You may think I’m weird, that’s okay. I’m writing this at the Roxy Theater in LA. I’m waiting for 10 Years to take the stage.
I came here alone. That’s also okay. I’m used to doing things alone. Earbuds in my ears to protect what hearing I have left (ha), overpriced 12oz beer in hand… I’m ready. Still a couple bands to go. Gives me time to reflect.
Last time I saw 10 Years was in 2016 with K. I remember buying the tickets as soon as they went on sale because I wanted to surprise him. He’d never seen them live, as have I. K is the one who introduced me to their music. Listening to their hit “Wasteland” was a game changer for me.
Fast forward to the day of the show… Something happened. Some kind of stupid drama, per usual. I don’t remember. All I know is that he was mad at me, and told me to go to the show alone. I bursted into tears. I bought two tickets for him and I. No one else. I didn’t want to go with anyone else. And in that moment, I didn’t really want to go anymore. So there I was, sobbing. Time was ticking and the show was going to start soon. I guess something finally flicked his senses back on because his compassion and empathy suddenly showed their faces. He got us a Lyft and we went to the show. I fixed my tear-stained makeup on the ride there.
At first, things were awkward. We sat on the balcony seats of the Trocadero watching the opening bands. Then we migrated downstairs to the pit when I asked if he wanted to move. Before 10 Years came on, he finally apologized for his rude and hurtful behavior. I, of course, accepted it and the rest of the show was great. We saw 10 Years together. They put on a great show– as I’m sure they will tonight.
I flipped through Instagram just a bit ago, looking at my friends’ stories. Played the mutual friends story, and lo and behold… There’s K. On my phone screen. In our old apartment. I see he finally grew out that facial hair he struggled to grow during our time together. He would get frustrated and shave it off after awhile. Well, after a second or two, I exited that story. I didn’t hear anything since I’m in a noisy venue. I didn’t want to hear whatever he was doing.
Second band just went on, now waiting on the third. I moseyed my way to the front, so I have a pretty good spot for when 10 Years comes on. The good thing about being 5’1″ is that people usually don’t mind if you stand in front of them because they’re substantially taller and could use me as a resting post. I’m glad they don’t…
But I’m looking forward into the crowd. I parked my caboose right on the foot of the stage. I can feel the crew moving the instruments around. I’m looking at them all– I’m surrounded by people. Mostly people who came together. But I think I can spot a few stragglers like myself. I forgot how small the Roxy is. Honestly, I like small shows. They’re more intimate and special. Yeah, stadium shows are cool, but there’s something about small shows. I feel like you matter more, your presence is more important. Maybe I’m wrong.
I’m eavesdropping on a conversation, a guy is asking two girls how they heard of 10 Years. It’s stupid, but all I can think of is K. But not in an endearing kind of way. Just… him. If he were to suddenly show up and stand in front of me, I don’t know what I’d do. That would be so strange. In the past, I always wanted K to come find me. I wanted him to heal me, make me feel better from the damage he caused. I think seeing him in the flesh would undo all the progress I’ve made since last year.I hear a lot of lyrics that relay my thought process with him: me wondering what life would be like if he didn’t have anger issues. I wonder what our relationship would’ve been like if he respected me enough to treat me like a human. Two lyrics come to mind, the first one by No Doubt… “If we met tomorrow for the very first time, would I start all over again? Would I try to make you mine?” That lyric is from “Simple Kind of Life.”
The second one is by Pink… “I was never looking for approval from anyone but you, and through this journey’s over, I’d go back if you asked me to.” That lyric is from “I’m Not Dead.”Would I go back if he asked me to? I went back so many times, thinking “this time” would be different. I really wanted it to be. I miss the guy he was when he wasn’t in rage-mode. I miss that guy dearly. But I know I can’t have him without the dark part of him. I accepted it for so long, only to lose myself in the process.
So now, it’s just me doing my best to separate our memories and things we shared together so that I can make new memories without him clouding my mind and how I see these things we used to share. Maybe that’s part of being an adult? I don’t really know. I’m just trying my best to let go. I feel like I have. But there’s still some things that are incredibly hard to break free from. The association I have of him with some things and places is like a thorn in my side. It’s difficult to pry out.
Once upon a time, you were the rose that engulfed all of my senses. The beauty I craved and embraced, even when your thorns cut into me…. But now, a thorn in my side is only what you’ve become. The rose has wilted. The beauty that used to mystify me has vanished.
Eventually, you’ll one day know.