Track 28: The Motion

Track28button“It’s just not working out. It’s as simple as that.” Mack tried to keep calm and talk like this was a reasonable conversation. Amber had a way to riling him up, forcing him to lose his temper. She knew how to push his buttons and even seemed to like it.
      “Simple as that? Yesterday at home we were cool. This morning we were fine. Then you come back to the room after being God knows where all day, and suddenly it’s not working out.”
      Amber was gearing up for a fight. Mack could see it was coming from a mile away but still couldn’t steer clear of it. At once he regretted asking her to come on the trip with him. It was a silly tradition, having to buy his album from the same store every time. He should have done it alone and maybe this wouldn’t be happening.
      “It’s not like that. This has been a long time coming and you know that.”
      “You got something to say, boo boo, so why don’t you just spit it out. What is really going on here? You waltz in here, all high and mighty with a dumb ass grin on your face, like all of a sudden you hot shit. What little trick batted her eyelashes at you to make you think you still got it? Who tried to get in your pants to make you think you could do better than this?” Amber yelled and got in his face.
      Mack didn’t respond. Silence often spoke more than words.
      “Oh. Oh, I see. So it was a little hoe that made you think that you could just walk away.”
      Mack still didn’t say anything. His mind was racing trying to figure out his plan on the fly. It hadn’t been his intention to break up with her, but the words just started spewing out the moment he came home. Coffee with Alisha replayed over and over in his head the entire drive back to the hotel. When he came home to find Amber, packing her bag to do a guest spot at a local club, something in him snapped. He couldn’t do it anymore. He was sick of her dancing, sick of picking her drunken ass up at clubs in every city, sick of her insane temper.
      “She’s not a hoe,” Mack finally said quietly.
      “It’s her isn’t it? It’s the girl in all your songs. Oh, don’t play dumb with me. You write about her all the time. Trust me, I know those songs aren’t about me. You never talk to me or about me like that.”
      “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
      “Yes, you do.”
      Amber paced back and forth in the living room of the hotel suite. Her six-inch heels clomped against the tile. Mack waited silently for her to make her next move. He didn’t want to make the situation worse by saying the wrong thing.
      Amber took out her phone and punched in a few lines. Mack’s phone alerted him of a new message. “Send all my stuff here. I don’t want to see your face again.”
      Mack looked at the address with a bit of confusion, “This isn’t your old apartment.”
      “No, it’s not. It’s Tito’s.”
      “Tito?”
      “Yea, you didn’t think you were the only one did you? Oh, honey. You are so cute when you are stupid. You were never the only one. The richest, yeah sure, but not the only.” Amber smacked him lightly on the cheek, winked, and headed for the door.
      As she walked away, Mack was surprised that he didn’t feel the slightest bit of hurt or regret. He didn’t care that they were over or that she most probably had men in every city. All that he could think of was what she had said about his music. He had never thought about it, or let himself think about it, but she was right. There was a piece of Alisha in everything he did. He couldn’t shake her. If a song wasn’t about her, it was to her. How he hadn’t realized it before alluded him. For years now, he thought he had shaken her ghost. Between the meeting earlier in the day and the revelation about his music, he realized how much of him belonged to her.
      He took out his phone and dialed her number. His finger hovered over the “Send” button. He could call Alisha and tell her he broke up with Amber; tell her he wanted nothing more than to be with her. But he pressed “End” and slipped the phone back in his pocket. It wouldn’t be fair to her. He couldn’t go crashing through her life like that. Plus, he probably wasn’t even on her radar. Their meeting had been nice, but Mack assumed she dismissed it as a run in with an old friend and nothing more. He had no doubt it was only him being plagued by the memory of what they had.
      Just then, his cell buzzed in his pocket. It was a 305 number that he didn’t recognize.
      “Hello?” he answered
      “Hey, it’s me.” Alisha came through.
      Mack felt his heart jump into his chest. Suddenly everything in him felt light and warm.
      “Hey,” he managed to say through the lump in his throat.
      “Sorry, I got your number from Trina. I’m amazed she still remembers me.”
      “Of course, she does.”
      “And that you still have the same assistant,” Alisha added.
      “She’s a trooper. Been with me from the start,” Mack said almost wistfully.
      There was a long, awkward pause.
      “How long are you in town for?” she started in.
      “Two more nights.”
      “Are you free tomorrow? Maybe for drinks?” Mack could hear the hopeful uncertainty in her voice. He felt it too.
      “Yea. That would be cool. I’ll see you then.”

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