nobody else ever will. // drabble
Each night, every show ends the same; bows first from the entire band, before the three siblings link hands together on their own and stand before a roaring crowd. Jacob finds himself squeezing, dreading the moments he has to leave the stage and enter back into ‘reality.’ The boys do their final bow, and Jacob takes one last look at the crowd. It’s hard to see much beyond the first row, but just in that first row, there’s cellphone cameras in their faces, girls falling practically all over themselves to get noticed in their final moments. Someone in that line wants to be the one Jacob hands off his drumsticks to – a decision that’s almost always unconscious unless there’s a small child in the front who Jacob wants to ensure remembers that night for the rest of their lives. That night, though, there’s no one so his drumsticks get handed off to the security guard, who hands them off to some lucky fan.
As they begin exiting the stage, the ache in his stomach only worsens. Beyond a certain line of glow-in-the-dark tape, there’s no more music, no more crowd – no more anything. There’s obligatory questions shared between him and his brothers about what their nights hold. Casey’s got a nasty bitch of a wife to appease, and a new baby to listen to the cries of. That’s something. And then there’s Isaiah, who seems to be living in some sort of picture perfect world where he gets fame, money, and a functioning family. Their hands will be full, as they’re both passed the threshold of adulthood…mostly. These talks only last so long before they go their separate ways.
Jacob opens the heavy door to his hotel room, and a chill immediately clings to him. Now with so much silence surrounding him, he can truly hear how much his ears are ringing from such an ecstatic crowd. He misses it – misses the joy, and the excitement of making a thousand people smile just by doing what he loves. He misses the adoration that would surely leave the minute anyone saw beyond the masking curtains.
He leaves doorway, closing the door behind him. The Jack Daniels Jacob always requests whenever they travel is the only thing waiting for him in that room. No wife, no kids, just this. It’s funny, in Hollywood, no one questions a sixteen-year-old kid that wants his own room and plenty of alcohol as long as he’s willing to get onstage and make people money by playing. Another way he’s able to bring a smile to people’s faces, he supposes, as he walks towards the kitchenette. He pops open his bottle, and he pours himself a shot. The first one always goes down easy because it’s somehow the least shameful. It’s the ‘I’m just trying to take the edge off’ shot. Just trying to kill some of the pain that can only be found in a cold, empty hotel room.
He cringes at the bitter taste, but he welcomes the burning in his throat on the way down. Make me forget, he finds himself thinking as he makes his way over to the couch and he turns on the television just to have some noise beyond his ringing ears and nagging thoughts. The bottle comes with him, and he knows, this is where he’ll be spending the rest of his night. He always knows, at the end of every single show, he’ll spend the rest of his evening in front of a flickering television screen, becoming closer and closer with the cast of Friends than anyone else outside that door. He always knows…but nobody else ever will.