“Why?” Billy asked, drawing out the word into a whiny song.
“NATPE. They want someone from the talent department there and Jodi doesn’t want to go,” I said. NATPE is an annual convention of television networks, producers and stars. It’s where new shows are exhibited to advertisers, and the place the networks show off their wares.
“I don’t like you going to Las Vegas. You get in trouble there,” he said, pouting.
“I’m not going to get into trouble. I won’t have time. It’s all work,” I said. Several years ago, I went to Vegas for a week on business and ended up with a dancer from Boylesque in my room for a half hour. I told Billy when I got home and it was a big fight, worthy of a fully outstretched forefinger and thumb gesture.
“You better not,” he said, still wearing that frown that gets me every time. I went over and kissed him lightly on the lips.
“I don’t do that anymore,” I said.
“Well you better not. That’s all I have to say,” he said, his mood lifting, and he looked up at me and smiled. “How long are you going to be gone?”
“I leave on the 17th and I come back on the 21st,” I said.
“That’s a holiday weekend. We were supposed to go to Annapolis,” he said, his frown back in place. We’d made plans to go sightsee on that weekend. Neither one of us has ever been there.
“I know, honey, maybe I won’t have to go. I’ll know Monday,” I said and we sat on the couch. He leaned in and I put my arm around him.
“You know I hate Vegas. I hope I don’t have to go. Plus it’s not even a direct flight,” I complained, “I have to hop through Denver.” We just sat on the couch, warming each other up.
“What do you want to do for dinner? Pizza?” I asked.
He scrunched his face in disapproval. “Noooo,” he said, his voice deep in cutie-pie land. I rolled my eyes though he couldn’t see it.
“Okay, then what? I don’t really want to go out again. It’s too fucking cold,” I said.
“Burgers!” he answered with unyielding conviction, and soon we were bundled up and walking to Hamburger Mary’s, down the street. After dinner, we plopped on the couch with Bob wedged between us.
“I don’t want you to go,” he said, quietly.
“Me either, Guyster,” and I kissed the top of his head. “I don’t want to go either.”
Two years ago today, I had to drive to Las Vegas for the NAB, a radio conference, because I was programming talk for Sirius Satellite Radio. It was supposed to be only a day trip. I had left early in the morning and pulled into Vegas around noon. I made the rounds, shook hands with people who I’d never meet again, and ended up having dinner with some New York colleagues. It got too late to drive back home so I checked into the Mandalay Bay and spent the night.
The next morning, I woke up, jumped in the car, and headed back home. When I arrived, Billy wasn’t there but I found a card on our bed. I read it, smiled, and tossed it aside. Eleven days later, on the 21st, I would wake up to find our lives had been shattered into a billion pieces so small that not even Billy could glue them back together like he did with my globe.
The card read:
The more I believe in angels,
The more I see them all around me.
It’s amazing how much goodness
You can see if you only believe.
I’m wishing with you,
I’m believing in you,
I’m here for you.
All my love, Bildoe.
That simple message has become my prayer, every night, for the past two years.