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Then There Was You

By:Melanie Dawn

To anyone who has ever been a shining light in someone’s darkest hour

“No!” I screamed as I slammed my fist into the side of the metal phone booth. “It can’t be true!” My knuckle immediately throbbed, but it was nothing compared to the pain in my heart. Falling to my knees, I cried out in agony, “Oh god, this isn’t happening!” This isn’t fucking happening! Blind rage took over my body, and I punched the floor relentlessly. Searing pain exploded in my fist, but that didn’t stop me.

Within seconds a guard had me in shackles, lifting me to my feet. He escorted me down the hall, while I writhed and howled like a caged animal, directly past my own bunk and straight into segregation. He shoved me into the tiny cell and locked the door behind me. I slammed myself against the wall. Please let this be a nightmare! My shoulder ached with pain, but I didn’t give a fuck.

Officer Blevins abruptly slid open the tiny window in the metal door. “Chris? You’ve got to calm down. Talk to me, man. What happened?”

I glanced toward his caring, steel-gray eyes, the only things I could see through that tiny fucking window, but I didn’t answer. How could I? The weight on my chest was almost too much to bear.

A sob escaped my throat, but I quickly tried to reel it in. I groaned, slamming my fist into the wall to redirect my emotions. I wanted to break the concrete blocks into a million pieces, just the way my shattered heart felt, so I kept pounding it over and over. I needed to give meaning to the pain I felt inside—a real reason to cry. The throb of my knuckles almost alleviated the agony in my heart. Almost.

“Chris, if you don’t calm down, I’ll be forced to call medical.”

I turned to glare at him. “I don’t give a fuck!” I howled. “Call them. Dope me up. Put me out of my misery!”

Officer Blevins stared quietly at me for a moment, hoping I’d calm down on my own. I glared back at him, chest heaving and jaw twitching, until he slid the window closed and disappeared.

I don’t really know what happened after that. Everything was just a blur. All I knew was that I completely fucking lost it. I couldn’t stop myself. I was flipping the hell out and had no control over my body or my actions. Blood was splattered on the tile floor. My knuckles were a fucking mess, and my shoulders hurt from ramming them into the wall. Why the hell can’t there be punching bags in these cells? I needed to pound the shit out of something.

I leaned on the wall, throwing my head back against the cinder blocks and closing my eyes. I can’t believe this. I can’t fucking believe this!

I could feel the roar in my throat as I tried to push back the sobs that threatened to escape. With a growl, I pounded my fists backwards against the wall behind me.

Just then, as if the heavens opened up and sent me an angel, I heard the quiet voice that had been a balm to my pain for the past few months.


Jeremy, my best friend and drummer, didn’t question my most recent alcohol binge. He just accepted it, knowing alcohol was the only thing that would numb my pain. He remembered my heartbreaking history with Kaitlyn, recalling how broken I was several years ago during the weeks following our brief reunion   at the beach. So a few days ago, when I ran out of the grocery store empty-handed, Jeremy knew something serious had happened.

I collapsed onto the seat of the tour bus in despair, burying my head in my hands.

He stopped dead in his tracks. “Oh shit. You saw her, didn’t you?”

I nodded, barely able to contain myself. And that kid… oh god, that kid…

Tossing the most recent tabloids down onto the seat next to me, he grumbled, “I knew coming here was a bad fucking idea.”

I didn’t respond. I couldn’t. I just sat there, agonizing over my most recent encounter with the only woman I’d ever loved while Jeremy stood over me, unsure of how he should respond. After several excruciating seconds, he sighed and patted me once on the shoulder. “Sorry, man,” he mumbled, and then trudged to the back of the bus, leaving me alone with my thoughts while we headed down the road toward Charlotte for our next concert.

I sensed that Jeremy somewhat grasped the depth of my feelings for Kaitlyn, but I knew he would never fathom the pain I’d have to endure in letting her go. So I sat alone on the bus, writing her that painful goodbye letter before making the fateful call to Beverly that would ultimately seal the deal.

Later that night, when we’d reached the Queen City, we sat at the bar in the Ritz-Carlton while Jeremy handed me a shot of tequila. I threw it back and asked for another one in an effort to take the edge off.