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Home Again

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Claire looked at the clock on the wall. Another twenty seconds had passed since she’d last looked up. It was terrible sitting around here with nothing else to do than waiting for Sam to come home.

He was about to leave the “financial sector”. Actually, he had been fired after a rough argument – it had almost ended up in a fist fight – with a security man about some stupid which-band-has-had-the-better-live-performance-in-1967-The-Who-or-Led-Zepplin-thing. But Sam preferred to put it in a decent way, so he was about to leave. And by the way the right answer was The Who!

After two weeks of complaining, self pity and some light depression – what had felt like years for Claire – he’d finally got his ass up and started to check the newspaper for some job advertisement.

In the end it was Claire who had pushed him to apply for a job at the local radio station called KEXP. Sam was skeptical from the first moment and badmouthed about indie rock and all this “pussy alternative stuff.” He was a rock critic! But Claire had been adamant, practically holding a gun to his head. They needed the money, damn it! She couldn’t pay the rent alone, not with the few dollars she earned as a waitress at the coffee shop. The job was fine, made her happy, kept her busy and all that, but it wasn’t enough.

Suddenly there was the sound of a key in the door lock. Claire held her breath.

Sam entered their shared apartment, his face an unreadable mask. He took off his jacket and with every second that passed Claire became more nervous and almost forgot to breathe.

Finally she asked, “And?”

“Nothin’”, Sam answered with a shrug und hung up his black denim jacket.

Claire’s mind was blank. For a moment she was thinking about what to do or what to say. It was quite possible that he’d screwed up the interview – wouldn’t be the first time. Then she became aware of the light smile that incessantly pulled on the corners of Sam’s mouth.

“You got the job?” She was not totally convinced by the look on his face.

“Like I said,” Sam said, coming over to Claire. It was hard for him to hide his smirk. “Nothing I couldn’t handle. It was a snap to get this job.” Well, that was a lie, but it sounded pretty good to Sam’s ears.

With a high-pitched squeal, Claire jumped up and began to hop around the room like a crazy bouncy ball.

Sam heard a ringing in his ears when he saw that the hyperactive girl was about to jump into his arms. Before he could do anything more than raise his hands to stop her, she’d already flung her arms around his neck.

For the first moment it felt strange to Sam. She was hugging him like a five year old girl hugs her lost teddy bear. He was not a cozy stuffed animal! But he couldn’t resist the happiness Claire beamed in spades and for a few seconds he held her tight.

When the moment was over Claire let him go and asked, “Will you get your own radio show?”

Sam shook his head in amusement. “We’ll see how it works. For now they give me a job as an editor. I should make a list of upcoming albums, write some comments and so on. Not that different from my old job when I was writing columns for The Rolling Stone back in the nineties.”

“So,” Claire said proudly, “welcome back to the business, Mister Loudermilk!”

“Yeah,” Sam admitted and reflected on Claire’s words. He wasn’t happy about being back in the business. He was happy about having a job again, one that has a lot to do with music, because music had always felt like home. He was home again.