Pizza on Wednesdays


Don't date a rock star

It's one of those things your mother tells you when you're growing up, right along the lines of "don't put your elbows on the table" and "don't talk with your mouth full." Somewhere in between the main course of the meal, she'll look you in the eyes and go "honey, don't date a rock star."

Okay, so maybe it's not one of those things your mother tells you when you're growing up, but it should be. Because dating a rock star is a lot worse than putting your elbows on the table. Dating a rock star is kind of like standing on the table. And it's a hell of a lot worse than talking with your mouth full. It's kind of like going through life with your mouth full. Talking with food spewing out the sides all the fucking time.

All of the phone conversations littered with "honey, don't curse, it's not ladylike" should've been chock full of "honey, don't date a rock star."

I was a good kid growing up. Really. I had good grades, I did community service, I played nice with the elder ladies of the neighborhood. I didn't talk about sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll and all of those other things that respectable children avoid. I was even a pretty decent teenager, looking back on it.

No, my problems didn't really begin until I got the bright idea to date a rock star.

We met in a grocery store, of all places. I'd left my club card in the car, and he let me borrow his so I could get the desired discount. It was a small thing, just one of the little kindnesses that restore your faith in society, but it left a pretty big impression on me. I didn't have a clue who he was, first of all. Second, well...he was cute, and he was being nice to me.

I should've known there and then that there was going to be trouble.

I took said groceries out to my car, thanked him again, and drove off without a second thought to the encounter. Well, there was a second thought, but it didn't come until next week's grocery trip when the roles reversed and he was the genius who'd left his club card in the car. Like the good kid that I was, I let him borrow mine. He insisted that I let him take me out to dinner with the money that I'd saved him.

It was the first time a cute guy had asked me out without being prompted to do so. Needless to say, I agreed to dinner.

We started meeting for pizza every Wednesday at the local hole-in-the-wall pizzeria. We'd swap stupid stories over cheese and grease, joke about our childhoods and the different ways in which we were planning to change the world.

I had no idea that he'd already made his mark.

He had to go out of town for awhile, and so we did pizza over the phone. I stopped waiting until I swallowed to participate in the conversation, and he teased me by attempting to decipher my frequently jumbled jargon.

He was a terrible influence on my good girl upbringing, and I loved every minute of it.

When he came back, we started doing pizza at my place every week. He'd bring his guitar so that, after we polished off the pizza, I could make up random songs to go with the infinite chord progressions he'd invented. I'd make up stupid fairy tales and nonsense words while he strummed, changing the song each time he changed the strumming pattern.

I used to wonder how he could play so well and never use it.

I don't wonder anymore.

He slipped up one day and started playing one of his songs. The blush didn't start to creep up his cheeks until I started singing along. There were no nonsense words this time--why should there be if I knew the real ones?

He knew them better than I'd suspected. He sang them better than the radio ever gave him credit for.

He told me the song was his, but he didn't have to. I could hear it in his voice.

Somehow, I managed to fall in love with him.

Oh, I told myself not to. I knew it was a stupid idea. One glance at his army of prepubescent female fans, and I was scared shitless of dating him. It didn't stop me, though.

Apparently, it didn't stop him either. A week after he told me he was a rock star, he told me that he was in love.

We'd known each other for a little over six months, and I flipped shit.

I didn't do the girl thing, exactly. I didn't go all melodramatic and refuse to talk to him until I figured myself out. I took a few deep breaths and told him that I loved him too, but my insides were quaking when I asked him "where do we go from here?"

He told me he didn't care, but I did. For some reason, I cared a lot.

I didn't need to.

Our pizza dinners became more frequent. He started staying the night at my place. Our evenings started turning into mornings too. We spent more and more time together, and nothing changed. He still played the guitar. I still made up nonsense words. We still finished an entire pizza together. When he couldn't make it to my place, he called, and we spent the evening talking.

It was perfect, and I was more nervous than I'd ever been in my whole life. Fortunately for all of us, he chose that moment to go on tour with the group of knuckleheads that he makes albums with.

My mother never said "don't date a rock star." She definitely never told me not to fall in love with one.

She should've. Falling in love with a rock star is wonderfully exhilarating until the rock star leaves. The second they're gone, the love stops healing you. Instead, it hurts like hell.

Oh, it's not that he's unfaithful. Quite the opposite--he's been on the straight and narrow since the tour started. It's not that he's forgotten me. He still calls every night with the guitar in his lap, and I still love the sound of his voice.

I just hate the tears that come at the end of every phone call.

The doorbell rings, and I abandon his email for the front door. A pizza guy grins cheesily at me.

"Here ya go, miss. All paid for and everything."

Strange, but I'm not complaining. When the rock star's not here, I can mope in peace with my pizza. Hell, I can even eat the whole thing if I want to.

I want to, but the phone rings before I can grab the first piece.



I smile and stuff the piece of pizza in my mouth. It's the rock star. I can afford to talk with my mouth full.

"Hey, babe."

He laughs. "I see you got the pizza."

"I did indeed. Thanks, by the way."

"My pleasure. The guys and I stopped by a corner pizzeria, and it made me think of you." He pauses, and when he speaks again, his voice is soft. "I miss you, Danielle."

Okay, so it hurts. A lot. But when he comes home, it won't hurt anymore, and I won't have any more reasons to complain.

Well, not any REAL reasons, anyway.

"I miss you too, Howie."

Maybe dating a rock star isn't so bad after all.

Because the world can never have enough Howie stories.