As my head smashed into the glass of the subway window and I heard the glass crack, I knew that it was worth it. Then I blacked out in the middle of a sea of screaming ridiculous 13 year old groupies, the last thing I heard was a muffled yell to stop the subway. Seconds before, I had felt eyes on me, and I turned toward them, expecting any sort of English freak to welcome my acknowledgment, or a young stranger to shyly turn away behind the subway window. What met my eyes were the most intense sapphire circles I had ever seen in my life. Those eyes were incredible, cornflower blue highlights throughout. Very startling, but at the same time they were so intoxicating, so clear. The owner was definitely male, but they had this bizarre feminine feel to them, softer than any male eyes I had ever seen, but they felt demanding in a way that I had never felt. The eyes slightly turned downward, but then lifted again, his curiosity was too physical to prevent him from keeping them downward. His cheeks had turned light shade of red, almost shyly. The initial shock was quickening, I felt the kind of sudden rush of ten thousand chills racing up and down my sensitive back. We stared into each other's eyes for what seemed like forever, then I focused on his whole face. He had silky blond hair, almost honey toned, only a little lighter than my own, long and flowy, about an inch or two past his thin shoulders. His delicate lips were slightly open, completing his gentle look of gazing. He was so, so beautiful. His beauty was almost feminine, no, it was feminine, his cheeks were thin, he had a light tan. He looked artistic but still active. He had three leather necklaces on, but I didn't concentrate on them. He had a delicate collarbone, not unattractively thin, but quite deliciously so. I could tell that he looked like his mother, there was no way else that he could have gotten such a delicate bone structure. My fingers smoothly touched the cold glass between us, and crept upward. My semi-long nails slid up the glass to about the height of my shoulder. His eyes quickly looked downward, then brought his own hand up to meet mine. He had long fingers, like mine. He plays the piano, I knew it by his hands. His hand made a light fog on the glass, I could almost feel his heart beating faster than my own. I carefully moved my mouth, and fragilely offered a small smile. There was a queer, faint screaming in the back of my head, almost phantom-like for a small fraction of a second I wondered what it could be, then my eyes were swept back into his. Then I realized what the screaming was, girls. A sea of screaming infatuated girls. And they were running right for me, right into me.......
"Stop the train! There's a girl out there who's gonna get trampled! Stop the train!" Taylor's intense pleasure was suddenly ripped from him by his crowd. He had been totally swept into the girl's greenish eyes.
"Oh my God, Walker, Tay's right! She could get killed, get the security out there, and stop the train!" Diana yelled to her husband. The security men quickly reacted to the parent's frantic cries, and quickly alerted the conductor. They then jumped into the masses of young girls to grab the older girl, who stuck out with her black clothes. They quickly noted that she probably wasn't a fan, her artsy attire was far more English than the mass of adolescences who were screaming at unbearable decibels. They grabbed her and her bag and loaded them onto the already moving train. They placed her in an empty cabin, and told Tay's worried parents that she was on the train.
" I don't think she was fan, she was just waiting for the next train, I think." Taylor's shaky voice surprised his parents.
"She's out cold, we've got to get her to a doctor soon." Walker spoke calmly, he didn't want his family to panic.
"But Walker, we aren't going to make the flight to Paris if we do anything else!" Diana worried about herding her large family onto another flight.
"We can't leave her...and we're NOT." Walker's voice was firm, he knew that the girl needed a doctor fast.
"I know, I know, I couldn't leave her, but what can we do?"
"Get her to a hospital, and fast. She probably has a concussion, it could become a coma soon."
"Alright, I'll get her to the nearest one, you take the kids to Paris, I'll get another flight."
"I want to come with you Mom." Taylor's voice seemed a bit stronger, and once again his parents were surprised in his interruption. They wondered what could bring the boy to want to stay and risk the chance of missing a show on their tour.
"Tay, you've got to go to Paris." His father's voice seemed stern, but he just wanted to know the reason for Tay's hasty request.
"No I don't, I have three days till our next show. I'll just tag along, with Mom."
"Do you really want to come?" Diana's voice seemed softer, and more understanding. She had seen him and this girl together before she was crushed by the crowd. She thought that Taylor probably felt responsible.
"Yeah, I really do. I want to make sure she's okay."
"Walker, let him. There are always loads of flights to Paris from London, we'll make it there soon. I promise."
"Well, okay. But if there's a problem, Tay should still come back. He can't miss this show."
Taylor gave his father a quick hug, "Thanks Dad."
He sat next to this girl who he had just seen for only what felt like a quick moment, and now she was going to be more than that endless gaze that they had shared. She intrigued him beyond belief. "So this is what I've been writing about all that time. . ." he murmured to himself while stroking back her blondish, deep gold coloured hair.
I felt as if I was being lifted from my haziness for a second and I tried to open my eyes. I was lying down, and it felt as if someone's coat was my pillow. I looked to my right side and saw a semi-familiar profile. He turned toward me, and looked at my open eyes. He began to yell to someone that I had woken up, but my head began to throb and I drifted off into fantastic dreams again. "Hey Tay, what's up, did she come to?" Ike's voice sounded concerned and worried.
"She woke up for a second."
"How did it happen, I mean how she have not heard the scream squad?" Taylor's whole body flinched, he didn't want to answer that question.
"Ike, don't tell Mom or Dad....."
"Sure, what the heck happened?"
"She was looking across the station at something, and I noticed her, 'cause she was right by the window, and she looked American. So I was looking at her, and then she turned around and..."
"And what? You saw each other, did she recognize you or something?"
"No, she didn't know who I was, it wasn't like that at all. She just looked at me."
"And she looked at you, and what?"
"Ike, when I saw her eyes. . .we just stood there, looking at each other. I don't think she knew who I was or anything. It was just so weird, but so..... And she didn't even realize that the girls were coming until they were about five feet away from her. She looked back at me, like she was confused. Then I heard the glass almost crack and she was down."
"Yeesh, that sounds pretty sloppy, Mom'll take care of her though. You gotta get it out of your head, Paris is going to be HUGE."
"Enjoy it, I'm staying with her and Mom. I want to make sure she's okay."
"What?! Tay, it's more than making sure she's okay, and you know it! What are you going to say to her? Oh, sorry I didn't tell you that you were about to be smooshed by my little fan base? That's not fair to you, and what is she going to say, I mean, once she finds out who you are? If she didn't recognize you, then she might hate the band, and then what's going to happen? You've wasted 2 days on a girl that you don't know, who you think is hot! Tay, there's a thing called a tour going on. You shouldn't stay with her, let Mom explain if she asks. That's not fair at all."
"Ike, I CAN'T! Don't you get it? I just feel like I know her already, I haven't ever been able to have any kind of normal relationship, like you and Zac! I'm sick of that and because of the touring and ..." "Tay, your problems aren't all in the touring, and you know it." Ike cut in. "Girls don't.." "Tay, you just can't commit to a relationship for more than two weeks, stop putting the blame on everybody else. Not everybody just goes around and dates for the fun of it. I mean, just waiting around for the right girl isn't so horrible. You may call me ' romance-boy' or whatever, but that's me, and you're not me, don't try to make it up with one girl you don't know. Now is NOT a good time to start commiting -- we've already had 2 full tours, didn't you get that Zac and I don't get involved while we're on tour?" Tay sat in silence staring hard at the girl, he wanted to be with her so badly. She was more of a symbol that he could have a relationship, he wanted to try this time around. "Is this umm romance, Ike?" "God, Taylor, you really like her. I mean you really really like this girl that you've never met! You're nuts! Congrats! It'll never work!" Ike smiled at Tay. "Okay, I'm a romantic nut, thanks for the conformation." "This is so wrong, but I'm going to say it anyway....." Ike shifted in his seat, unsure if he should be honest with his younger brother. "What, grand master of romance?" Taylor lifted his long gaze to his brother, then went back to her face. Ike suddenly turned serious, and looked down at the girl's face, and pursed his lips with frustration. "Stay with her. You're going to hurt yourself if you guys are really meant for eachother and you can't be together until we're done touring, and that could be more than a year. If not then at least you'll never regret not trying to find out." Tay looked up at his older brother, and saw that Ike was serious. He sighed and looked at her again. "Okay. Just tell me I'm right on this one." "You're, ummmm how shall I say, half-ways right. You're taking a huge risk though. Just please think of what's going to happen afterward." "Ike, trust me on this, I'll try. I promise." As Taylor and Diana looked on to make sure that the girl was brought into the emergency room in downtown London, they both were uncertain of what the doctors would say. Later, after waiting an hour in the waiting room, a woman introduced herself as Dr. Lauren spoke to them outside the girl's room. "She appears to only be unconscious, and she should come out of it in a couple hours. It doesn't look too serious, she just got a nasty bump on head just in a the wrong place and on the wrong angle. She'll just need to stay awake for the next 24 hours. It's a bit longer than what we usually recommend, but this is strange that she would get knocked out the way she did. It could turn into something serious if she goes back to sleep, so keep her up for those 24 hours and she should be okay." "Thank God it's not too bad. We were really worried." Diana relaxed a little bit, and felt better that she had stayed around to hear the news. "Can we see her soon?" The only thing that could make her feel comfortable with being there would be to see that the girl was okay. "Sure, do you want to stay until she comes out of it? It could be a while, or I could give you some hotel numbers." "We'll stay here until she comes around, thanks. I don't think we'll be staying the night." Taylor started to protest, but then stopped, thinking he could deal with his mother later. They walked into the girl's room, looking around at the small, private room. "I feel terrible doing this, but I know we have to." Diana picked up the girl's bag, and opened it. "What are you doing Mom? I don't think she'd appreciate that." "Well, we have to know her name, she's Jane Doe right now." Diana brought out a case of 100 CDS, a couple books, a portable cd player, a smaller bag filled with pens and pencils, a drawing pad, a small laptop, and finally a wallet. "Okay, this is it, she's got to have some kind of ID in here." Diana open the small green wallet, and went through a couple credit cards, then she found her driver's license. "Lane Bronte, hmm she's 18, two years older than you in a couple months, and she's from the US." "Is it okay to look through her CDS?" Tay broke in his mother's concentration. "Umm sure, nothing else though." Tay leaved through Lane's CDS with approval and confusion. He knew a couple of the bands she listened to, some were his favorites too, but some he had no idea who they were. "She has got to have more than 30 Tori Amos CDS in here, I can't believe that." He thought to himself, he noted a couple really good Billy Joel albums, Janis Joplin, Ani Difranco,a bunch of Bjork, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, and a lot of classic rock. Tay looked at the books that his mom had tossed out, "Sandman, what? Comics?" he had never heard of those before. Three hours later, Diana had gone to the ground floor of the hospital to make hotel reservations and to book a flight for Taylor and herself to Paris. Taylor, on the other hand was reading the first soft-cover Sandman collection and really enjoying it. He sat next to Lane's bed, still feeling nervous about what he was going to say to her when she came to. I finally drifted into consciousness and began to dream. I was walking around in a zoo and talking to a bright, witty zebra, I asked him what he was up to, and he replied that I should be more concerned about what I was up to. Then a huge crocodile came up and said he was going to eat me. I felt scared, I really believed him. I could practically see my poor flesh dripping off of his seductive teeth. Then the zebra told me to run, so I was running as fast as I could when I saw this great tree. The moon invited me up, so I climbed it and there was a boy on the limb next to me. I knew him, but I couldn't remember his name. So I asked him, but he just turned his blue eyes away and grew shy. Then I remembered his name! I got excited about it, and called it out. Taylor! That's it! I know your name! But it was too late, I was waking up. . . Tay sat up, thoughts raced through his mind, "She couldn't have just called my name.. that's impossible, she didn't know me before.. that's...." I rolled over on my left side and opened my eyes. It was him.
"Hullo." I sleepily murmured. "Uh, hi."
"Hey, I just had a dream, and you were in it. Pretty cool, huh?" Then I had this terrible headache-like pain in the back of my head. "Ouch, crap. Wait, this is a hospital. Shit, what happened?"
"You, uh, ran into a subway train."
"Wait, I know you." I did know this guy, but no name registered. He was incredibley good looking though.. maybe I should go through this ordeal again sometime. "Do I know you? I know I do, but I can't put my finger on what it is." The fact that I couldn't remember his name started to bother me. I really needed to know, he was startlingly familiar.
"I don't think you know my name, but you just said it while you woke up." Taylor bit his lower lip, he cursed himself for not thinking of something impressive to say.
"I know I did, you were in my dream and I couldn't remember what it was until my dream ended. It was strange, but not the weirdest dream I've ever had." This boy looked a little nervous, no, more shy than nervous.
"Oh, umm. That's cool, I guess." Taylor couldn't think of anything to say.
"We're ummm not married or anything, are we?" I smiled, and he laughed slightly.
"Oh no, definitely not."
"So wait, what happened again? How did I run into a subway? Waaaaait......" It was coming back to me. I leaned back into my pillow and we sat in silence for a minute. "Taylor, yeah, that's right."
"I'm sorry." Taylor still didn't know what to say to Lane, but he thought he ought to apologize, at least.
"No, no, no. If you want to put blame on a person, it was both of us. Hmmmm...I know I was going to see someone, something."
"We, uh, had to go through your stuff to find out who you were, sorry."
"Heh, it's okay, so you know who I am, but you probably don't know anything about me."
"I know that you really like Tori Amos."
"Heh, true, true. I always have, I've met her a couple times."
"Really? That's cool. You don't know who I am, do you?"
"I know your first name, and I know that you look really familiar."
"Taylor Hanson. You don't look as if you like my band though."
"Oh, I did have umm Middle of Nowhere, a dub at one point in my life, but I don't think I took it with me to England. I just didn't like your voice when it was so high, or when you were so young."
"Where are you from?
"Hmmm, this is blurry, but ...okay Pennsylvania."
"Besides criticizing my band, do you know anything else?"
"I can't remember much too fast. And I didn't think it was terrible, it just isn't anything I'm completely in love with." I smiled, this was a situation I'd never been able to put myself into. "And once you reached 15 I thought your voice had drastically improved, and furthermore I certainly didn't think that you were that bland either." I laughed at myself, bullshit, I thought, he was quite delicious, the only reason that I got that damn tape was because I just liked him. To my delight he blushed furiously.
"Yeah." I yawned and stretched, then thanked the gods that I was still in my regular clothes, and not a nightgown. I felt his eyes process my movements, and felt sweet pleasure in the flattery. I felt as if he wanted to talk about our first meeting more, and he didn't know how to start to bring it up. But, lucky for him I bring up things like that, and quickly. "Alright Taylor, I'm getting the karma of some things that we should talk about right now."
"The feeling of the vibes you're, well, we're giving off." "Okay, I get what you mean." Taylor shuffled in his small chair, it didn't quite fit him. I noticed how tall he was, compared to my 5'5" he would probably tower over me, he had to be at least 5'10". I also noted his insanely attractive black leather pants he had on, he looked smashing in them. God, what had happened to me? This is going to hurt so badly, don't get yourself into this, no. . . But it had already started, and I took a deep breath. I thought of my promise to myself months ago of never getting serious with anyone again. Just like that Simon and Garfunkel song, "Don't speak of love, I've heard that word before, it's sleeping in my memory." I sat up and moved so that I was sitting Indian style in front of him. "Alright, let's first get this down-I'm really honest when it comes to this kind of stuff, so I can say what I'm thinking easily. I'm really attracted to you, which is pretty rare to me, you could say I'm really picky. I'm really scared of any kind of relationship, I got into a really serious, hurtful one once. And I also know that you're probably with someone, so this ummmm well I don't know how you feel about his, but. . . "
"Lane, I'm not with anyone. You really have no clue about how I feel about you right now?" Tay cut my silence.
"I don't know, I really don't." Tay paused and his cheeks flushed a shade brighter than the red they already were. I honestly couldn't tell how much he liked me, but it was pretty obvious that he did feel something major, I just wanted to hear him say it.
"Shit. . . okay lemme think." His eyes looked violently frustrated. He moved his chair up to my bed, closer as if he had a plan of what to do, then it didn't seem good enough to execute on me. He looked at the bottom half of the bed, and his hands were figidty. I took his hands in my own, he looked at my face, and then straight in my eyes. A voice in my head screamed 'Stop! He'll hurt you! He'll leave you tomorrow morning, and laugh while eating his muffin at breakfast, then he'll pick up Someone Else as soon as he can!' 'Shut up, he won't, he's just as scared as I am' a stronger voice interjected. Our torsos grew closer, and I could feel his nearness with my every single cell. I felt as if I was breathing him in. We both paused before our lips barely met, we looked into each others eyes then I got my answer. His lips eagerly glided to mine and after another hesitation we both opened our mouths and began to get used to each other's inner mouths. His lips were silky and soft, they felt like electricity against my own. His tongue felt foreign next to my own, almost eel-like. I experimented with my own, not knowing how to repay him. I brought my hand up to his face and brushed back a stray lock of his burnished gold hair. His own hand went into my hair which was tied back loosely. I felt a quick, sudden dampness in between my legs, and felt my legs quiver. I put my other hand on his thigh for support and realized that he was shaking too. It heightened my senses and made me feel even more conscious. As I began to separate, thinking about who could walk in, he grew more insistent, wanting more. His hands went briefly to my waist, then disappeared he looked at me with bright, cherry red cheeks, "Sorry."
I looked him straight in the eye, "You say that too much."
"I think I should get a doctor or someone to look at you, I mean they don't know that you woke up. The sooner the better, I mean, then we can get out of the hospital and talk." "Sure." I smiled, I hadn't quite collected myself yet, and could still feel all my pieces laying around me in utter confusion.
"I'll go find someone right now, I have no clue how long I can keep myself from finding out everything about you." He looked over his shoulder once as he walked out the door, then added, "Don't go anywhere, okay?" I began to laugh, he seemed so serious, but in a joking way. I saw him smile to himself on his way out.
The doctor seemed to be satisfied with my condition and asked me a couple questions about who I was, just in case I had any amnesia or was still out of it. Diana was very motherly but at the same time strong with every question she asked the doctor. She seemed to be happy to introduce herself and get to know who I was. She seemly genuinely concerned with how I felt, and invited me to stay with her and Taylor that night, since I had to stay awake for 24 hours. Taylor volunteered to keep me awake as long as he could. We shared a little smile at the doctor's surprise in his eagerness. It was about 7 in the evening, and I had been out for about 7 hours, so I was hungry and had more energy than I could believe for just being rammed into a subway train. As we walked out of the hospital, Diana declared herself exhausted, she then handed Tay some cash and the name of the hotel where we'd be staying, saying that she'd leave our key at the front desk. She apologized to me that she still wasn't used to the European time and really wanted to sleep. She told Tay to wake her up when he wanted to get some sleep and she'd keep me awake. She surprised me with the trust she put into her son, and the last thing she said was that she'd take my bag with her. I grabbed my wallet and gave her a hug of thanks. We were off.
The London air was cold and crisp with fall weather, and we scampered along the streets into the deeper metropolitan area that was filled with a thousand different sounds and smells. As we zig zagged on the crowded sidewalks we held hands. His felt warm and soft, our fingers interlocked and I noticed that his fingers weren't as long as I had thought. As we walked along, totally speechless, but not uncomfortably so, we stole glances at each other and smiled. It was the happiest I had been in a long time, too long. My grin wavered for a second, wondering what he would say when I told him how seriously depressed I got, and the only reason I was here was because my psychologist thought it would be good for me, not to mention my publisher, who wanted another book tour. I had an urge to put my arm around his waist and to have his around mine. I hastily thought of another quote "If we resist our passions, then it is because of their weaknesses, not our strength." I blocked out the thought and the incredible urge with breaking our giddy spell with words. "Where do you want to eat?" He looked at me, surprised.
"Well, what's your favorite food?"
"I love seafood, and pasta."
"Are you a vegetarian?"
"No no no, I love a big, rare steak every so often."
"Are you really hungry?" I pondered this, I was, but not as much since the doctor told me that I might be feeling a bit nauseous for the next few hours.
"Well, I think I should have a little something, let's just go to a cafe and get some coffee or something, that should have a muffin or something close to it for me to eat." He smiled at me.
"That sounds great, I know one that's only a couple blocks away."
"Well, ask away with your questions, I love interviews." "You get interviewed?" He looked bewildered that I could be known.
"Yeah, I write. Mostly poetry, but every once and a while I'll write a short story. I'm decently popular with underground poets and writers."
"So that's why you had the laptop. What's that Sandman thing you had? I read the first one and thought it was incredible."
"Ahhhh, you found some Neil stuff rather likable? They were canceled about ten years ago."
"Neil Gaimen, he writes all the Sandman stories. He has a book signing this weekend, actually tomorrow, I was planning on going. Looks as if I'm going to be awake for it."
"Can I come with you?" He looked worried that I'd refuse him.
"Of course, I don't expect to be with anyone else tomorrow."
"Well, here it is. You should like it a lot, there's always some kind of poetry readings or whatever going on. Zac, my younger brother almost read some of his stuff here, but once the owners found out who he was, they wouldn't let him."
"Why? The whole 'teeny-bopper' image thing?"
"Yeah, he was really mad about it."
"That's one thing I can't stand about these guys. Most of my fans don't even like a lot of poetry, and they're really cool about that kind of 'image' thing. But then there's the whole group that have this addictive need to have that dramatic stereotype to have an identity. I dunno, it's just something they need. Arsty guys can be the best and the worst."
"Are they the kind you usually date?" Tay's voice tried not to tighten, but there was a clear obviousness that the question meant a lot.
"Yeah, my first and last guys would definitely fit into those molds."
"You ready to go in?"
"Yeah, I'm just going to let you know that I'm more popular in Europe than in the States, so I might get a visit or two from an admirer."
"So now they're going to get back at me, for my following hurting you." Taylor smiled. And I laughed right along with him.
He opened the carved wooden door for me and then, without a pause retook my hand in his. He seemed to want to be closer to me, as close as he could get. I can't help being so flattered, and my eyes become a bit teary, it almost hurts to be this happy. We weaved through the crowded table and found one in a small, gentley lighted corner. The stools were painted an off white, and the table was a natural wood colour, with a single violet in a small vase placed in the middle. There was a poetry reading going on in the front of the cafe, but from where we were, it was only a soft murmur.
Our waitress dropped her last load off at the table in front of us and presented herself to us. "G' evenin' to ya, here's the special's for this 'evenin', I'll be back around in a minute to take a list of what ya want." She quickly turned, then almost stopped, then turned toward me. "Wait, are you Lane Bronte?"
I smiled, "Yup, that be me."
She gasped and her eyes widened, "I am such a big lover of your writing!"
I opened my arms and she hugged me tightly. "Thank you, that means a lot to me."
"A friend of mine got me into your stuff by making me read 'Siren' after having a really bad breakup, and now it's, just like..." the girl drifted off, and she just opened her arms and I gave her another hug. I felt a tear run down the back of my shoulder.
"Hey, it's okay. You just have to go on with your life, you just have to make yourself walk away. Mac was a tough one, but you have to keep going babe. Other people can, and will touch you the same way your ex did." I kissed her on her cheek and introduced her to Taylor. "This is a bud of mine, Taylor."
Her eyes drifted to him, and she looked at me and smiled. "You lucky bean, is he going to stay with you?" It was kind of a way of asking whether we were serious or not, but she was nervous to ask in front of him.
"Yes, I am lucky." I smiled back at her. And she knew.
"Can you read something for me tonight? Please? I can get the idiot on stage off, most people really like you here."
"I dunno, uh, I was just at the hospital, and my wits aren't totally around me yet." At this point Taylor decided to interject something into our conversation.
"She was just out in a coma, I don't think it'd be such a hot idea." I was surprised that he said that, I expected him to let me take care of it.
"Please." Our waitress simply put it.
"Well, hm, okay.. I dont' have my laptop on me, but before we go I'll say something. I promise." She seemed relieved and gave me a kiss goodbye.
Taylor looked at me with amazement. "You don't know her?"
"Who's Mac?" I didn't want to talk about him, but now I couldn't go back.
"He's my ex boyfriend, we were together for four years. I wrote a collection of poems about our life together, and that was kind of my break into the mainstream. I'm on a book signing/reading tour right now to promote it." I looked Taylor in the eye as I spoke. He looked right back in to my own, with out flinching he asked
"How close were you?"
"Excuse me for a second."
I just stared at the violet on our circular table, and felt a sense of absolute dread. He didn't take it that well. I could see it in his eyes, he wanted me to be his first serious relationship, he had no clue what he was doing with me. My eyes wandered around the large cafe, a couple people waved, recognizing me, and I smiled and waved right back. At least they were feeling good. A napkin had been left on the table, I started to twirl it around on the smooth surface of the table face, and scanned the floor. There was a small blue crayon on the table next to ours, it's label was gone, as well as the last half of it, but still looked usable. I slid from my seat and grabbed it, hoping not to attract any attention. I thought of Taylor in the bathroom, probably in a stall, staring at the floor, realizing that I wasn't as perfect as he had thought. Trying to imagine what Mac looked like, and what we had done. I looked at his empty seat. I need him. I started scawling letters onto the forgotten napkin, and everything around me seemed to disapear, as it usually does when I write. I knew what I was going to read to this crowd.