The Cell Phone Story

The Farewell
The Return
Thanks and Dedication

"By The Way"

There's a light on
Heavy glow
By the way
I tried to say I'd be there



Heavy breathing. Large sigh. Tired eyes drooping and sagging fingers weaving invisible patterns across foreign bed linens.

"Hey, it's me."

Enter obligation.

"You called!"

And obligation begins the tango of tolerance with excitement.

"I said I would."

"I know, I's just good to hear your voice."

"You too." And he hates how, only a month into the tour, he doesn't mean it.

"How is everything over there?"

Long. Monotonous. Deadening. "Good. Great. You know the drill. It's a blast while it lasts, but it drains you pretty quickly."

"Yeah, you sound pretty tired."

"I am."

"You should've gone to bed!"

"Nah, it's cool. I hadn't talked to you yet today, and I wanted to make sure everything was okay." Mentally, he's patting himself on the back, because this is the truth.

"Everything's good. I'm fine. We're fine, I mean. The dogs are getting cabin fever again, so I took them for a walk this afternoon when it warmed up a bit. It's still far too chilly down here to do very much."

He glances out at the feet of snow that line the sidewalk beneath his window. "Yeah, I know what you mean. Winter sucks."

She nods, wondering how much he isn't saying. "That it does. I'm ready for summer already."

He laughs hollowly. "I think we all are. Hell, it's ridiculous up here. They've got mountains of powder lining the streets."

She sighs in relief as the rhythm of regular conversation returns to them. "Sounds annoyingly beautiful."

"It is. I don't know whether to throw a few snowballs and take a picture or burn it to liquid."

A smirk. "I'd stick with the former. Burning the snow out of a hotel's vicinity qualifies as tabloid material, and you've got enough trouble keeping the papers away as is."

A groan. "Shit, you're right. Did you see the latest?"

"Depends. Does it involve you sleeping around with Hollywood's Dirrty girl?"

He grunts, and she laughs, and for a moment, everything between them fades to black.

"Yes. Dammit. Why me? I don't even like blondes!"

She fingers her own russet locks. "You prefer brunettes, right?"

"Always. But especially my present company."

"You'd better only prefer your present company..."

He smiles. "You know I'm kidding. I've got my girl. I've had her for quite some time. Long enough that I have no interest in genies that toss their clothes into the corner of the ring for the benefit of the adolescent male MTV audience."

"Oh, babe, the sweet things you say..."

A yawn distorts his smile, and his fit of sighs returns.

"You know me. Forever a romantic."

She settles into her own bed of pillows, reminiscent smile firmly in place. "A sedated romantic, maybe."

He chuckles. "A romantic on crack?"

"That works too."

"As long as the papers don't find out."

She smiles. "Babe?"


"Between you and me? I think they already know."

"No! How...?"

"Hard to miss."

"Maybe not. Maybe you're just that smart."

"Or maybe you're just that conspicuous."

"You're not funny."

"And you're not romantic. But I love you anyway."

A yawn, and his eyes begin to close, wiping away the traces of a former obligation until he can remember what it feels like to want to talk to her forever.

"I love you too."

"But you're tired." Disappointment. Understanding. All in one.

"Yeah. Exhausted, even."

"And you need your rest." Reluctance relenting.

"Yeah." Appreciation with a yawn.

"I'd better let you go so you can sleep. Thanks for calling, though."

"Always." And he means it. For now. "I like hearing your voice before I go to sleep."

She smiles, closing her eyes tightly until she can conjure the image of his face. "Same to you, babe. Same to you."

"By The Way"
lyrics and music by Red Hot Chili Peppers