Looking on track to be about 50 percent on this thing. That sucks.
Traci held her guitar,nervously practicing her chords over and over again. Why did the show have to be today, she wondered? She wondered why she’d even bothered signing up for this thing. Nobody at this school liked her kind of music. Unless you could shake your ass to it, bang your head, or drive a truck to it, her fellow students could care less about it. Lyrics were what ever you could shout along to in the chorus.
Things had been different in Charlotte. At least there, some folks had taste. Her last talent show had been a stew of jazz, classical, and other musical styles. So far, she was up against rappers and comedians.
She looked in the mirror, seeing her mother’s face and red hair in her reflection. It was the last place she’d ever see it. Exactly one year ago today, a drunk had taken her out as she was out getting the mail. Traci had been busy rebelling at the time her mother died, and things were hostile, so her death poleaxed Traci.
As bad as it was for her, for her father, it was worse. He had never quite recovered, and just seemed to be surviving, and nothing else. Traci knew he wasn’t going to make this, despite what he’d said. There wasn’t anyone to care about her performance tonight, least ways herself. But she’d muddle through, that’s one thing her mom had given her. As bad as it gets, once you say you’re going to, do it.
Lorne shuffled through the crowd, taking a seat near the back. His boss hadn’t minded when he asked for the night off. Lorne figured he owed Traci this much at least. The gun felt heavy in his coat pocket. One last night before he went away for good, to join her mother. Lorne had tried, but he was already dead. Nothing felt like anything. Ever since Mari’s death, he’d been going on autopilot.
He’d tried, he really had, to feel something, anything. But he couldn’t even cry. He’d seen a shrink, a priest, even tried talking to an escort. Hell, he’d tried having a domme beat some feeling into him. But nothing was there.
And he was so tired. Every day stretched forward, an unending streak of gray. He’d wondered for weeks if death would be better. He’d find out later, he hoped.
Traci stepped out on the stage, her eyes scanning the crowd. The little girl she’d been before the accident had hoped her daddy would be here. Deflated, she started the song, the words coming from somewhere else:
Where’ve you been?
I’ve looked for you forever and a day.
I’m just not myself when I’m away.
Lorne stared,open mouthed. He knew the voice coming out of Traci’s mouth, and it wasn’t hers. Mari had sung it to Traci, all that first year. It had been a hard birth, and it was touch and go that first year. But Mari loved that little girl, and had up until that last damned day.
Traci sang on, tears in her eyes. She’d found the tape in an envelope her mom had left with their lawyer. She’d wanted to play it for her dad, but anything to do with Mom, and he suddenly had work to do. This was the last piece of her mom she had, and she was going to let her Mom know that she cared that she was gone, even if Dad didn’t. She finished the song,then stopped.
There was no noise form the crowd, not one peep. But above that silence cam a cry of anguish and pain, a howl of loss and sadness.. And there he stood, his face in his hands, her father. She jumped off the stage, words failing, running into his arms, hugging.