Suburban Station

Written in response to Angela’s photo prompt for Tell the Story Challenge. Her beautiful poetry can be found at Heartbreathings. As I’m in the midst of, and bogged down on both my works in progress, I was happy to attempt this piece of short fiction as an alternative. So based on the photo below, here is my story: Suburban Station.

I was a pop superstar. I had an agent and a stage name. I got discovered at age 16 when I made the cut for Next American Star and spent most of my twenties either in the studio or on the road. I was a household name. I had all the girls I could want but I never fell in love. I had a house in California and an apartment in New York. I owned three sports cars before I even got my driver’s license.

You know what comes with that kind of life. It’s a cliche, really. Late nights, parties, booze, drugs and then other drugs the next day just so you can get up to do it all over again. And of course, the inevitable hangers-on, the leeches that form your entourage, managing your affairs so you can concentrate on being creative while they suck away your fortunes. I still have some of mine. I guess I was lucky.

It’s been two years. I’m thirty-one now but I look a lot older than that. The drugs and the pills and everything else have taken a toll. One morning, I woke up and didn’t know where I was. A hotel, yes, but what city? I had stumbled to the bathroom and puked, only to find, when I pulled my head out of the toilet, some dude sleeping in the bathtub. I didn’t recognize him. Nor did I know any of the other partiers passed out in the room. Was it even my room? I checked the closet. Yeah, those were my clothes. I had to get out of here.

I left the hotel room, found out I was in Miami, and vaguely recalled playing Hard Rock Stadium the night before. I took a cab to the airport. Tour canceled, the star is unwell. That concert was my last. I fired my manager, I sold both my homes, all my cars and hoarded what was left of my wealth.

I went home to Philadelphia and bought a small townhouse. I go by my given name. At rush hour I take my guitar to Suburban Station and play for the passengers boarding the trains. Sometimes people look at me funny –like maybe I seem familiar or something. Nobody’s ever asked. The rest of the time I volunteer to teach music in after school programs for inner city kids. That’s where I met my girlfriend, Jill. She’s a teacher, too. And she’s the only one who knows my secret. I’m not sure how long my money will hold out, but for the first time in my life I am happy.

***

20 thoughts on “Suburban Station

  1. That’s fantastic. Wouldn’t it be cool if you spotted some former star, playing in the subway, who nobody had seen or heard from in years. That kinda disappearing act and hiding in plain sight is right up my alley. 😃👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great story, Meg!! I love the idea of him slipping away from view and doing what makes him happy. I adore these kinds of black and white photos of people. They always tell a story. I follow the guy who took this one on Pixabay. He takes amazing photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that’s cool! He’s a mystery – has sort of an old time look but with modern shoes and bag. That’s what gave me the idea. I agree on the black and white photos of people – you always wonder what is their story. Thanks for the tag and for liking the result! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I noticed that he had on new, and good quality shoes, and his clothes are in good order, but with distressed trousers to try to give the appearance of being down and out. I think you may have discovered the true story Meg!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Peter! That was exactly the observation I made. So there was no way this guy was ‘really’ struggling. And the expression on his face is hopeful and happy. Thank you so much!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Career burnout and self-destructive behavior have taken far too many “stars”. I think you captured a career in all its gritty realism. Could help but think of the many talents we’ve lost because they didn’t get out in time. Mama Cass, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and far too many more.

    Liked by 1 person

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