felt in a long time: contentment.

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