Sometimes, Lindsey was fairly certain that it was the moments just before and after the show that were the most difficult. Sure, a run of too many shows in a week might leave him feeling his age, tired and physically weary, but it wasn’t emotionally taxing like those in-between moments were.
As he took hold of Stevie’s hand and walked with her, a united front as they marched to the stage to perform for their audience, it felt as it always had, as familiar as anything in his life was. He had never been a believer in the perfect fit but her hand sure felt like it was meant to be in his, was the perfect fit for his. Maybe it was just the result of wishful thinking or because of their past intimacy. Or maybe it was true. Wishing her good luck for the show as they heard the crowd roar at the sight of Mick taking his place behind the kit caused her to look up at him, a warm smile on her face and shining anticipation in her eyes. He owned that look, he knew it. Some nights he let himself believe that Stevie’s smile was telling him something more than ‘thank you; that was sweet’; that she was telling him (words were never necessary with them; words destroyed out of a musical context) ‘thank you; I’m in love with you’.
Lindsey had allowed himself too many liberties tonight. He knew it. The crowd had screamed as he’d kissed her head and held her close and he’d been so full of joy at the fact that Stevie was returning the gesture just as fervently, a small press of her lips to his neck as she rubbed his back, that he’d lowered his mouth to hers. Kissed her soft lips. He’d felt her shock at the brief contact but she hadn’t said a word, just squeezed his hand (too tightly) before returning to her microphone. He later felt her presence at his back as they made their way to her dressing room, an automatic route in both their minds, apparently. She didn’t ask questions and he didn’t offer answers; just shut the door and walked slowly over to her. She was so far removed from relaxed as he spanned her waist in his hands, murmuring reassurances in her ear, whispering that it would be okay, that he loved her, always would. Eventually, he felt the tension leave her body and she leaned into him. Embrace was a very complicated word in truth in his mind, one he’d never looked up in a dictionary. Did it involve touching, learning, caressing, hugging, kissing, loving? He thought so. He did so.
There was a problem with re-living their love affair (as Stevie was wont to say) onstage every night. A big problem. If it were a mere acting job, they would be be utterly unconvincing, both completely hopeless at that art. If it were a mere reflecting of their past, a shadow of their history, it would be a fond remembrance. If it were a roleplaying situation, one where they inhibited only one part of their true selves, it would easily be switched off.
However, night after night, as they took to the stage and re-lived their memories, re-loved each other, re-learned what made them them, that feeling, those emotions flooded the brain and the heart and the mind. And the off switch was hard to find.
As the years passed, Lindsey was growing ever more sure that there was no off switch after all. And maybe he was glad for it…