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  • Writer's pictureJessika Brust

Happy Easter, Part III

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

Click for Part I.

Click for Part II.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The light was blinding, and the air so brisk. The sound of the surf chopping the sand was abrasive to my aching head, and my shoes were filled with sand. And as if waking up on a beach during cold weather weren't strange enough, I realized I had been sleeping beside someone.

Memories of the past 24 hours slowly returned -- the attempted forced entry, the rehearsal, the drive, the gig...THE GIG! That embarrassing disaster of a gig where we were forced to leave before it was even over. And now half of the band was somewhere in a hotel in a drugged stupor, and the other half was...oh right! They spent the night in jail for a DUI! Were they still in jail? And I had chosen the lesser of the available evils, and had spent the night in the company of Bryan.

My eyes were caked shut with sleep, sand, and stage makeup. I peeled them open, to find Bryan gradually waking up too. We were under a shared comforter, like a bunch of kindergarteners in gym class playing under a parachute. We'd ended up huddled together for heat, but once the alcohol processed from our systems, we didn't stand a chance against the cold coastal winds -- even with all my blankets. We were each shivering violently by the time we sat up.

There were hardly words for our lack of dignity. Bryan and I blinked at each other, and I said, "Happy Easter."

Where was my car? We had strolled quite a distance from where we'd parked and subsequently become too inebriated to drive. We backtracked towards the nightclub in the strangest walk of shame processional that quiet beach town had ever seen.

At last we found my little Rio, and thank God I was sober. We hopped in to crank the heat. I wasn't sure I could stay awake long enough to drive 40 minutes north to where Bryan had left his car, where our band had been evicted from the club. The trudge through the sand dunes had been exhausting, so we stayed parked and slept some more.

I woke up and looked at the clock. If I didn't leave within an hour, I'd be late to celebrate Easter with my boyfriend's family, as promised. And holy cow, I needed a shower. It was time to begin my odyssey back home.

Bryan and I stopped at a gas station for breakfast. He graciously filled up my tank, then I dropped him at his SUV. "Drive safe," was all he could think of to say as he got out.

Highway hypnosis has always been a problem for me, and on this Easter morning I had no more energy left to fight it. On two occasions, I pulled over to nap, then would wake myself back up to press on. No amount of caffeine could help me now, I was too far gone.

Bryan kept texting updates throughout the day -- the band had decided to all go out for a big breakfast together. Shane and Fiona had been released from jail; Mitch and Sean had crashed off their crazy trips. Bryan was hungover, but ever curious to see how the events of last night played out for everyone else. He was always entertained by drama. And he wished I were there with them -- he missed me.

My boyfriend Owen called, wondering how everything went.

"Baby, it was awful. It's a long story, but let me tell you in person, in private. Your nephews shouldn't be overhearing this."

Luckily for me, the festivities were kicking off later than planned, so I had time to jump in the shower and catch a nap before heading over to their house.

Owen greeted me with a kiss when he answered the door, and could see I was worn.

"How was your gig, Jess?" his mother inquired. Owen told his mom everything. She was his number one. Anything told to Owen in confidence was by default told to his mother. I know she was already aware there had been drama, and was ever-so-subtly looking for evidence against my integrity. My family hadn't had the money to pay for my entire college education, you see -- I had DEBT -- and debt is something Owen's family never does. I was way too low class for her baby boy.

Owen sat with me on a couch, away from the others. It is always my policy to be transparent and honest, and I told him everything -- the lack of sound equipment, the cocktails of drugs, the terrible playing, the meddling girlfriend of my bandmate, and the fact that Bryan had been my only friend. I shared the entire story of leaving everyone else but Bryan behind, deciding not to split a hotel room with the dudes who had declared there were more lines yet to snort; choosing instead to escape and try to turn the night around; of no hotels being open and sleeping on the beach wrapped in my blankets. I even shared the part where Bryan had tried to kiss me, but I'd pushed him away. Owen knew, because I'd been totally upfront, that Bryan and I had a romantic history, albeit a brief and frustrating one. He knew that Bryan would still push his luck with me when given the opportunity. But what Owen couldn't believe was that I would refuse Bryan's advances. I'd been refusing Bryan's advances for months before Owen and I had even met. Being the "other woman" wasn't a role I was willing to play, no matter how strong the attraction. I was hurt that that was the only role Bryan had offered to me, and I staunchly maintained that we were to be "just friends and colleagues" from that point on.

But for such a high class family like Owen's, being the only girl working in a band of men was certainly not a reputable way to earn income. Spending the night with a friend who's very presence would keep you safe was a much trashier choice than driving the four hours home on no sleep. To them, I had very much gone out of my senses. In my eyes, I had chosen to stay safe and alive, away from illegal activity and miserable people -- but Owen couldn't see it that way.

We returned to his family and their celebrations, with Owen's mother glancing curiously at us to find out why he seemed so tense. The rest of that day was a blur, between the racing children, laughing grandparents, Bryan's texts, and Owen's discomfort. Thank God I didn't have rehearsal for The Music Man that day -- I could get a solid night's sleep to recover before jumping back in the ring with the symphony -- thus proving to myself and to them that that was where I truly ought to be gigging.

Happy Easter to me.

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