July 13, 2008 9:13pm
I made my way into the nearest town and found a discount shop. I bought a really cheap sleeping bag, a little flashlight, and a big bag of chips and some bottled water, but it was still a lot of money, considering how little I have. Still, I suspect I’m going to need the sleeping bag and flashlight more than just tonight.
It’s a nice night. It’s funny: I can see lights on the highway, but it’s still nothing like what I’m used to seeing in Toronto. I can really see the stars from where I am now, even through the trees. It’s not too chilly, which is good. It’s a good thing that I started this trip in the summer, rather than in the middle of winter. I probably would have frozen to death tonight. I’d be a Tarasicle! Stupid joke, I know. Just keeping my mind occupied, and if stupid jokes work, so be it. I want to just keep writing. It feels less lonely with someone to “talk” to, even if it’s just a spiral notebook.
I should get some sleep, though. It’s getting late now. Besides, if I can sleep, maybe I won’t notice how hungry I am. Tomorrow morning I’ll just get right out at first light. I’ll worry about food later.
I wonder what Aidan is doing tonight.
July 13, 11:49pm
I can’t sleep. I’m tired, but I can’t sleep. I thought sleeping on a crappy mattress on the floor was uncomfortable, but this is ridiculous. This is why I never went camping.
I just need to think about other things until I get so sleepy that I can’t stay awake no matter how uncomfortable I am. I need to think of something nice… nice memories… like spending time with Aidan and his family. Once I got used to how different they were from what I was used to, I really loved it.
Other than Aidan, of course, Aaron was always my biggest supporter. He was a lot older than me – or at least at the time it felt that way – but he never made me feel young and stupid. Sometimes we didn’t have much in common, but I knew he was always looking out for me. It kind of felt like having a big brother of my own.
Even though Bev was always polite to me, and never mean or anything, I knew that she was suspicious. She had good reason to be somewhat mistrustful of people: her boys were surrounded all the time, by some good people, and some not-so-good, and sometimes it was really hard to tell whether people were sincere or not. I know I had a hard time with it. I don’t blame her for lumping me in with all of the rest of them, at first, anyway. Maybe she always did. Maybe it’s a good thing that I couldn’t find her. Maybe she would’ve just turned me away, and never even told Aidan that she’d seen me.
No, I don’t think she would’ve done that. She did eventually warm up to me, and I think maybe she even loved me – well, liked at least – but I owe most of that to Aaron. He was truly “mom’s boy” (I would NEVER say “momma’s boy” – that’s not the case at all!) and she really respected his opinion, even at his young age. It wasn’t that she didn’t love Aidan just as much, but he was a younger, a little wilder, more of a dreamer. Aaron was always the one who would sit down and have long talks with his mom, about just about anything. He was the one who would help her in the kitchen without being asked. He was kind of wise beyond his years, to use a cliché. I think a lot of it had to do with their dad dying when they were so young. He grew up fast, and Idol Hands just sped things up even more for him.
I know he talked to Bev about me, and I have no doubt that he defended my honour. He had talked to me enough that he knew me, and knew that I would NEVER do anything to hurt his brother. He liked me just for that, but we also were able to have long talks about other things, which sometimes surprised me given our age difference. That was the thing about Aaron – he could talk to anyone about anything. Despite his reputation for being the shy, quiet one, he was probably the most well-adjusted guy you’d ever meet. He never said anything purposely hurtful about anyone, but at the same time, you knew he’d be honest with you. He just wasn’t mean about it. If you’re being an ass, you can bet that Aaron is going to tell you about it – he’ll just cushion the blow. As much as Aidan’s absence from my life is the key to all of this, I really miss Aaron. Having him around really did make me feel like I had an older brother. I can’t wait to see him again.
I wonder if Bev has ever thought about me over the years, or if she thought I just kind of disappeared. I wonder what Aidan said about our breakup. Did she tell him he was an idiot for letting me go, or was she secretly – or not so secretly – relieved? Considering the way that my mother talked about Aidan when he wasn’t around, who knows what Bev really thought of me, especially after Aidan and I broke up. Hopefully she didn’t think badly of me. I don’t think I ever did anything that should have made her think that way. I wonder what she’ll think of me suddenly reappearing. I hope she’ll think it’s a good thing. At least I’m sure I’ll have Aaron to look out for me again.
Okay, now I’m sleepy. I don’t even care about the lumpy ground underneath me. I just need to close my eyes.
July 14, 2008 11:23am
I got up and was out there at the crack of dawn, but I spent four hours out there and no one picked me up. Cars just kept speeding past me like I wasn’t even there. I just couldn’t take it anymore; I had to get something to eat. I was feeling so faint from the sun, and the lack of food. I’ll go back out there after lunch, but I think I’d better pick up some sunscreen. This sucks. I’m going to run out of money before I get anywhere near California. I don’t even want to think about that.
July 14, 2008 4:29pm
After lunch, I finally lucked out again. This trucker named Dave picked me up, and he was going all the way to Des Moines, Iowa. He says that’s about 7 hours away. He’s not all that talkative, but I can tell he’s safe. He’s not worrying me at all. I’m just sitting and writing, and I even got a bit of sleep.
I dreamed about Aidan, and when Mom finally let up and decided I could go on tour with him for two whole months, over the summer. It was the best time of my life, but it was when I realized just how hard it was going to be for both of us.
I’d spent the months before that summer feeling just completely awful – so depressed. Christmas had been wonderful. I went again over my March Break, just for a few days. After that, we just couldn’t get our schedules together. Aidan offered to come for a few days in between tour dates, but it was during the week and Mom said no. After that I just didn’t care anymore. I skipped class more than I went. I came home and slept, or else just didn’t come home at all. We talked as much as we could, but it just wasn’t enough anymore. We’d been together for over a year but barely spent any time in person at all. I knew I was in love, and I knew he loved me, but I needed to BE with him.
That was why Mom finally gave in and let me spend the summer with him. His mom, and tons of other people, would be around, and I was almost 18 by then, so she knew she could either let me go for the summer, or risk me taking off for good in a few months if she held on too tightly. She really wanted me to finish my last year of high school, and I know she was getting nervous that I was going to drop out to be with him. In retrospect, of course, she was right, I suppose, but at the time all I was thinking about was two straight months with Aidan.
None of the guys knew how long they had, career-wise: the shelf life of a “boy band” – or any teen idol – tends not to be very long. When you think of musical longevity, you might think of the Rolling Stones, but probably not the Bay City Rollers or Debbie Gibson. Aidan and I talked about it sometimes. He had big plans for a solo career eventually, but he didn’t want to leave the guys, either, and as long as he was part of the group, he needed to appear single. He needed to be the “dream date”. He needed every girl reading Tiger Beat magazine to believe him when he wrote some nonsense about his “ideal date” and dream about what it would be like to be there with him.
I spent most of those two months on tour hiding: being brought into the hotel away from everyone connected to the tour; hiding in our hotel room; watching television while he was onstage singing for 20,000 fans. It was easier to wait at the hotel, and to be honest I preferred it, but if they were leaving directly after a show, it wasn’t possible. Even though it sounds glamorous, hanging out backstage was always scary, because I had to “blend in” and sometimes it just couldn’t be done. There was always someone from the venue who didn’t know who I was, or who I was “supposed to be” (“Cousin” Tara, was still the usual story) who would look at me like I was some chick who snuck backstage with a faked pass and needed to be thrown out by security. I was always freaking out, thinking I was going to mess up and ruin everything. Aidan was really good about it, but realistically I knew it was on my shoulders.
He used to apologize to me all the time. I knew that bands like Idol Hands had been wrecked by stupider things before. We’d lie in bed together – still just “sleeping” much to my dismay (sometimes he even slept on top of the blankets) – and he’d hold me and tell me that someday things would be different. We used to talk about all the things we’d do once it didn’t matter anymore: vacations, shopping in the mall, going to movies… normal couple things. We talked about all of the places that he wanted to go back and see when he could actually see more than the view from his hotel room or the window of the bus. People didn’t believe them when they said it wasn’t as exciting as it seemed, and they didn’t get to really SEE anywhere they toured, but it was true. You could ask them what they liked best about any particular city or country and they usually had to give answers that their publicists had supplied, because they honestly couldn’t answer truthfully. The answer they would’ve really given would likely have been, “Well, I’m especially enjoying the vending machine in our dressing room at the venue.” Aidan especially wanted us to go on vacation in Hawaii. He’d have his solo career, and I’d get to go to awards shows and parties with him. He talked about how proud he’d be to finally have me beside him.
Then the next morning, we’d sleep in, except when he had to go do publicity and stuff. They were such night owls, because they’d get way too wound up after shows to be able to sleep. I know sometimes I’d fall asleep long before he ever did, and I could usually hang in there until 2 or 3 in the morning without trying. I’d wake up next to him the next day and not be able to believe that he was actually there.
Sneaking on to the bus was always the hardest part. Hotels weren’t so bad. As long as I didn’t come in with anyone connected to the tour, I was just another hotel guest. If anyone else was on the elevator, though, I’d have to go to another floor, get off and get back on until I was by myself, or else use the stairs. Because inevitably people knew which floor they were on by the massive amount of security.
But the bus…
Aidan and Aaron had their own bus, and Sam, Sean and Andy shared the other bus. I guess it sort of depended who was there, and sometimes who was pissed at whom. At one point Sam had been on the bus with Aidan and Aaron, but he had moved over to Sean and Andy’s bus. If Aidan and Aaron were fighting, one of them might end up on the other bus for a while. When we were traveling during the day it didn’t really matter who was where anyway. It was only at night, for sleeping. I usually would sneak on to the bus about mid-way through the concert. There were less people around outside that way. They had a janitorial uniform that I used to put on, with my hair under a baseball cap. I’d pretend I was going out to clean the buses for them. It seemed to satisfy the fans who were out there. I’m sure some of them noticed that I never came back OFF the bus, but not enough to cause any kind of fuss, of course. They were too busy waiting for a glimpse of anyone connected to the group.
Funny – traveling on the bus was a lot like the drive I’m doing right now with Dave the trucker. Except of course that Dave isn’t handsome, rich or famous, and I’m not madly in love with him. And the bus was a whole hell of a lot more comfortable than this. But you know, other than that, it’s practically identical. HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA… man, I could use a drink right now. I wonder if Dave’s got a mickey stashed somewhere in the truck? Not a very comforting thought, though. Guess the drink will have to wait.