ONE WOMAN SHOW

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Chapter 35

Eloisa

I have no idea how I got through the second half of the show.

I phoned it in—messed up the lyrics a few times. I didn’t want to be there. My heart was with X and his father, and I was counting down the minutes until I could see him. It was all I could do not to run offstage and follow him. I prayed silently that he’d make it in time. That he’d get to speak the words he needed so badly to say. My heart seized, overwhelmed at the thought of what he must be feeling.

I run offstage after my last song, having already decided that I’m not doing the encore. I nearly run Sandy over in my haste to get to my dressing room. Her face, clouded with worry and anguish, stops me.

“I heard from X,” she tells me sadly. “His dad…his dad passed about half an hour ago.”

Oh, no. I sink down on a nearby crate, my heart and hands shaking. “How is he?”

She shakes her head, her eyes watery. “I don’t know. He just sent a text.” She hands me her phone. “He’s going to wrap things up there and meet us at the hotel. He told you not to come to the hospital.”

I read the messages with a heavy heart. I quickly dial his number, but he doesn’t answer. I put my head in my hands, feeling absolutely miserable. Poor X. I have to go to him, make sure he was OK. Did he make it in time? Did he get to say goodbye ? I send him a quick text to let him know I’ll be waiting for him. I need to hold him. Talk to him and give him my condolences. Sadness washes over me when I think about Donovan, too, and what a loving person he was. I only met him once, but he left a mark.

The crew packed up, all of us down and out. This was just something else to add to the pile of shit we’d been dealing with. I even let Joe and Big take extra precautions with me, leading me through the back door of the hotel. I didn’t want to do anything else to worry X and add any stress to his plate.

I kept checking my phone, but he still wasn’t answering. The desire to hear his voice was becoming overwhelming.

Rob walked me up to my room, an arm around my shoulders. He assured me security around the hotel was crawling and in place and that I had nothing to worry about. They were going to vet any guy who stepped foot in the door! I wasn’t worried about myself, though. All I wanted was X.

Inside the room, I had no idea what to do with myself. Sandy and Joe invited me to dinner in the lobby to talk, but I refused, unable to think about eating. I could barely stomach the thought.

Alone and pacing, I think about my own father. I think about his face as he left my dressing room a couple of weeks ago. He doesn’t deserve anything from me, but…how would I feel if something happened to him? Had I said all I needed to say?

Making the quick decision, I pick up the phone and dial a number I’ve never dialed before.

He picks up on the first ring. “Eloisa?”

“Yeah, it’s me.” Oh, God. What have I done?

“Is everything OK? You’ve never called me before.”

“I know. I just felt bad the way things left off.”

“Don’t feel bad. I understand.” There’s a quick pause. “I know you must have so much going on. I didn’t follow what was happening that night, but…I hope you’re OK.”

I wasn’t OK. But could I live my life without giving him a chance to repent for what he had done? I learned with Joel that alcoholism was a disease. The man I was talking to now was sober, as far as I knew. He told Sandy he wanted to ask for my forgiveness, but I’d never given him the chance. Lost in thought, I don’t respond, but then he surprises me and gets my attention.

“Your show was amazing tonight.”

“You were there?”

He sighs. “Yes. I’ve got tickets to several more, too. I’m so proud of you, E. Watching you up there…it brings me so much joy. I know I’ve been a terrible father, and I don’t deserve anything from you, but…I can’t keep myself away.”

I make another quick decision. “Are you still in New York?”

“Yes, I’m staying at the Motor Inn.”

It’s right down the street from where I’m staying. “Do you want to come over and talk? I’m at the Marriott. I…I’m not sure where our relationship can go from here, but I’m willing to finally hear you out.”

I hear what sounds like a soft cry before he says, “I’d love that. Can I…can I come now?”

I don’t know where X is, but I figure I have enough time to get in a small talk with my dad before he gets back. “Sure. Just…security is really tight. Find Big in the lobby, and when you get here, call me. They’ll never let you up otherwise.”

We get off the phone a few minutes later, and as soon as I hang up, I get an alert for a text message. It’s from Sandy.

Sandy: Hey, Eloisa. What room are you in?

Huh. That’s weird. I could have sworn she was around when I got my room number in the lobby. She probably wants to talk, as we planned earlier. It’s not the best time, but perhaps I can fit that in, too, before my dad arrives. I want uninterrupted time with X when he gets here.

I quickly text back: Room 224.

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