Temporary Ones

Sometimes she caught herself thinking about what life would be like in twenty years time. Examining herself in the over-sized mirror with a critical eye, Stevie tilted her head to the side, grimacing at the stretched skin on her neck, the lines on her face that no make-up could hide. She would be eighty-five then. It sounded ridiculous.

A knock came at the dressing room door and she sighed. Well, at least she still had the adulation of her audience. For now. The cheers and screams and adoring eyes lifted her spirits for the next two and a half hours. It was enough.

Then she was backstage again, looking at herself in the mirror as the facade of youth was stripped away. She knew she was still attractive, people regularly affirmed that for her, but it was always followed now with that horrid caveat - ‘FOR HER AGE’. Stevie hated that. Sometimes she teased Lindsey about being an old man, let her fingertips trail along the wrinkles on his tanned face, smiling as she curled her fingers into his grey hair. He’d wince and tell her to ‘knock it off’. On one occasion, as they’d recorded late into the night a year ago, she’d dared to kiss his lips, tell him softly that at least some things got better with age. He’d had the nerve to tell her that maybe she was so old now that her memory was truly suffering and she’d merely forgotten had good a kisser he’d always been. Five minutes later she’d been ready to agree with him if only he would stop with his exquisite teasing and take his damn shirt off. He hadn’t.

Life on earth was a temporary state of being for her, for them, Stevie knew that. Which was why she occasionally (often) found herself worrying that maybe she had misread their situation. For years, decades even, she’d been telling herself (had known with full certainty, in fact) that any woman who was with Lindsey was a temporary thing. Yes, he clung to relationships far longer than he really should but eventually they ended. And then he was completely hers again for a time, not just part of him.

Surrounded by friends and other hangers on, she walked to her limo, catching a glimpse of her former boyfriend walking through the venue’s doors, flanked by his wife, Will and some of the young boy’s friends. He was holding Kristen’s hand and chatting animatedly to her about god knows what. That wasn’t the point.

The point was that they were still holding hands. And had been for more than twice the actual number of years he and Stevie had dated.

He still looked content. And happy.

After this much time, Stevie knew she shouldn’t feel that jolt of possessive jealousy, that need to go over and claim him. She started when Karen tapped her shoulder lightly, a concerned expression on her face. Of course. In the car. Time to go home. Alone.

She put her handbag on the seat beside her and pressed her face to the window, almost like a little child again. She felt childish. Mere feet away, she could see Lindsey grinning as he ruffled Will’s hair and opened the back door of the car so Kristen could get in. He joined them. As he always did. She closed her eyes with a sigh and leaned her head back.

Sometimes Stevie found herself trying to picture her future in twenty years. Lindsey figured into it prominently, of course, as he did at all times in her life. Once upon a time, she’d allowed herself to imagine that maybe they would have things sorted out by then, that fate would allow them something resembling a normal life together. That these women, these temporary shadows who filled her place, would have all left by then, leaving her in her rightful role in Lindsey Buckingham’s life and heart.

But Kristen - lovely, beautiful, youthful Kristen - still stood by her husband’s side, holding his hand in hers, giving him the family and security and life that Stevie hadn’t been able to give him, still couldn’t give him.

Sometimes Stevie let herself acknowledge that this state of always wanting and never having was permanent.

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