It’s crazy to think how much can happen in 13 years. I think the year was 2002 or 2003. We were in high school. I hung out with the boys and our bud, Kyle who had a dang cute sister. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I met her since she was in the grade below me. I looked at Kyle’s photo album which he lent me and stared at our young faces; it was before my wife wore makeup and I grew a beard and long hair. When I look at the old pictures, I think back to how cute she was with her dyed blonde hair and short skirts. 

The decade and a half went by and so much had changed, beginning when she was a senior. We found out that we were expecting a child. It was tough. I had to work two jobs and she couldn’t go to SUNY Cortland, her dream school where she would’ve gotten at least half of her tuition paid from her scholarship.

 Well, here we are; she’s a high school teacher and I’m a registered nurse…and a rocker. 

My wife and kids don’t know that I started a band. Keeping a secret from them doesn’t feel right; it feels like I’ve cheated. Twice a week on Friday and Saturday nights I don’t come home until two in the morning. My wife doesn’t go out anymore because she’s devoted to our home and children. We have three of them; ages thirteen, four, and one who’s just six months. She’ll find out, eventually. Once we book the The Trap House, I have no choice but to tell her because I’ll be gone for two to three nights. 

“So, dude,” my friend, Carl said. “Mama’s illness is getting worse and she doesn’t want us rehearsing in the house as long as she’s there.” 

I nodded. “You saying it’s my house now?”

Our drummer, Matt, chimed in. He always chimed into conversations, as if his communication skills were

a drum. “It’s the only place left.” 

I took a fast breath. “I didn’t tell Kelly.” 

“Well, you got to get your ass on that, man. We got a show next week.”

“We need more songs. Tell her it’s for her brother’s band.” 

I exhaled once again. “My house this Friday. Ten-thirty, and you all need to enter from the rear.” 

Friday night came faster than I expected. I was going to tell  Kelly, but it turns out she was busy. She took the kids somewhere– possibly a movie or her parent’s house. It’s not that she doesn’t know I play music— she obviously does. That’s why she had the hots for me. Girls love singers and guitarists. However, the time was nine and I didn’t know if she would be back before ten. So, I texted in “Black Attack.” 

Joe: Hey all, I need you to come right now. My wife’s out of the house but I don’t know for how long.

Matt: Dude, what’s wrong with your wife? 

Joe: Just get over here, please!

Carl: I’m on my way. 

Joe: Hurry.

Matt: You need to tell her, she probably thinks you’re rolling again. 

Carl: LOL and where’s Kyle?

Thank God they all showed up. Even Kyle did despite not responding in the group chat. I unlocked the basement door. Our basement was very organized with one half of the room filled with shelves and boxes of old toys, baby clothes, and Christmas decorations. There was also a big empty space where I kept all our bikes and the kid’s scooters. I pushed them outside since there was no early snow yet. 

It was easy fitting the drum set and amplifiers through our back door. Matt is the best drummer I’ve heard in my life, except for old records of metal. Kyle and I always dreamed of starting our own band. We would play music with friends in middle and high school, but nothing serious. We weren’t that good at the time. Then, I got Kelly pregnant, which was the only time I became more popular in school. I was known as  the graduate who got a senior pregnant. Kelly and I made it through together; but after Natalie was born, I would only see my girlfriend and our daughter a few times a week. I was a part-time student and a part-time dad who was forced to take general classes at the community college. I was always secretly a nerd, which is why I studied nursing later on. Music was just a hobby and nothing more. 

Last year, Kyle and I had a renaissance in our friendship. We decided it was time to make a band. Even when Kelly was pregnant with our third child, I would spend time with the fellows and she didn’t mind. She knew we made music, but playing at venues and signing with an independent label was over her head. While on paternity leave, I wrote lyrics referring to my newest daughter. But in a strange way, they sound like I’m singing about a hot chick at the bar: nervous from the sight of her, but ready to make my move. It’s been so long, now I’m in the bar, ready to groove. My lyrics are cheesy, like that Billie Eilish girl. Not the best lyricist, but that’s rock for you. 

Just before we could finish Black Attack’s opening number of “Rainbow Death,” Kelly opens the door and all I hear is  the loud bang and booming from her slippers. 

Kelly walks into the basement— my secret chamber. She stands with the baby on her shoulder. When she gets surprised, normally her eyes bulge out, but this time they stay at bay. 

“What is going on?” she whispers. 

I still hold my guitar and look at my fat ass bare feet. 

“I was going to tell you.” 

“Hi dad!” Emma screams while running  up to our little set up. “Play music!” 

“Hey Emma, go get your brother, I have some good news.” I yell, trying to diffuse the situation. 

Kelly cocks her head to the side. Emma runs back up. 

The warden speaks, “Do you realize how late it is? Emma has dance tomorrow.” 

There was only one thing I could think of saying, and I wasn’t joking. “I told you boys were playing too loud.”

Kyle steps in front of Kelly. “Hi, Hallie! Remember me? I’m your uncle Kyle.” 

Kelly wasn’t too pleased since Kyle was the only one she recognized out of the five musketeers. 

I take my wife to the laundry room next to the play pen I bedazzled. It was the only private location downstairs. 

“I know this looks bad. But, love, get this. We’re signed!” 

She has no expression, but manages to mutter, “Congratulations.”

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