So, Volume 6 of Daron's Guitar Chronicles is probably the oddest volume of any romance series ever, since it doesn't feature one half of the couple. At all. He is just not there (except for in the bonus bit). And it is still awesome. I wouldn't have believed it either, if I hadn't just reread it and confirmed it: this book is fantastic.
So what happens is that after the nail biting finale of volume 5, Ziggy goes to rehab for a month. Within that month horrible things are done to Moondog Three by the record company and things come to a head with Digger, Daron's dad and manager. And when Daron goes to pick Ziggy up from rehab before Digger gets there.... well, that'd be spoiling things.
The main part of the book features Daron dealing with these crises, while making a go of living with his boyfriend Jonathan. Safe and sane Jonathan, who has so much to offer that Daron needs in his life. The brilliance of this book lies in how Tan slowly, insidiously, tears their relationship apart until it all comes to a head. If you've ever been in a relationship where both of you really tried to make a go of it and it still just didn't work, you'll be cringing and nodding through big parts of this book. The reason this book is exciting and not totally depressing is that, besides a few overly domesticated Daron fans, nobody is actually rooting for Daron and Jonathan to make it. Because face it: we're totally team Ziggy. It's hard to hate Jonathan, though, so we feel so much for both of them. And that is how a book without Ziggy can still be one of the best, if not the best, in the series. Even though his absence is sorely missed.
By Daron too. This scene takes place towards the end of the book and is set in a karaoke bar in Japan, where Daron is on tour with another band.
I sorted through the catalog trying to find something I knew well enough to sing even if I was potentially too drunk to read the lyrics.
Hey. They had some Moondog Three in the listings. Candlelight, Wonderland, Why the Sky… What was Intensive Care doing on that list? Had it been released as a single here? It hadn’t been in the US, but maybe it had in Japan. We usually did it in our shows. Maybe it had gotten some college airplay and deep AOR…
What the hell. I decided to do it.
The first draft of the lyrics? I’d written them back when I still had that initial crush on Ziggy. Back when I felt so strongly about him, so intense it was painful. It was a love song, but it was about how much love hurts.
I wish I had remembered that before I picked it to sing. Not only did it remind me exactly how much it used to hurt, it reminded me of the exact size of the current Ziggy-shaped hole in my life. I swear I hallucinated him sitting in the audience and then disappearing before my eyes. When you wish hard enough for something, I think you can make yourself see it. But that doesn’t mean it’s there.
And the thing is, I wrote the song, but he’s the one who sings it, you know? I get to stand behind a guitar usually. What the hell did I think I was doing going out there with the microphone? There’s no going back, you know. No matter how embarrassing or ridiculous your performance is. Karaoke, standing there on the stage alone, demands commitment. Songs take on a life of their own.
I did not do something so dramatic as cry on stage. I can hold it together. That’s one of those things, though: when you feel like you’re being sliced up by knives in your chest, holding it all together only makes it hurt even more.
I might have made other people cry, though. I’m sort of ashamed to think I might have and so I’ve never found out for sure. I don’t remember anything else from that night other than learning the word Suntory. (Japanese for whiskey.)