Said We Can Never Be
Excerpt from a soon-to-be-published novel by Linda M. Rowland-Buckley.
Many nights after Minnie had first told her band that she quit, she crept in the bathroom while her family slept soundly and cried. The Hot House Blues Band had been her salvation. The sound on her ears of Blind Cat’s long whirl of beautiful brass notes strung together like loops on a rollercoaster, full of excitement and thrill. The throaty depth of her voice was more than a pull on her belly, it was from her soul, and matured when she prepared to record her first album.
She listened to B.B.’s The Thrill is Gone pump into her earphones as she slid down the wall next to the toilet. The wound wasn’t the man, or her singing; it was the choice between her two loves. When Cowboy suggested the band lay their work down, Minnie’s voice smoothed over pitches she fell flat on in the past. Their studio hours were so timeless; her grit was as polished as fine sand through fingers.
She breathed deeply on the tile floor, then stood and braced her long fingers around the sink’s edge as her head hung low near its basin. Only the recollection of her mouth cradling the microphone, the passionate tear curling at her eye’s corner as she beat out in her gravel voice a held note that her band mates eased off of to let her carry. She held it long, high and hard and then swallowed the end of the note. Cowboy Max blew in behind her carrying the sweet sound of his horn. He cribbed the midsection screaming like never before. Joe picked up and filled in sizzling on his bass. That turned out to be the only cut off their album that made air time Said We Can Never Be, she wrote it herself.
The album’s failure was the deal breaker in her marriage. She was desperately trying to put family ahead of career. But the blues wasn’t just a career, it was her second family. So she sat up most nights in the dark bathroom recalling her lost love, nursing the ache with songs of loss, eating memories until the dawn’s light when she crawled into bed before the start of her day.