The mystery train part 11

Dave spent the rest of day relaxing with his new friends; a few hours later there was a knock at the door. Melanie greeted the man with on the steps with a “Oh hey Johnny” and invited him in. Susan exclaimed loudly “Johnny!!!”  She ran to him and hugged him tightly.  Dave felt some jealous overtake him. He was a good-looking guy; the kind of guys that women fell for; he couldn’t help but feel inferior. He was a tall guy with long black hair and tattoos scattered throughout his arms.  He had was carrying a guitar case and had big rimmed glasses. Melanie said “Dave, Iris, this is my brother Johnny; he’s in a band too”.  Upon hearing that Dave’s jealously faded; he felt stupid for even thinking for that.   Dave extended his hand to shake Johnny’s hand and said “Hi, I’m Dave” Johnny said to Dave “So how’d you meet my sister, let me guess: the coffee shop?”  Melanie turned to give him a scowl. He added “You know, there are other coffee shops in the city” She ignored his statement and replied “Yes, we met Dave and Iris in the coffee shop; they are traveling from New York and we offered to let them stay with us” “Oh” said Johnny.  He continued “Oh I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself to Iris, how are you?”   Iris lit up; she thought Johnny was so handsome; just her type but she still thought of Dave; so, did her best to hide her attraction.  She replied “I’m fine. Your sister is great; letting us stay here and all” Melanie replied “Don’t worry about it” Johnny said “Yeah Melanie is great and I love her but she can’t play guitar like me” Melanie retorted “That’s your opinion, I’m sure our new friends would disagree” “Whatever” said Johnny with a laugh.

Johnny lit a cigarette and sat on the couch; noticing the new records they bought; began to sift through each album.   Johnny then went on about his record collection and music tastes; Dave was intrigued when started listing his favorite bands.  Dave chimed in “I think I like those bands but I can’t remember” Johnny laughed and said “What do you mean you can’t remember, you either like them or not” Dave didn’t respond and looked slightly upset.  Melanie grabbed Johnny and took him to the kitchen to talk; he could see them from the distance. They talked for awhile and it looked like Melanie was scolding while Johnny just listened patiently; not responding. He finally shook his head and walked back to Dave.  Melanie sat next to Dave put her arm around him and kissed him on the cheek playfully.  Johnny sat on the other side of Dave on the couch.  Johnny said to Dave “I am sorry, man. I didn’t mean to laugh at you. Melanie told me your story about how you lost your memory; that’s sucks, dude and also how everyone is trying to help you” Melanie looked at Dave and hugged him and gave him a big smile.  Johnny continued “Anytime you wanna hang out I’m around, man, in fact I am playing a gig tonight, if you want to see me and my band” Melanie exclaimed “Johnny, you know I never miss a show, Dave, Iris you wanna go?”   Iris flashed a big smile; almost blushing and replied “Oh course we’ll be there, right Dave?”   Dave stated “Yeah” Johnny said “Solid, look I gotta go but I’ll be playing at Cool Kat’s at 9 pm, see you guys” He left. Dave liked Johnny; he seemed like a cool dude and possibly a new friend; someone he could trust.

Iris said to Dave “Hey you wanna take a walk just me and you?’   Dave said “Sure” Iris then said “Are you guys are going to here, because I don’t have a key” “Melanie opened a drawer and handed her a key replied “Oh yeah, here’s a spare key, I forgot” “Cool” said Iris and Dave and her left the house.  It was a bright sunny day and Iris was wanted to explore the area a little more and talk to Dave alone.  Iris linked her arm with Dave’s arm and said “Isn’t this a beautiful day, I am really started to really like Susan and Melanie, I know I said it before but I really do and Johnny seems cool too.   “Yeah, I still don’t have my memory back though” said Dave.  “It’ll come” said Iris in a soft voice.  Dave then said to Iris “I don’t know why but I feel nervous about tonight” “What do you mean?” asked Iris.   Dave said “I am not sure but I feel like crowds make me anxious; I feel fine with you guys but being with a whole lot of people” It was true, Dave suffered from extreme anxiety; he had been in therapy for many years and on medication. He stopped both about a year ago and had been struggling ever since; of course, he couldn’t remember it.  He was the most anxious in large groups of people and especially on dates; his anxiety kept his dating life non-existent and never had a steady girlfriend; which really hurt him; at his age and never having a steady girlfriend.  Iris hugged Dave and said “Sweetie, you may have had anxiety in the past, I have it too, you’re not alone” Dave replied “You do!?  “But you seem so confident” he added.  She said “Oh, honey it’s just a smokescreen.  I am always anxious, especially around new people and crowds” Dave responded “That is amazing. I’m glad I’m not alone” Iris smiled; it was rarity to be so open about these things but Dave needed a friend and he was so sweet.  It also wasn’t everyday she met a man who was open with his feelings; it was a breath of fresh air.

 

They walked to a park with a little playground that was empty. “Hey, let’s go on the swings!!” exclaimed Iris in a sing song voice. Dave shook his head no “I don’t think so, we’re a little too old, don’t you think?”  Iris said “Oh no way, Dave. Never too old”.  She ran to the swing and yelled loudly “Push me, Dave. Come on!”   Dave ran to the swing and pushed Iris on the swing as hard as he could.  “Weeeeee” she yelled; laughing her head off.  She was having the time of her life.  An old lady walking her dog looked at this scene and watched for a while; she chucked to herself and remembered the days she spent on the playground with her recently deceased sister so many years ago. She walked by with a smile on her face; it had made her day and brought back fond memories.   Iris jumped off the swing and said “You get on, Dave” Dave replied “Oh, I don’t know” Again with the sing song voice Iris explained “Daaave get on the swing” He complied and sat on the swing as Iris joyfully pushed him with all of her might.  Dave became a kid again; laughing and carrying on; not caring how stupid he looked.

After several minutes they both stopped and ran to the slide. The both slid down the slide and rolled on the ground; just laying there talking.   Dave turned to Iris and said “This was a lot fun” he said catching his breath. “I told you it would be” replied Iris laughing.   Dave turned to Iris and asked “You mind if I ask you something, it’s sort of a weird question” “Sure” she replied.   “Well, I don’t remember my childhood, I hope it comes back to me but what was it like you being a kid, do you remember?” asked Dave.  “Hmm” stated Iris.  She had to think about it.  She said “Well I grew up in Connecticut; it was pretty boring. The suburbs, you know” she rolled her eyes.  She added “I had two brothers, Tommy and Sam and we got alone pretty well.   Her smile faded “Sam actually died” “I’m sorry” said Dave.  “How did he die, if you don’t mind asking” he asked.  Iris didn’t want to answer that question.  Sam had taken his life while she was at college; she was devastated and never been able to get past it.  She regretted bringing it up.  She said “I shouldn’t have brought it up.  I don’t want to go into it” she looked down at the ground in sadness; her heart broke just thinking about Sam.  Dave said “I’m sorry, I totally understand. I’m sorry I asked” Iris looked into his deep blue eyes and said “It’s ok” but she wanted to cry and yet she couldn’t even when she was alone.  She continued the story “So my childhood was rough actually.  My parents divorced when I was young and my brothers and I lived with my dad for awhile and it was tough especially on Sammy he was sensitive like you are”.  She felt herself begin to cry and she just let go and the tears began to flow from her cheeks.  “Oh god” she yelled; crying uncontrollably.  “I miss him so bad, I mean it was so long ago but I still miss him. I just want him back” Dave hugged her and consoled her; she put her head on his shoulder and just cried without saying a word. “Shhh” he said.  “It’s alright”.   Iris said “Thank you for being such a good friend, you are amazing” “I am sorry about crying; I’m a little embarrassed” Dave replied “Don’t ever apologize for that.  Anytime you wanna talk to me, I’m here to listen” he added.  Iris said to Dave “Just don’t tell Susan and Melanie about this, ok” Dave replied of course “It’s between us, friend” Iris smiled and they both walked back toward the house.  It was a powerful moment between them and they were both left shaken and emotionally drained but Iris felt a sense of relief; letting out all of that pain she had held on to for years; she felt a little freer and she had Dave to thank.

 

That night they all went to see Melanie’s brother play at the club.   It was a packed house; full of noisy patrons drinking and the band (Not Johnny’s) was playing at full volume.  Iris went to the bar with Dave to order some drinks; a beer for both of them. Dave really wasn’t a drinker but he didn’t know that. He took a sip of her beer and recoiled at the taste; he didn’t want to seem out of place so he continued sipping on his beer despite how nasty it tasted.  Dave had only been there a few minutes but it was obvious he was nervous.; it was loud and he could barely think.  Iris yelled in his ear “Hey, you alright?   Dave tried to play it off and bopped his head to the band playing “Yeah, I’m fine” Dave turned to see Melanie and Susan dancing close to the band; he couldn’t help but notice how sexy they both looked.  Dave was pretty sure he wasn’t a dancer; so, he sat in his chair next to Iris; sipping on his beer and looking around; trying to remain calm.  He noticed a guy trying to dancing with both girls; they both ignored him; he looked defeated; he was in older guy in his 40’s. He went to the bar to flirt with the female bar tender who was too busy to respond to his advances and besides she was so used to being hit on by creepy guys that she was immune to it.  Then Dave heard Johnny’s voice and he joined him and Iris at the table.  “Hey guys”, he said in a loud voice.  Iris replied “Hey, man.  When do you play?”   “In about an hour” he replied.  “Cool” said Iris.  She really liked Johnny; she had a thing for guys in bands.  Johnny thought she was cute too but had a girlfriend; he wasn’t about to screw that up with some girl he just met. Johnny said to Dave “You doing good, buddy?” “Yeah” Dave replied.  Johnny said “After the show I can introduce to some people, I know a lot the people here” Dave said “Sounds awesome” It was so difficult to have a conversation and compete with all the news. Dave felt overwhelmed and Iris just looked at Dave and smiled.

 

Dave said to Iris “I’m going to the patio for a smoke, you wanna join me?”   Iris said “That’s ok, I wanna hear the band; you can go if you want” Dave walked onto the patio and it was full of guys hitting on every woman they saw; he couldn’t flirt to save his life.  He reached for his pocket; realizing that he didn’t have any cigarettes. “Shit, I don’t want to bum cigarettes” he thought. He asked an older woman and she angrily said “Why don’t you bring your own cigarettes, I only have a few left and they are for me” Another guy overhearing the conversation said to the woman “Why are you so mad” he said with a laugh.  She replied “Why don’t you mind your own business” Dave felt uncomfortable and moved to the other side of the patio.  He saw a muscular man with a cigarette in his mouth and asked for a cigarette. He just ignored him and went back to talking to the woman sitting beside him.  Dave was regretting going to this bar and he sat at an empty table; sipping his beer.  He looked up to see this gorgeous woman walk through the door; he was mesmerized.  She sat at the table with him and asked “Do you mind if I sit here” “Sure” Dave said nervously.  She pulled out a pack of cigarettes. Dave asked “Can I bum a cigarette?”  She laughed and said sure.   He asked for a light and she didn’t hesitate “She cupped her hands with his and lit his cigarette for him.  Her name was Kim. They started talking and she seemed nice.  She was talking about how she’d been in Seattle for a few years; she was originally from Los Angeles.  She told him a story about how she wanted to be an actress and had given up on her dream when she ran out of money and moved to Seattle to find herself (whatever that meant); she had gone to college here so she knew the area. She asked Dave about him and he didn’t want to tell her the truth because he was tired of explaining it to strangers so he bullshitted his way through a story about growing up in Michigan and that he was a writer; visiting his family here in Seattle.  She was intrigued by his stories and much to his dismay started asking him about his writing; he tried his best to avoid those questions; he could feel himself digging himself deeper and deeper into the lie.  She then said to him ‘I want to buy you a drink” Dave didn’t know how to respond but he said “Sure, thanks” She said “No, problem honey”

 

They walked the bar and she ordered him another beer. Dave saw his friends sitting at the table and walked over to introduce Kim to his friends.  Melanie and Susan recognized her instantly and Melanie got up to hug her.  Melanie exclaimed “Iris, Dave, this Kim; Johnny’s girlfriend” Dave felt so disappointed; he knew it was too good to be true. There had to be a catch.   Kim said “Well I met Dave on the patio and we got to talking; cool guy” Melanie replied “Yeah we know” She smiled at Dave.   Kim continued “Dave told me he is a writer” Iris quipped “He is, is he?” she said with a laugh.  Dave looked embarrassed but Iris decided to let it die and she decided that a little lie didn’t hurt anyone.  They all sat down and all of a sudden a man ran up to the microphone and said “Ok guys, this next band you are going to love, here are the “Laugh tracks” Melanie, Susan and Kim all clapped loudly “Yeaaah, wooo!!”  Johnny ran up to the mic and said “Alright guys we do mostly covers but we promise not to fuck it up” The band went into a cover of Stone Temple Pilots “Plush”

Iris asked Dave if he wanted to get closer to the stage and they both went.  Iris began singing the lyrics to the song as loudly as she could; along with a crowd of people who had gotten close to the stage. They all sang in unison; it was one of her favorite songs; she loved grunge music growing up. Dave felt he knew this song and suddenly he began singing along to the song; as if he’d heard it before. Iris looked at him and she sang the lyrics as she was looking at him.  A lightbulb went off in her head and she grabbed Dave by the arm and took him outside to the patio.   Dave asked “What’s wrong?”   Iris had a serious look on her face.  She replied “Nothing, but you remembered the lyrics do the song, your memory may be coming back slowly” Dave smiled and said “You’re right. I think I remember that song. Stone Temple Pilots, right” Iris exclaimed loudly “Yes!!”  “Oh my god, this is a breakthrough; it’s not much but it’s something” she added.  Iris hugged him; she was so happy for him.  She hoped that Dave would begin to remember; it pained her to know that he was struggling so much.  They walked back in; both a little bit more relieved.

 

The band played for another hour or so and afterwards Johnny walked back to the table where everyone was sitting. Kim got up and kissed her boyfriend saying “You did great as always!”  Dave and Iris both felt uncomfortable; somewhat jealous to know that Johnny and Kim were a couple.  “Thanks babe” Johnny replied.  He put his arm around Kim and asked Dave and Iris “So what did guys think?” Iris said “You were great, I love the Stone temple pilots!”  Johnny said “Yeah we do a lot of grunge covers” Iris said “I love grunge” Dave stated “Yeah, dude you really play good, man” Johnny replied “Yeah, man anytime you wanna see me play; I have gigs throughout the week” Melanie added “Dave I don’t miss a show of my brothers, so you are always free to join” “Thanks” Dave replied.

Johnny said “Hey you guys wanna get something to eat, the food here sucks” Susan laughed and said “You guys wanna go?”  They all agreed and headed to the diner where they had been before.  Johnny and Kim walked ahead of them.  Iris said to Dave do you mind if I tell them what happened?”  Dave nodded his head yes.   Iris said to Susan and Melanie “You won’t believe it but I think Dave is slowly getting his memory” “Really? That’s great” exclaimed Melanie; she was visibly excited.  “Yeah, well Johnny was playing Stone Pilots; Dave was singing the lyrics with me; like he knew the song.   Dave added “Yeah, I remembering like that song as a kid, I don’t know where I heard it or who I was with but I remember it” he said with a smile plastered on his face; unable to contain his joy.   Susan replied with “Yes!! I am so happy for you.  I told you the memories would come back” They all were filled with excitement; they were hoping it wouldn’t be long before Dave would get his memory back. But it was more complicated than that; and it would take longer for any of them to imagine. Yes, it would be a long road until Dave could remember again.  For now, he could enjoy the company he was with and his new life.

 

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