I look out over the crowd. I don't remember where I am. I don't even remember coming onstage.
But that's normal, for me. There's a lot I don't remember now. I'll be here for a while, and then I'll just be somewhere else, not knowing how I ended up there. Just like now.
I don't know how long I'll be aware of this before I forget again, but it doesn't matter. I can do it all automatically, without even thinking.
You'd assume that would mean a bad performance, but they're cheering, so I assume I've been doing well. I always do well. At least, that's what everyone tells me. I can't tell anymore if they really mean it, or if that's just what people say to rock stars.
I suppose I must be good, though, because people still come to watch me. People still give me money. But I don't remember why. And I don't care.
That might be the worst part: I don't care about anything. I don't feel anything. I'm just empty.
Whether I'm aware of what's going on or not, that doesn't really matter. Nothing matters anymore, because there's nothing inside me. I am nothing.
Part of me thinks that should be worrying, but I don't feel worry anymore. Like I said, I don't feel anything anymore.
It's a good thing my body still knows what to do, how to make them feel good. I don't have to try. I'm just stuck in this rhythm: Write, record, tour, party, fuck. And be high through all of it.
A part of me thinks that maybe, if I could just stop all of that, I could be real again. I could feel again. A part of me thinks that I should. But I can't.
How can I stop if I'm not even aware of what I'm doing most of the time?
So I keep going, because I can't do anything else. And I tell myself it's for the best, because this way, I make people happy.
They say that I help them. And I keep performing, because that's a rock star lifestyle: Give up who you are to make others happy.
And then I see something, and it feels real. It's the first real thing I've seen in... I don't remember. I can't really judge time anymore.
It's a face in the crowd, and when I see it, I can remember who I used to be.
I can remember going to school. I can remember hundreds of girls, all dressed just like me. Nobody dresses like me now. They say my style's unique. I don't even know what I'm wearing right now.
I can remember sunshine. I never see the sun anymore. I don't know whether I'm asleep during the day, or if I'm just never aware of it.
I can remember happiness. Feeling.
I can remember sadness and jealousy and anger and love.
I can remember friends, who knew who I was. Who I really was. Even I don't know who I am now.
But back then, there were many people who knew me.
There were so many of them, but he's the only one who's here now.
I remember him, I remember his blue eyes, and I remember our band.
I remember leaving them. For this.
I'm so sorry.
I look away, because I'll lose track of what I'm doing otherwise, and I stop thinking about him. In fact, I stop thinking altogether. One minute of consciousness, and then I'm gone again.
The next thing I know is that people are saying I was incredible. It's what they always say. They probably mean it, but it doesn't matter either way. It hasn't mattered in a long time.
I ask them where Dave is, but they don't know. Of course they don't know, and I wasn't really asking them. It's just that I don't know how to find him again, but I have to find him, because I'll be able to be me again if I'm with him, and I want to be me again. When I saw him, I remembered who I was, and I want to feel that again.
I want to feel.
I want to get out of here, so that I can find him, but I can't because there are too many people, and they want something from me. They've probably got a party planned, because I'm a rock star and a rock star lifestyle means going to parties every night. But I don't want to go, because I'll forget again if I do, and I don't want to forget tonight. I want to be alive again, but I need him to do that, and I can't find him, because there are too many people, and the air's getting thinner all the time and I can't breathe properly, but I'm still here.
I'm still here, so I can still find him.
And then he's there. He shouldn't have been able to get back here, but he's standing there, looking at me. Those eyes gazing at me, seeing me. Actually seeing me.
I can feel myself fading as he comes closer, or maybe I'm the one coming closer, and then we're together, and we're leaving, together.
I don't know where we are. It can't be my room, so it must be his. I don't know what I did to get here, but I'm sure we've only just arrived.
He makes us tea and then sits down next to me. We start to talk, catching up, and I don't remember the last time I chatted like this, just talking casually, with a friend. It's not part of a rock star lifestyle, and it feels wonderful. It feels real.
He asks me, "Are you okay, Jess?"
There's a long pause.
"Of course I'm okay. I just said, things are great."
He smiles, but his eyes look sad. "I know things are great, but I don't think you are. Even on the way here..." He looks away from me and frowns. "You didn't seem like yourself. Like you used to be."
It's great, like I've got friends wherever I go.
It's just so rewarding to know I'm able to touch so many lives.
It's a blast; I have so much fun, all the time.
I love being a rock star.
But I want to be honest with him. I haven't told anyone how I really feel, not in years. But he deserves to hear it. Because he's made me feel alive.
"I don't know who I am anymore, Dave," I say. I shake my head. There's something prickling at my eyes. "It's like I'm not even there most of the time. I go onstage, I go to parties... and then I just disappear."
I look into his eyes, so big and blue and beautiful, and I can see he understands. He believes me.
He doesn't know how to help me, but he tries. He talks to me, and he listens to me, and eventually, he just holds me.
As far away as I've been, I still know that this isn't normal. This isn't what normal friends do. After everything that's happened between us, this is the most terrible and I feel awful for doing this to him. I feel ashamed. But at least I feel.
And the only reason I can feel now is that he understands. He understands that this is what a rock star lifestyle is.
Perhaps he always understood. Perhaps that's why he came to see me, even after all I did. He already understood, all those years ago, way before I did, and that was why he didn't get mad at me for leaving him behind.
And that's why nobody else can see me. Nobody else knows what it means to be a rock star. Nobody else can hear what I'm saying, except him.
"Hold me while I cry."
And he does.