Chapter 24: Wherever you think is best
Wthrough New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and home to California, but on a different route, playing different cities than they had on their outbound journey. Today, Thursday, is simply a travel day, but it is a long run. Ten hours in the damn bus! Then, three days in the Roswell/Ruidoso area. Originally, the band was booked for just the Saturday festival in Roswell. They are booked as the second stage headliner, but Dwayne looked for reasons to extend their time in New Mexico. A Friday night concert has been added at the large casino/resort and then a Sunday afternoon at a winery in the area. The winery show is sold out after being advertised as an exclusive event; just 75 people at $150 each. The band is pocketing all the money from ticket sells. The tickets are exclusive to wine club members. The winery is attempting to increase local wine subscriptions through bringing in prestige acts to a much smaller, intimate venue: an opportunity to be up close and personal with Dwayne Hucks and the Lonely Players.
This is how they will be marketing themselves going forward. Dwayne is the established star and the Lonely Players are his backup band. He has notified the community college in California he will not be coming back. Once back in California, Dwayne will immediately audition for two new band members, a bassist to replace Tom, and another guitarist to take over lead guitar functions. Alex cannot be replaced. Over the last three weeks Dwayne and Alex have spent every spare minute in lessons. Alex is trying to teach Dwayne the basics of all the instruments he can. Going forward, Dwayne will be the singer, front man and, occasionally, will play additional instruments. Lead guitarist is a role he has accepted he needs to leave behind. The new band members will be hired before the band’s recording for their first album. Alex will, also, record with the band in September before his retirement. Tom will stay on full time as the band’s publicity agent. Dwayne has already started reviewing resumes and interviewing for band managers. This summer has truly changed Dwayne’s professional career.
Dwayne and Alex have had many long conversations during the last three weeks. Alex has explained to Dwayne that learning different instruments will help him with different arrangements and another change to the sound with the new band. Dwayne continues to be fueled by the love of the music and the pursuit of an always changing sound. After lessons, the two old friends have shared their philosophy on life, love, and keeping your head when all around is losing yours. Alex has had a good summer. Dwayne has done everything he can to assure himself of that. It was at an outdoor concert in Boulder, Colorado to a crowd of over 1000 that Dwayne looked over at Alex, playing the harmonica, and gained true appreciation of the gift that Alex had given him this summer. That night, the band added a dulcimer and harmonica version of “The Battle Hymn of The Republic”. The dulcimer set, as they had started to call it, began with “North Country Girl”. It was followed by the civil war battle hymn, and then ended with the song “Bliss.” It had become one of the most popular parts of the concert. Dwayne and Alex had been asked to do just those three songs on Austin City Limits in early September.
Along with all the other gifts Alex has given Dwayne this summer is a true appreciation of how short life can be. Dwayne has wasted enough of his time in the mediocrity of life. Dwayne realizes that he doesn’t have to segregate his interests. He has brought his knowledge of the history of music to this summer’s tour. The dulcimer and harmonica on the civil war ballad reminds him of how much he loves learning about the history of music. This early passion will continue to shape the sound going forward. He will still educate. He has started to blog on music history as Tom had suggested. He has been approached about putting out a book of his original poetry in his own name. He has begun to start each concert with reading one of his poems. Alex told him about Tony Whitman’s help with the publicity and the “Make Dwayne a Star” conspiracy. It has been more successful than they could possibly have hoped. Dwayne continues to be concerned about how he will handle ongoing fame. He is counting on how much he loves Sandy to help him stay centered and focused on what really matters.
July 6th was a joyous day. Sandy drove Dwayne, Isadora and Frank to the casino venue between Gallup and Grants. Isadora and Frank sat in the backseat holding hands. The band’s performance that night was a little shaky as the band made the adjustments to Dwayne’s one night break from playing guitar. Dwayne tried to convince Sandy to play the dulcimer part on ’Bliss”. When she refused, they took that part out of the performance for that night. After the concert, Dwayne, Sandy, and “the kids”, Isadora and the young people who had been following the band, hung out in the hotel lobby where they could hear the local country band playing in the bar. Dwayne gave the kids a lesson on country style dancing. Isadora had on make-up, her hair curled and was wearing a dress from her mother’s closet. She looked beautiful, but older than she was. She was a quick learner, a good dancer, and Dwayne became a little fancy with her in some turns. At one point, both Isadora and Dwayne looked over at Sandy to see if she had caught the move Isadora had executed perfectly. Sandy, the former professional dancer, watching her daughter and the man she loved dancing, was beaming with pride and adoration. All was right with the world.
The next morning they woke up to the scandal hitting the local Albuquerque papers and being tweeted and blogged about online. Hotel room trashed, hotel concierge sent out to buy women’s clothing following a drunken altercation with Country star and unknown female friend. Star unable to play guitar after putting his hand through a wall. Someone had taken a picture of Dwayne carrying Sandy and getting onto the elevator. Luckily, Sandy’s face was away from the photographer. However, the blood and puke on the dress was not.
Isadora saw the newspaper before Sandy was awake and went to Dwayne’s room to confront him. He had told her that her mother had food poisoning. This was a lie. Isadora woke Dwayne up and he quickly got dressed and read the newspaper. She sat across from him. He looked at her and thought how much she looked like her mother when angry. She threw her hair back and her eyes flashed a defiant look.
Isadora: Is it true?
Dwayne: There is nothing untrue about it, but it’s not the whole truth. What they print in the papers seldom is.
Isadora: I guess I was kind of hoping that instead of Mom being sick you two were- you know, but I didn’t expect this.
Dwayne: I don’t want you to judge your mother harshly. It was my fault.
Isadora: Did you spike her drink or make her drink?
Dwayne: I actually wasn’t with her when she was doing most of the drinking. I was on stage.
Isadora: So why was it your fault?
Dwayne: It’s complicated.
Isadora: I’ve never seen her drunk or even drink.
Dwayne: We had a disagreement. She was upset.
Isadora: So that’s an excuse to get so drunk that you throw up and pass out.
Dwayne: No, of course not, but people sometimes make bad decisions, even adults.
Isadora: Anything could have happened. How about if you had not been there to help her. She’s always telling me not to drink.
Dwayne: Isadora, as you age, you will realize we all make mistakes. Your mother and I have had an unusual romance the last couple of days. It’s been confusing for us and we both have made mistakes. It doesn’t change who she is.
Isadora: I’m hoping it does.
Isadora: Are the two of you in love?
Dwayne: Yes. I love your mother. I’m hoping that you will allow me to love you too.
Isadora: Do you believe she loves you?
Dwayne: She tells me she does and I believe her.
Isadora: It’s the only thing that makes sense. People do stupid things when they are in love.
Dwayne: There’s truth in that.
Isadora: She’s never been in love before. She was always afraid because she wanted to protect me from being hurt if it didn’t work out. I am hoping being in love will change her. Not that she will pass out drunk, but that she will soften a little. She’s grown a little hard through having to take care of a little girl on her own.
Dwayne: You are not a little girl anymore.
Isadora: No and I don’t like being lied to-especially about my mother-and when it’s always been just the two of us. You should have told me the truth. I would have able to take care of her.
Dwayne: I understand. It’s always been just the two of you and you are protective of her the way she is of you. You have my solemn vow to be truthful going forward if you will give me another chance.
Isadora: Even about my mother?
Dwayne: About her being in trouble, hurt, or sick, yes, but your mother’s and my relationship is about us. I will keep that private.
Isadora: But it impacts me.
Dwayne: I suppose it does.
Isadora: I don’t know, then, if I should allow myself to love you because it might not work out between the two of you. (Isadora’s bottom lip quivered. She appeared much younger than her fifteen years.)
Dwayne: I’m going to do my best to be in your mother’s life. This means I will be in yours. I can’t give you guarantees. I can only promise I will try.
Isadora: I have never had a male figure, you know in my life, and I have always wanted one. Last night, when we were dancing, I started fantasizing that someday, if I was to get married, you would be there to give me away and dance the father-daughter dance with me. Is that silly?
Dwayne: (Dwayne closed his eyes. In some ways she is mature beyond her years, but in wanting a father she is a little girl.). I’ve never had children- a daughter. I was thinking I have a nightstand that belongs to my family. It is always supposed to be in the baby’s room. Someday, if you have a baby…
Isadora: (Interrupted). But it’s really up to if you and Mom make a go with it. My relationship with you is dependent on your relationship with her.
Dwayne: (Nodded) Can you understand why she was so reluctant to bring someone in your life and have you get close to him?
Isadora thought for a while on that. It helped to give her a different perspective on her mother. Her mother always put Isadora’s needs before her own. It would have been so easy for Isadora to be hurt. Her mother, maybe, had sacrificed love so Isadora would not get hurt. Then, her mother had to raise her alone. Now, though, there was hope for both her mother to be in love and Isadora to have a father.
Isadora: But it’s worth the risk, isn’t it? For us to at least hope we’re going to be in each other’s life. I know I haven’t known you long, but I think you could be someone I could depend on if I was in trouble. I want you to be my father.
Dwayne: Honey, nothing would give me more honor.
A few hours later Dwayne said goodbye to Sandy with promises to meet in three weeks in Roswell and to talk at least once a day until then. It was about a week later, when the story of the Albuquerque trashed hotel room was calming down, that the next scandal broke. It appeared that the handsome fifty year old performer had a “thing” for younger women. The journalist had received her sought after job in Sacramento. The story was well timed and well planned. It brought attention to the journalist without any confirmation or damage to her reputation. It was good for her and, in some ways, good for Dwayne’s career. Tickets soared and offers poured in. Scandal is good for celebrity.
The internet entertainment sites started to run stories: fifty-year old singer, who claims to have given up on love, consoles himself with younger women. As long as the pictures were of the journalist with details of her having flown to see him, he did not respond. He was furious when Tom came to him to show him that in addition to the picture of the journalist, was a picture of Dwayne and Isadora dancing. Isadora looked to be 21 and not fifteen in the picture, but…this was Sandy’s daughter! It wasn’t romantic it was… God, Dwayne couldn’t even discuss how disgusted he was with the implications. What if Isadora’s classmates saw it? What kind of reputation would she get?
Tom took control of the situation. With the permission of Sandy, Frank, and Fred, Tom issued a picture of Dwayne Hucks’ young fans. Isadora and Frank made statements on how Dwayne had taken a fatherly interest in his younger fans. Quotes from Frank’s and Fred’s parents on how comforted they felt about Dwayne taking such a personal interest were included. Tom wrote a blog about his experience as a mentor to the interns and four young people following the band. He spoke about the educational aspects of traveling. He highlighted that Dwayne had, until recently, been an educator at a local community college. Dwayne wrote his first historical blog on the harmonica and the civil war. Without ever addressing the issue of the journalist, Tom successfully changed the publicity to highlight Dwayne’s image as a Cowboy Professor. This image will be the established image that Dwayne would have for the rest of his career.
Still, it had been difficult for Dwayne to deal with increased scrutiny and increased media attention. It was exactly what he feared. He wasn’t used to the invasion of privacy. He hated it. He hated it especially on this Thursday heading down to Ruidoso. He had planned on telling Sandy tomorrow what had happened last night. He knew it would be a hard conversation, but was sure Sandy would understand. Now, he fears she would come to the conversation hurt and heartbroken with assumptions already made. A picture broke this morning of him and Dani kissing with the headline: Broken Hearted Cowboy Professor reunites with lost love.
Last night they played their last gig in Colorado. Dwayne returned to the hotel from the concert alone. The other band members were going out for an after show drink, but Dwayne was tired. There was a crowd in the lobby of the hotel who had returned from the concert. They called out to him “thanks for the show.” He waved and smiled. He noticed a woman standing by the elevators as he walked towards them. He thought there was something about her that was familiar. She was smiling. He looked into those beautiful blue eyes and, without thinking, took her in his arms and passionately kissed her.
They stopped kissing when the elevator beeped. They rode the elevator in silence looking at each other and measuring how the years had changed them. Dani had not aged well. She was overweight with a sag to her middle and the beginnings of a double chin. Her hair was dyed dark black. She wore too much make-up and too much jewelry. Her eyes were still the bluest, prettiest eyes Dwayne had ever seen. They went into his room. Dwayne offered her a drink. She said no and sat stiffly in a straight back desk chair. Dwayne sat on the bed, took off his shoes, and looked at her. He was silent and waited for her to explain why she was there.
Dani: I saw the show tonight
Dwayne: I thought you were still living…
Dani: I came especially to see you. I traveled by myself because I wanted to see you.
Dwayne picked up the bottle he had started keeping in his room and took a couple of swigs directly from it. He was more impacted by seeing Dani than he would have thought. Before him sat the woman who, as a young girl, he had sworn before God to love until death do them part. His emotions were conflicted. He felt loyalty, annoyance, heart break, curiosity. He was both drawn towards her and a little repulsed by the older version of his lost love.
Dani: Someone showed me a video of the song, “Blue.” I had to come see it for myself.
Dwayne noticed for the first time she was wearing a dark blue skirt and a white shirt with blue embroidered flowers. It was nothing like the dress she wore on the day he proposed. He wondered if she remembered the dress as much as he did.
Dani: It’s the first time you wrote a song for me or, rather, about me.
Is that true? Dwayne took a last long swig from the bottle. He realized he was dehydrated from the concert and the alcohol was already affecting him. Good, he needed some help at this moment.
Dwayne: Not true. I wrote you a song about your fanny.
Dani: That wasn’t a serious song. You made it up on the spot and forget it right after.
Dwayne: I don’t know why I never wrote a song about you before. I loved you.
Dani: Do you remember our first time?
Dwayne: My God, Dani, of course. I could never forget.
Dani: But your song “The First Time “wasn’t about our first time.
Dwayne shook his head. Had she came all this way to fight over ancient history?
Dani: I’ve thought so much over the years about why I left you. Why couldn’t I have just gone to Nashville with you? I wasn’t honest with either of us at the time.
Dani: No. You told me you had never cheated on me and I believed you. Still “The First Time” wasn’t about our first time.
Dwayne: I told you. It was made up. It wasn’t real.
Dani: But what was real wasn’t worth writing about. You were going to Nashville to write songs about women you were making up in your head and it didn’t matter that they were made up because you weren’t writing about me. I didn’t inspire love songs from you.
Dwayne: I’ve thought about you so many times. Fourth of July I was thinking about that summer when we made all that ice cream –remember? We were kids when we met, we did childish things and I loved you desperately. I loved making love to you. I loved growing up with you. I wasn’t a song writer, then. We were kids is all- having fun together.
Dani: But we grew up and you became a song writer and preferred making up women then writing songs about me.
Dwayne: (He feels defeated and disgusted with himself. What can he do about the past?). What do you want me to tell you?
Dani: That we grew up and you no longer loved me.
Dwayne: You left me. I would never have left you. I would never have cheated on you. I would have been true to our wedding vows. I would have been fine just writing songs and sticking it out with you as I had promised God and you I would do. I just needed the music. I still need the music. I would have stayed with you.
Dani: You would have been fine sticking it out with me? Do you really think what a woman wants is for a man to stick it out with her after he no longer loves her? To be a suffering martyr who stays anyway? It’s not very flattering. I couldn’t stay with you because you no longer loved me, but once we had been in love. I knew what it was to be loved by you.
Dwayne: I’m sorry. I don’t know why I stopped loving you.
Dani: You were always such a romantic and a dreamer when we were kids. It’s why I loved you, really. You were always so in love with concepts and thoughts. So in love with doing right, so in love with history, so in love with learning, so in love with the concept of being in love. You still are. Blogging about the harmonica and the civil war and the music you’re writing now! (Dani laughed and Dwayne thought about how much he has missed her laughter). Everything I’ve seen about you the last few weeks makes me see that boy in you. You are still so…you, at your essence. Everything I fell in love with as a girl. It just made me missed being myself-who I was then, but I had pushed all that away because it was so painful to me. Hearing that song you wrote about an imagined woman when I thought our first time was so beautiful! Then, you finally wrote a song about me. It’s a song about loving me once and about pain when we split and it’s just, I feel like I can be myself. I can at least remember that girl once again who had been young and in love with a handsome, romantic boy.
Dani had moved to sit beside him on the bed. She had put her hand on his back as she said the last part. As Dwayne looked at her, he remembered the girl she had been and the boy in him loved her all over again. He was lost in nostalgia as he made love to her.
An hour later, Dani came out of the bathroom and walked to the side of the bed where Dwayne was sitting. Dwayne was sitting with his shoulders bent, his hands straight in front of him, and his head staring straight down. Dani started to put back on the jewelry she had taken off and put on the nightstand. The last thing she picked up and put on was her wedding ring. As she did, Dwayne raised his head to look at her. She saw the ashamed look on his face.
Dani: You’re not the first man I’ve taken my wedding ring off for.
Dwayne: (shutting his eyes) It doesn’t help to imagine you with other men.
Dani: I just don’t want you to make more of it than what it is. That’s the problem with being such a romantic and believer. Every action is so big to you, but I’ve learned to live in the moment and understand there is very little significance in anything we do.
Dwayne: You and your husband are not in love.
Dani: We are sticking by each other. You were the great love of my life.
Dwayne: I’m sorry. I don’t know what else to say.
Dani: Do you have any body now?
Dwayne: I have recently became involved with the great love of my life.
Dani: I hope you are the great love in your great love’s life. That is something few of us get.
Dwayne: Why did you come to me tonight?
Dani: To thank you for my song and to say a real good-bye. To tell you not to be blue. To ask you to remember me sometimes as that young girl who loved you.
Dwayne: Dani, I will always remember.
Dani walked out of the hotel room and Dwayne’s life. This, the last time he made love to her, was nothing like the first time. It mostly made him feel sad for who his sweet Dani had become. Yet, he didn’t feel responsible anymore. He didn’t choose to not be in love with her. He had just grown up and wasn’t. If they had stayed married –him no longer loving her and her still loving him, they would just both have been miserable. Dani was right to leave. He could see that now. She had been the wise one.
Dwayne took another swig from his bottle. Sandy would need to know, of course. He wouldn’t keep such a thing from her. Dwayne knew the moment Dani walked out the hotel room door that he was free to give himself to Sandy in a way he hadn’t been before. He felt released from the vow he had made before God. He felt sure he could love Sandy without hurting her. He had to make love with his ex-wife before he could truly commit to this new love. Sounded crazy and he knew it didn’t make sense in any type of logical way. It only made sense in the crazy, screwed up world of the way love actually is. He was free now to ask Sandy to marry him.
Dwayne woke up early Thursday morning and went out to buy Sandy an engagement ring. When he saw the blue sapphire in a silver setting, he knew it was the perfect ring. The bus had to wait for him. He was the last ones to get on. Soon as he did, Tom informed him about the picture of Dani and him sweeping the Internet.
Now, Dwayne wonders, if Sandy will even talk to him. He hates the modern world. Everyone has a cell phone, is tweeting, texting, instantly sending images and there is no thought to slowing down and thinking through the moment. Tom reminds Dwayne that without social media they would never have gained the success they had in just five weeks. Yeah, Dwayne thinks, but one kiss in a hotel lobby and look what happens. He tries to get Sandy on the phone and it goes to voice mail. He texts her again, five times in half an hour, and she responds simply that they will talk about it tomorrow.
Sandy is watching her beautiful daughter in her flamenco dance recital and nothing is going to distract her from this wonderful moment. Sandy always knew that with her and her father’s genes, Isadora would have great natural ability for dance. Yet, somehow, Isadora had been bored with ballet classes as a young child. The natural ability hadn’t been accompanied by an interest until Isadora had asked to take Flamenco lessons. Isadora is far from the star of the show. Many of the girls had been taking these summer lessons at the Flamenco Institute for years. Isadora is flawless as part of the background ensemble of dancers. Frank agrees with Sandy’s assessment. He skipped the last few days on the road. He took a bus to Albuquerque to see Isadora in her big performance. The three of them will travel to Ruidoso tomorrow. Frank will travel on with his brother, sister and friend to California. They will not be following the band on the way home. Frank only has a couple of weeks before he starts college in Southern California. Fred is returning to college as well. Jane wants some time with her parents before her senior year of high school. It is a busy time of year. Summer is winding down and real life is beckoning.
Isadora had begged Sandy to move to Southern California so she could be close to Frank. Ridiculous, said Sandy. They had different lives to travel and, if it was meant to be, it would be in a few years. Isadora had argued that a move to California would mean Sandy could be close to Dwayne as well. Sandy feels strongly that it is in Isadora’s best interest to finish school in Albuquerque.
Sandy is in love with Dwayne. Three weeks of communicating just by phone and text had not diminished her love for him. It had, however, given her an opportunity to think about life and love, fate and free-will. She is in love with him, but independent women in the twenty-first century do not move to another state to live with a man they had just met. Sandy has thought about her parents’ relationship and now that she is in love is more determined than ever to keep her independence.
Sandy is not worried about the picture of Dwayne kissing his ex-wife. She is curious about how their conversation went, but knows, from her recent experience with the picture of Dwayne and Isadora, not to trust the Internet world. She is more distracted about the conversation she knows they need to have about the future. Sandy wants them to try a long distance relationship. She knows Dwayne is a romantic. He will think they need a grand gesture and will want to move in together. Sandy is a realist. She has played the conversation over again in her brain and, each time, she sees herself hurting Dwayne. She has told herself to be firm. The most important thing is and always has been Isadora. She would never sacrifice the needs of her daughter for a man. Dwayne has his career which is best served by living in California. There really is no other option. Either they have a long distance relationship or they didn’t have a relationship.
Friday mid-day, Sandy and Isadora check into their room. Isadora immediately goes off with Frank to join Fred and Jane. Sandy wanders downstairs and is allowed into to the auditorium where the band is practicing. Dwayne is singing “Your Home is in My Arms”. She remembers the brief times he had held her three weeks ago. The song is proof of how romantic he is. He had composed it before they had even made love the first time. In hearing the words of the song, Sandy realizes he thinks of her as his with a type of ownership and pride. It is not a concept with which she is comfortable. Sandy stares at him on the stage. She marvels, as she always does, at how uncommonly handsome he is.
It is not long after the rehearsal before they are in Dwayne’s room and she is in her spot in his arms after having made love. Dwayne tried to talk to her first about Dani, but Sandy had told him “sex now, talk later” and he was, after all, only human and had missed her so much. They lay together dreading different conversations. They arrive at an unspoken agreement to postpone the conversations for later on in the week-end. They think to have the conversations early will ruin the week-end. Why not enjoy the time together first? What a relief to be together! The dread of the conversations will vibrate between then like a low sounding, annoying hum throughout the week-end.
Saturday, Sandy and Dwayne go with the “kids” to the alien museum in Roswell. It is campy and silly. There is picture taking, laughing, holding hands. Sandy thinks how nice it is to be with a man whose company she enjoys outside of the bedroom. She notices the way Dwayne interacts with Isabella. He asks about the dance recital. Frank shows him the video he took with his phone. Dwayne and Isadora lean together to watch the video. Lunch is burgers, fries and shakes. Dwayne wipes the mustard off Sandy’s face and brings his lips to hers.
At the Saturday concert, Dwayne gives a shout out to his young fans on their last night of following the band. Isadora will travel back with the kids tomorrow morning as they drive through Albuquerque, so that Sandy can stay for the show at the winery and have one more night with Dwayne before the band leaves on Monday. After the concert, Isadora and Dwayne hug goodbye. She whispers something in his ear and Dwayne kisses her on the forehead. Sandy thinks of the conversation Isadora and she had about how nice it would have been to have had a male presence. Sandy’s lover and daughter are bonded in a natural older male figure and younger daughter relationship. Sandy is somewhat dismayed by how easily and willingly Dwayne took on that role. Neither Dwayne nor Isadora have told Sandy about their conversation of a few weeks earlier. What Isadora whispers is: “I still want you to be my father.”
Saturday evening is an early night for the band. As the second stage headliner, they are done by eight so the crowd can head to the main stage. Dwayne has made dinner reservations at the nicest steak house in Roswell. He had planned on proposing. Now, he hesitates with so much left unsaid between them. It is over dinner that Sandy brings up the conversation about Dani.
Sandy: So she just showed up?
Dwayne: After all these years without any communication at all. She heard the song “Blue”. I never thought about the fact that I had never written a song for her or about her. She wanted to tell me not to be blue.
Sandy: You wrote poems about your divorce.
Dwayne: She wouldn’t have known about those. She wouldn’t have known about “Blue” except for all the publicity we’ve gotten. The thing is I wrote songs about Carolyn and about you. It doesn’t make sense why I didn’t ever write a song about her. I had never thought, really, how she might have felt. I thought as long as I was doing the right thing by my vows, but that didn’t mean we were right together any longer.
Sandy: You weren’t a songwriter when you were in love with her.
Dwayne: I was when we were still married. I’ve been thinking about that boy I was that was so in love with her. Dani said I was a romantic. Maybe I wanted to protect that boy and that girl. Dani had given me so much, but obligation without love; not much of a marriage at the end. We weren’t that boy and girl when we divorced.
Sandy: It makes me scared for Isadora.
Dwayne: But you have to let her have the experience. There is something special about your first love at that young age. Frank is a good kid. I can tell you at that age no one would have stopped me from marrying Dani and I don’t regret it any longer. I can think about the girl I was in love with fondly.
They finish their meal and return to the hotel. When they park the car, Sandy says, “So, you slept with her?”
Dwayne: I did. I didn’t even think about why or how it might affect you. I just…did. I guess in a way we needed to say good-bye, but it was sad. I don’t think I had ever experienced goodbye sex before. (Dwayne let’s out a loud sigh and turns and look Sandy fully in the eyes.)
Sandy: Dwayne, you won’t see that look of disappointment in my eyes. We’re not married or engaged.
Dwayne: Should that matter?
Sandy: If you told me you had sex with a stranger and it didn’t mean anything that would matter. Maybe it’s because “Blue” came through me. The two of you had to have some closure after all this time. I really understand. I know it doesn’t mean you don’t love me.
They walk up to the door of the hotel room Sandy is sharing with her daughter. Dwayne leans on the wall next to the door.
Dwayne: You are an unusual woman.
Sandy: I think it is unusual how much I know your heart and your mind. Our connection is what is unusual.
Dwayne: Perhaps, it is the only way you could have fallen in love. You had to hold my heart and know it before you could open yourself up to love.
Sandy: I think you are right. God or cosmic energy, whichever, had to intervene or I would never have been able to love. Now that I have, I can’t imagine I could go through my whole life without ever being in love.
Dwayne: Just remember you still hold my heart completely. Be gentle with it.
He kisses her goodnight.
The next morning Sandy doesn’t see Dwayne. She takes the kids to breakfast and helps them to organize their stuff so they will have more room for the return home. With admonishments to be careful, she watches them drive away. Dwayne meets with reporters in the morning and interviews a candidate for band manager after. The Marketing Director from the hotel in Albuquerque has driven to Roswell to interview. Dwayne is impressed with him again and offers him the job.
Sandy is late getting to the winery. Dwayne moves through the crowd mingling before the show. She thinks he looks much more professorial then a cowboy. These people had paid good money for intimate time and Dwayne is giving them their money’s worth; making them laugh and charming them. Sandy hangs back and watches. She is impressed with how much he knows about wine and local area history. Alex sees her and comes over to talk to her.
Alex: You know he’s always been like this. He refers to himself as a social introvert.
Sandy: What exactly does that mean?
Alex: Hell if I know. I think it means that everybody loves him, but he loves very few people.
Sandy: He loves you.
Alex: He loves you.
Sandy: Is that all?
Alex: He could love your daughter.
Sandy thinks about that as her and Alex’s wine glasses are filled. She knows a father is what Isadora wants, but it has been just the two of them for so long.
Alex: How many people can you say you really love?
Sandy: My daughter and her best friend, my best friend, and Dwayne.
Alex: Anybody else?
Sandy: I could learn to love you.
Sandy: Because Dwayne does.
Alex: I wouldn’t spend a lot of time learning to love me. (He looks her in the eyes until he could see that she fully understands what he is saying).
Sandy: Does Dwayne know?
Alex: He suspects, I guess.
Sandy: Why are you telling me?
Alex: When I’m gone, he will only love you. Will you be ready for that?
Sandy: I don’t know. I might hurt him.
Alex: That sometimes happens when you roll the dice on love.
Sandy: Why didn’t you marry?
Alex: I had a common law marriage in New Orleans. My woman, my sister and her son, my namesake, were all killed in one disaster.
Sandy: That’s horrible.
Alex: That also sometimes happens when you roll the dice. It’s easier not to love, but you miss out on a lot too when you make that choice. It’s better to roll the dice than not.
Can Alex somehow know that Sandy wants to play it safe with Dwayne? Sandy pushes the conversation she still needs to have out of her mind to enjoy the concert. It is the last time she will see the band in this configuration.
Dwayne and Sandy have made love and have taken a long hot shower. He is in sweatpants and is shirtless. She is in the nightgown she wore in Albuquerque. He towel dries her hair, takes the comb out of her hand, sits on the bed and brings her to sit with her back towards him, he wraps his legs around her waist and begins to comb her hair. When he is almost done, he speaks.
Dwayne: I guess we can decide not to talk about it. We can go our different ways tomorrow and I can call you after the tour, ask you to come out for a visit or come visit you.
Sandy: (That is exactly what I want). Would that be so bad?
Dwayne stops combing and puts the comb on the nightstand. He leans forward and puts his left arm around her waist. He smells her hair and kisses her cheek. It is a new moon and there is no light as the night settles in. He turns on a table lamp.
Dwayne: I took you for a planner.
Sandy: I am.
Dwayne: Then let’s plan.
Dwayne knows just where the engagement ring he bought is. He hopes this conversation is leaning towards the path he wants it to take.
Sandy: I know your career and all of your plans involve California.
Dwayne: They do now, but I’ve only made plans a few months out. I don’t have to base my career in Los Angeles. I do have Alex to worry about. He won’t tell me, but he’s dying. I think it will just be a few months.
Sandy: I have Isadora to think about.
Dwayne: Wouldn’t she prefer to be close to Frank?
Sandy: She’s in high school and he is in college. They could be out of love in a month.
Sandy: I don’t see how our lives fit together.
Dwayne: They don’t. Is that the point? Maybe we shouldn’t try to fit each other into our current lives. Instead we take the leap, say we want to be together, it’s a priority, and then think about how to make it happen and what our lives will look like going forward. We plan it together, but it begins with the commitment to each other as our top priority.
Sandy: Is that how it happened with your other two loves?
Dwayne: With Dani we were graduating high school. Our lives were going to change anyway. With Carolyn, it was easy. She was already in Nashville. I just moved into her place.
Sandy: We’ve only known each other a few weeks. This is literally the fifth day we’ve spent together.
Dwayne: I know that you are the great love of my life.
Sandy: I love you, too. You are the only man I have ever loved.
Dwayne: Just because you are the great love in my life does not mean I am the great love of yours. Maybe I am just your first.
Sandy turns and wraps her legs around Dwayne’s waist. She looks him in the eyes.
Sandy: You are my one and only. You are the only man I could ever love.
Dwayne: Can you trust me?
Sandy: Yes, it’s not about trust. It’s about common sense that we get to know each other more.
Dwayne: You said it last night. The connection between us is unique. You have held my thoughts, my heart and my soul in your head. How could you know me better? Marry me.
Dwayne wants to reach for the ring, but stops. He sees flight in Sandy’s eyes unlike anything he has ever seen before. She is withdrawing from him. He thinks of the time she trembled in fright while teaching him the song “Bliss”. What is she so afraid of?
Sandy: Marry you? I wasn’t expecting…
Dwayne: Say yes, baby. Just say yes. Take the leap.
Sandy: But we haven’t answer the questions of …
Dwayne: It’s a leap of faith, we will figure it out after the commitment.
Sandy: I’ve been thinking all weekend that you would ask me to move to California and when I said no we would end it.
Dwayne: How in the Hell can we decide to end it when we love each other so much?
Sandy: Is love enough?
Dwayne: It’s the most important thing, I thought. Happily ever after means marriage. It does to me.
Sandy: Not yet.
Dwayne rises from the bed. He is disappointed. He walks over to the mirror and runs his hands over his face. Time for a shave. He slowly and methodically spreads shaving cream on his face and begins to shave. While he does he looks in the mirror at Sandy who begins to get dressed. Dwayne has only shaved one side of his face when he turns to her.
Dwayne: What the Hell are you doing?
Sandy: I’m getting dressed to leave.
Dwayne: Do you not want to spend the night in my arms?
Sandy: Do you still want me to?
Dwayne: Forever and always, but I will settle for whatever time you can spare.
Sandy begins to sob. Dwayne remembers a verse of a poem. The last thing he had written-the only thing he written- when the blue dreams started. The verse he hadn’t known where the inspiration came from. It had somehow came from her in premonition of this moment. The fright! The flight! He asked her too soon. He goes to Sandy and folds her in his arms.
Dwayne: I’m sorry, babe. I forgot.
Dwayne: You don’t believe in love. Fate or God or whatever intervened and now you’re in love, but you still don’t believe in it. It’s not me you don’t trust, its love. I need to stand by until you do. When you decide you believe in love, my arms, your home will be waiting for you. We will live wherever you think is best.