Between Rock and a Home Base

If he were back in his hometown of Springhill, Alexander would know where he belonged. Surrounded by friends, he would be running the family restaurant by now, setting up his guitar in the back storage room on Friday’s and playing his music at the local festival.

On the road, he felt lost. His adoring fans told him he was changing the industry. To them he sounded fresh and edgy, although secretly Alexander still thought he was rough-cut and figuring himself out.

He thought a lot about the big picture. Alexander talked about it at his show in between numbers. Apart from his rough-voiced ballads and guitar solos, Alexander was best known for wearing a blue boxing robe that he would take off when he felt like he landed a knockout punch with his performance. It drove the crowd wild.

Alexander felt isolated off the stage. He was the leader of Alexander’s Drag Time Band, but his band mates were distant. Whenever he went out, he felt compelled to hold court and validate his existence to strangers.

Alexander wanted to be remembered for his brilliant ideas—a savior to the music industry. People would write books about him, and maybe he would have his own line of maple syrup. One day Springhill High School would rename itself after him. He was going to be someone in the world—even if he became someone in solitude.

After an 18-month tour, he retuned to Springhill. He felt riled up coming home from a tour. When he was home, all he thought about was going back out there, but when he was out there, he thought about when he the tours would end. He knew that sounded cliché, but that’s how he thought. Then he worried if he was a cliché.

For her own amusement Alexander’s high school girlfriend, Cassie, kept up with him. She worked at a law office that was gaining credibility. She loved her team and built a life Springhill. She invited Alexander out with them one day after work. He wore a disguise, as he always did in public—although, in Springhill, they mostly left him alone.

The law team talked about the day in minute detail. Alexander could not believe how little happened in their stories. He was dying to tell a story about his recent experience on a late night show or when some famous person came backstage to congratulate him. He tried not to do that. Cassie told him that he sounded pretentious whenever he did

He wanted to have day-to-day moments that were worth capturing. He wanted to feel like his days weren’t a waste in between performances. He worried for so long about the monotony of normal and now he realized that it was the thing that was out of grasp. Not the fame or the fortune, but for daily moments of peace.

He felt isolated in Springhill. He left Cassie and the bar and walked to the family restaurant. His Mom would make dinner before he went home to start writing songs for his next album and tour. Home was hidden between guitar strings. Soon he could put on his blue robe and become someone aspiring to have a line of maple syrups.