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"My heart is a ghost town"
“Died last night in my dreams
Walking the streets
Of some old ghost town
I tried to believe
In God and James Dean
But Hollywood sold out”
Late at night a white Bentley was in a parking lot somewhere on the side of the serpentine curling up into the hills above Los Angeles. The billions of tiny twinkling lights below and the ever present glow above the city faded out most of the stars. The car itself was dark, only a few display lights glowing discretely inside. A low guitar riff was playing from the speakers as the motionless man was sitting there behind the wheel staring at the city he’s been calling home for 14 years now.
He was lost in his thoughts. Or rather memories.
He should be ecstatic, satisfied and even proud. Partying in the city with his many friends – although he doesn’t know at least half of them. A lot of self-proclaimed ‘friends’ come with fame and money, but he’d learned how to filter them out and keep only those close who are worthy for his time, kindness, help and love. But sometimes the people you love bring people that can make things difficult, no matter how much you love that friend.
That instagram video that he’d posted about “Ghost Town” earlier that day marked the start of a new era. He’s been waiting for it to happen for so long and he was excited and happy about it. Finally things were starting to speed up again and he wanted to share his upcoming third album with the fans, the world, but… there was this nagging feeling in the back of his mind and heart. Things were so different now. It wasn’t a coincidence that he chose this song for the first single. The causes were concurring lately. All the small scattered reasons and whys heading towards a certain outcome and this song was a silent – or not so silent – cry.
“Saw all of the saints
Lock up the gates
I could not enter
Walked into the flames
Called out your name
But there was no answer…”
Going to work on The Original High in Stockholm for months was the first big (and painful) step in “breaking up” a very important relationship. But focusing on the new songs and meeting and working with new people kept him sane. Just like the Queen tours. He buried himself into his work and professionally tried to do his best, to breathe, to forget, to find himself again. There were times when it worked. The distance and occupying his mind with something, someone else gave him some break. But that lasted only until he was done with work or the door closed behind the current one-night stand. After that he just felt fucking lonely.
He even tried spending some time with Sauli. Catching up and going here and there with him. Of course the media and the fans have started speculating that they were together again. Things might have happened between them, true, but mainly he just needed someone around whom he could still trust and knew what’s been going on in his mind and heart. He was always grateful that he was able to stay friends with most of his exes. And spending some time with Sauli, sometimes just talking all night long, helped somewhat. He needed someone who’d be just there and listen when he needed that. And Sauli was always a good listener.
That made the figure smile a bit in the dark then he tapped the thumping rhythm on the wheel with an index-finger as soft whistling filled the car. No, he rarely listened to his own songs when he wasn’t in the studio or on stage. They were playing it again on the radio. It seemed the song was doing well so far. It was catchy and a great mixture of acoustic and minimalistic house music. Despite the emotions eating him from the inside, he was proud of his new songs. As the perfectionist he was, he’d put a lot of energy and time into them. Especially after his… their?... “failure”.
Closing his eyes he let the rhythm and the whistling take him back to happier times.
He saw a flash of messy blond hair… a pair of expressive brown eyes… a patch of milky white skin contrasted by the ink of tattoos… He heard the soft moans and gasps… the quiet pleas for more… He felt the slim but strong fingers holding on to him hard, the heat of that small body on his own skin… the closeness of it feeling so damn good…
Sighing he opened his now dark eyes and looked out into the night, but saw nothing. There was a bitter taste in his mouth that lately seemed to become a permanent phenomenon whenever he was thinking about him.
He knew he was hiding it pretty well behind the mask he was showing to the public and lately to his friends too. (Of course there were a few exceptions who saw right through him, but they rarely confronted him about it.) Drifting kinda apart with him was weighing on his heart and mind more than he showed.
He took a risk and jumped into the flames. The time spent together – even when it was stolen – was the happiest time in his life relationship-wise. For a long time he thought he wouldn’t be able to have him. Stupid labels. But when he finally could call him his, nothing else mattered. They were happy despite the fact that they kept it low key. But then after a while…
Adam’s heart was breaking a little bit more each time Tommy tweeted or messaged him. He knew the blonde, he saw the signs of his insomnia and depression coming back and it made him worried. He remembered how he meant to reply right away – like in the past – but they were taking time off. They both agreed to it. And the busier Adam got, the longer it was stretching. There was always an excuse why it wasn’t a good time. Finally, he was just sitting over the tweets and messages, fingers hovering over his phone’s screen and he didn’t know how to respond, if it was even a good idea. It felt as if his mind and fingers were paralyzed. It didn’t happen often that words failed him, but now they did. Big time. And more often than not he chose to close the app and put his phone or laptop away. It caused enough sleepless nights to him too, but he was unable to just pick up the damn phone and talk things through.
It seemed more impossible to do so when he remembered the quarrels and fights before they asked for the time apart. No matter how well they work together, there are just some things in which they have a different opinion. Like toxic people in their lives.
Adam knew that Tommy usually acted laid-back and just went with the flow, but when he let people real close to him, he was much more complicated. Yeah, he was a dude, but had a soft, pliable side that could be exploited exactly because of not being able to let go of some bad people, influences or habits. For a while Adam had tried, but it seemed Tommy wasn’t ready to let go yet.
It hurt. Especially when Tommy joined September Mourning. No, not because of the fact that Tommy was making music with them and on his own again while Adam was working on his album and touring with Queen. He was happy about that! He was hurt because it was yet another reminder of the growing distance between them. And then there was that woman again.
He didn’t know what kind of power she had over the guitarist. Adam just didn’t understand, but he was tired of speaking up, of fighting over that with Tommy. So he didn’t. Not anymore. He tried to respect his choice, even if he wasn’t respected in return and it was yet another dagger into his heart. So he was slowly turning away, looking for something else to temporarily put his mind at ease and forget the heartache.
Opening his mouth he softly sang along:
“Now, I'm searching for trust
In a city of rust
A city of vampires
Tonight, Elvis is dead
And everyone's spread
And love is a satire
And now I know my heart is a ghost town…”
And the worst thing was that the distance and silence didn’t really matter, they just made it hurt so much more. Adam was still so in love with him. But this whole situation exhausted him. He was so tired, hurt and bruised because of it. There were long periods when he felt so fucking empty he couldn’t even think or feel a thing. He wrote “Ghost Town” during one of these periods too.
Now, back in LA, sometimes it’s not easy to find his place. To fit back into the life he’d left for working on his album and going on tour with Queen. He’s closer to his family and friends though. That helps most of the time, but this empty, aching hole in his chest is always there, just like the lurking doubt and dark feelings. The “what ifs” and “what could’ve beens”.
Was it really over?
It was hard to believe. He didn’t want to believe that. He wasn’t ready to let Tommy go. He’ll probably never be ready or able to do that. He was too much a part of his life… of him. Was it a “with or without you” love then?
Adam didn’t know the answers, but he knew that he was reaching a point where he had to start thinking a bit more positively again. Otherwise he would get caught in the downward spiral he’s been riding for a while. A part of him didn’t want to fight it, but he couldn’t afford it to slip into the darkness. Not when he had so much to do. Not when people are counting on him again. He couldn’t and didn’t want to disappoint those who had fate in him. And that fate and love were going to be his anchors, his stepping stones. He’d survived so much already.
As his song was nearing its end on the radio, he felt a sparkle of hope. He wasn’t going down like this. He’ll survive this too and who knows? Maybe this new era will hold the key to solving the problem. To find their way back to each other. And if not… then he’ll learn how to live with that.
As that sparkle flickered in the black and grey wasteland in his heart, for the first time in a long while he could finally breathe a bit easier.
- End of the first part -