Lonely Austin Nights

The morning light grew brighter and more intense as Rikki slowly gained consciousness and became aware of the soft sounds of his wife, Danielle, making coffee, cleaning up after breakfast, and preparing herself for the day. He squinted his eyes open as much as he could bear, placed his feet on the floor, and sat on the edge of the couch with his head in his hands. It was another late night morning after for Rikki.

“Good morning Sunshine,” Danielle quipped.

Rikki managed a hoarse grunt, his head still in his hands. His feet were solidly on the floor though his mind wasn’t yet convinced.

“What time did you get in?”

“I don’t know. Three o’clock, maybe four. I didn’t want to wake you so I slept on the couch.”

“You know I don’t like you sleeping on the couch, Rikki.”

“Sorry” was all Rikki could manage as he tentatively stood and walked over to Danielle, kissed her lightly on the top of her head, and grabbed the cup of coffee she held out for him. “Thanks, Babe.” The warm coffee felt good going down, though he wasn’t certain his stomach would agree.

Rikki was not exactly Mr. Sunshine in the morning, and conversation was never easy, especially after a late night, but Danielle persisted. “Did you call that guy back yesterday?”

“What guy?”

“Your brother’s friend. He wanted to talk to you about a job opening at his company.”

“I guess I forgot.”

“You forgot? We talked about this. You said you were going to call and set up an appointment to go see him.”

“No, Babe. You said I was going to call him. Me and the boys were working up some new material all day for last night’s show. I didn’t have time.” Rikki’s head was pounding, now, as his blood rushed through him with increasing force, his hangover feeding off his frustration as he and Danielle covered the same old ground they’d been covering for months.

“You know I love you, honey, and I love your music,” Danielle backed off a little, “but I think it’s time that you consider settling down and getting a steady job. We can’t have a family if you’re out every night ‘til four in the morning.”

“I don’t want to talk about this right now.” Rikki began sucking in his cheeks.

“We need to talk about this, Rikki.”

Rikki turned and walked into the bedroom, set his coffee down on the nightstand and fell on the bed, pulling the pillow over his eyes to shield them from the bright Texas sun. He heard Danielle noisily gather her things and stalk off to work.

Rikki loved Danielle more than he imagined he ever could love someone, but she occasionally showed flashes of her Italian fire, especially when her biological clock was involved. As Danielle drove off to work, Rikki rolled over, praying for just a few more hours of sleep.