Lonely Austin Nights

The band practiced for nearly four hours before quitting and was tighter musically than they’d been in a while. Rikki was glad for the mild throb the guitar strings left in his fingers. “Great rehearsal guys. That’s it for today. Let’s meet tomorrow around six. We’ve got the Continental Club coming up and we were a little off on the break in ‘The Times You Lied.’”

Rikki was whole body was abuzz. They had played the Continental before, but never as the headliner. This show was a release party for their debut CD, a self-produced Beantown South production. Thanks to some musician friends in town who were more established than they were, some local radio jocks agreed to stop by. If they liked what they heard and played the CD on the air, things might finally start to happen.

It was after nine o’clock as Rikki made his way to his car, the chill of the dark night air against his sweat soaked t-shirt and bare arms surprising Rikki. He was glad he brought his jacket with him even though it was fairly mild when he left. Rikki loaded his gear in the car and popped in a Miles Davis CD for the ride home, feeling both exhilarated and tired. Remembering how they left things that morning, he wondered what kind of mood Danielle would be in when he got home.

Rikki walked into the house and dropped his gear by the front door. He saw Danielle on the couch and walked over to her. She turned her face up to his as he bent down and kissed her.

“Hey Babe.”

“Hey. How was rehearsal?”

“Great. The band is really catching a groove. I think that Continental show is going to kick ass.”

“That’s nice.”

“Nice?” Rikki thought. My band is in a groove and ready to launch and that’s ‘nice’?”

“Rikki,” Danielle started tentatively.

“Yeah?”

“Do you think you can give that guy a call Monday? Just to see what he has to say?”

Rikki sighed, looking up at the ceiling and sucking in his cheeks. Then, taking a deep breath, “We’ve been over this, Babe. I don’t want to work in an office. It’s not my thing. You know how important the band is to me.”

“Well this is important to me.”

“I know it is. It’s just that I don’t want to be some freaking cubical jockey the rest of my life.”

“Well what about me, Rikki? What about what I need? What I want? I’m almost thirty. I want to have children, a family.”

“We can have all that, Babe. Why do I need to have some lame job to have a family?”

“Because if we have a baby and I stay home to raise him, we’ll need more than what you get from the tip jar to survive. We’ll need a steady income.”

“Well if this thing takes off, our income will be more than steady.”

“And what if it doesn’t, Rikki? I don’t want to bring a baby into our lives without knowing we’ll be able to support it, or with a father who’s out ‘til four in the morning every night playing at bars.”

Rikki knew she was right, but he also knew there was no way he could be happy with the life she wanted for him. “Well what do you want me to do?” Rikki’s voice rising. “Stop doing what I’ve dreamed about my whole life?”

Rikki walked over to the sliding glass doors leading to the balcony of their one bedroom apartment. He placed one hand on the door frame and looked out into the night, watching the cars and people go by. He wanted a family. He wanted even more for Danielle to have a family, but what good would he be to that family if he were miserable?