There were so many photos of him with Thalassa and Apollo back when they were still happy. Or maybe Thalassa was faking it. Jove hadn’t expected that she was going to leave. He imagined that if a couple was on the verge of a divorce, there’d be some kind of sign that it was going to happen. Sure, they fought, but what couple didn’t? A small part of Jove couldn’t help but blame himself for what happened. Thalassa probably thought his dreams of making a career out of music were childish, that it was just a pipe dream – something he could never dream of accomplishing- and they both knew this, but didn’t have to heart to say out loud.
Jove looked over at the various CDs he had sitting on a rack on the other side of the room. How much money had he wasted on his stupid hobby? Hell, he was leasing a building to do what? Arrange some music that he could just as easily arrange from home? Thalassa had to get a god damn job to support Jove’s sorry ass since commissions didn’t pay enough to support their family. She was probably tired of having to support a child and a man who was acting like one.
A burden. That’s all I’ve ever been.
And now Jove wanted to take care of Apollo on top of not being able to take care of himself. He’d get a little child support from Thalassa, but it wouldn’t be enough to live off of. Hence the name child support. Jove had to get his act together quickly.
There was the sound of his phone buzzing on his nightstand. Johann was calling, but Jove was too busy wallowing in his self hatred to bother answering.
Speaking of his band mates, what would he tell them? They depended on the album doing well as much as he did. Could he really just pull the rug out from under them? That wouldn’t be fair, would it?
Jove pulled out a six pack of beer from the refrigerator. Evaluating all of his life choices up to this point was really starting to burn him out to the max. Alcohol seemed to be the only thing that listened to his pain. And the more Jove consumed it, the more willing he was to confide in it.
Before he could open his third can, there was a knock on the door.
They can wait. It’s probably a telemarketer anyway.
“Jove open the door! I saw your car parked outside.” Anna was shouting from outside his apartment.
Maybe if I just ignore her, she’ll go away.
“Jove c’mon man!” And now Johann was knocking. “We’re not leaving ’til you open up!”
Still, Jove did not move. This was a battle of endurance, and he would not lose.
“I’ll use your spare key.” Nate had pulled out his trump card. It was only a matter of time until Jove had to talk to them so it might as well be on his own terms.
“What do you want?” He called out. His words seemed to slur a bit.
“Did you drink too much?” Johann called out. “We just went to a bar yesterday!”
“Answer my question and I’ll answer yours.”
“You didn’t answer my call and I got worried. There, are you happy?”
“Now can you open the door?” Anna called out. “It’s freezing out here!”
Jove set down his unopened beer and let his friends in.
“Hey, there he is!” Nate was smiling.
“You seem depressed.” Anna remarked. “Is the whole divorce thing finally gettin’ to ya?”
Jove shrugged. “I’ve just been contemplating my whole life up to this point.”
Johann let out a stream of air. “That’s always fun.”
“And I’ve just been wondering if the whole music thing is something that can be turned into a career, y’know?”
The other band members exchanged a nervous look. Anna frowned as she said, “we’ve been working on this album for years! And now you just want to throw all that hard work away?”
“And that’s the problem. We’ve been working on this for years and no one wants to pick it up!”
“Well, that one label is giving us a chance.” Nate said. “If we submit something they like, we could finally get off the ground.”
“But what about all the other labels that turned us down? What makes this one any different?”
Johann placed a hand on Jove’s shoulder. “Look, I know it seems like nothing’s going to work out, but you just need to push through those doubts. At least this label’s interested in picking us up. We’ll just submit a demo and take it from there.”
“But what if they don’t like our stuff?” Jove had flopped down onto the sofa and was eyeing the beer he had abandoned.
“Then we’ll move on to another label. There’s gotta be at least one that likes our stuff.”
Anna swiped the beer right before Jove went to grab it and started chugging it. “Besides I don’t think you’re qualified enough to be able to get another job. Like it or not, you’re stuck with us,” she said once the can was empty.
Jove drummed his fingers on the couch arm. “Thanks for reminding me that I’m a failure in more ways than one, Anna.”
Anna shrugged. “If we’re being honest, all of us are. Sll of us dropped out of college, and I’m pretty sure Johann lives under a bridge.”
“I have an apartment, thank you very much.”
“Yeah, under a bridge.”
Jove couldn’t help but snicker. Anna and Johann argued like children, but at least they were amusing while doing so. Once the two were done with their barrage of insults, Jove spoke up, “so Johann, why’d you call in the first place? You couldn’t possibly be inviting us all out after last night.”
“Funny enough, I was going to call about scheduling extra time to work on our album. We have to submit a demo in a few months so I figured it would be beneficial if we met sometime during the weekend to get a little extra work on it.”
“Yeah, we definitely need to get together a bit more often. Might as well do it on Friday. It seems like we’re all free then.” Nate said.
Johann nodded slowly, then eyed the half drunk six pack sitting on the coffee table. “Do we need to talk about your alcohol consumption?”
Jove frowned. “You’re talking to me like I’m a child.”
“It’s just that you’ve gone through a life changing and emotionally taxing event, and sometimes situational depression can occur-”
“Well… what about Anna, huh? She’s been drinking a lot and you aren’t being critical of her!”
“Hey, I’m not going through a stressful event. Besides, I saw you eyeing that beer. I was just making sure you didn’t drink it.”
Jove rolled his eyes.
“Look, when you lose someone close to you, even if they’re not really dead, you grieve, and grieving can lead to depression. I should know. But the way to fix it isn’t drinking yourself into oblivion.”
Jove frowned. “Alright, Dr. Phil. Solve all of my problems.” He held out his arms. “I’m ready to be fixed in a one hour time period- with commercial breaks of course.”
“First step is losing the attitude.”
Jove cracked a smile. “Y’know, that’s something the real Dr. Phil would say.”
“Anyway, it’s important to remember that there are people who are there for you. I know that was a major problem for me when I was in your position. But, just keep in mind that if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can talk to any of us. We’re not therapists or anything, but we’ll try our best to make you feel better.”
“Group hug!” Anna tackled Jove. Nate and Johann exchanged a glance, then shrugged and joined the dog pile.
A genuine laugh bubbled to the surface as Jove said, “thanks guys.”
“It’s what we do best.” Nate said.
. . .
“Your Dad hates me,” I said as Thalassa and I drank our root beer float.
“My father hates everybody,” she responded. “It’s nothing personal.”