**inspired by the song “All Those Days Are Gone” by Jump, Little Children’s Jay Clifford**
The night life seemed so romantic to me. I knew everybody wants to be here, touring with this show, the glitter, the glamour. I knew it would be so nice to stay up until four or five, sipping fruity whiskey with strangers I meet in the bars. We get to the clubs about five o’clock in the afternoon. The roadies unload the equipment and sound checks begin. We leave the club for dinner by eight, usually to go to a diner across the street. We look out the grease spotted windows as the kids start to line up. They are wearing jeans and spandex and thrift store shirts that are two sizes too small. We watch them smile and nod at each other, the excitement of the evening building as the sun goes down and the lights go up. We always wait in the restaurants until the doors open so that we won’t be attacked as we pass the club to get to the stage entrance. The opener is always done by eleven and we take the stage. They love us. They know our names and they know our faces. Light bulbs flash as we struggle to let our eyes adjust to see our pedal boards and microphones. We smile and we rock harder than we have ever rocked before.
The rush of the crowd singing along is unparalleled. They know us, and they love us. Their cheers encourage us to be bigger and better than we are. We are rock gods here on this grubby stage placed in the southern United States. Hear us roar. Now. We will rock for your delight. We make eye contact with every preening boy and girl on the front row. They love it when we play our one hit that has washed over every college radio in the last two weeks. The whole club starts jumping so hard that if you stand still, you will feel the ground give way under the force of it all.
Silence. Silence is the sound I hear as I climb on the bus to go to the Super Eight. There’s a slight drizzle out and it rains glitter on the window beside me. The doors hush to a close and the lights dim as everyone slumps into seats. We, the rock gods, are as sweaty as field hands. We stink of beer and cigarettes, and our cheeks are covered with salt and makeup. My hair is matted with gel and mousse and spray. I stink of the underground morning.
We stayed at the bar until every cd had been signed, until every groupie had been hugged, until every bottle had been emptied, and every amplifier packed away. We stayed longer than we should have. We stayed long enough for the night to whisper away while we were under the lights and the graphic equalizers.
I drag my feet all the way to my room. I throw my suitcase on the dresser and head to the bathroom. I pull my stinking clothes off and throw them into the closet. I will bag them tomorrow, or perhaps forget them, it doesn’t matter. I scrub a washcloth over my grimy face, the white terry cloth turning tan with the residue of the night. I pull the red curtains closed before crawling into bed. The sun has begun to rise, and I must not see it. I can pretend the sunlight has come to an end. The memories fade as I lay in bed and relax, my spine arguing as it settles into the softness of the mattress.
I’ll trade the moon for the sun, but this feeling for no one.