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Old 02-10-2013, 01:34 AM   #1
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The Bass Player's Wife - Epilogue

...What?

Yes, it's been 3 years, five days, eight hours and...I don't know how many minutes since I last posted anything to do with this story. But YDW coming back and some other stuff made me decide to post this.

If you haven't read the rest, you'll likely be totally lost.

So, linkage: 1 2 3 4 6.0 6.5 7 8

There is no Chapter 5 ...as you might've noticed... I only had a copy of it stored in my email and hotmail gnomes have eaten it. It doesn't really interrupt the story at all, since it's told non-linearly anyway.

And now, for the moment hopefully at least one of you has been waiting for...

An epilogue.

Disclaimer: This is fiction. Fiction is called fiction for a reason. And if Bret Easton Ellis can write about U2, why can't I?

Language warning and it might be a good idea to get some tissues. Also, give yourself a breather between Chapter 8 and this. Just trust me on this one.

-----

"When is Bono coming?" My father looked over my shoulder as I was chopping vegetables for his lunch.

"Go look at the calendar," I replied.

He yanked the cutting board out from under my hands, spilling the vegetables all over the floor. "You know I don't like that shit. You're trying to poison me."

"No, Dad, this is the diet your doctor wants you on. It's better for you," I explain, picking up the pieces, trying to salvage what I can. He stomped and kicked as many of them as he could. I sat on my heels and sighed. "Alright, what do you want to eat?"

"I'm not hungry," he insisted and folded his arms.

"You threw your breakfast on the floor, too. You need to eat something, Dad," I said, standing up and making sure he hadn't gotten a hold of the knife.

"Stop calling me 'Dad'. You're not my Lola. Lola takes care of me, she doesn't force feed me crap," he threw the cutting board, then walked out of the kitchen. I sighed and put the cutting board and knife in the sink, then threw the vegetables away. I followed him to his room, which had been moved to the first floor of the house, since he struggled to climb the stairs these days. I found him digging through a box of his journals and magazines from his days with the band.

"What are you looking for?" I ask from the doorway.

"My Lucy book. I want to look at my Lucy book," he said, throwing things across the room. The journal he kept while my mother was battling cancer sat on his bedside table.

I stepped in the room to retrieve it.

"Don't you fucking touch anything. I don't trust you not to rob me blind," he snarled at me. Then he got frustrated that he couldn't find the book and overturned the box. "Where is it? Where's Lucy?" With his back turned, I quickly moved across the room and took it off the bedside table, then approached him slowly.

"Here's your Lucy book," I said softly and handed him the journal.

"You hid it from me, you bitch," he sat down on his bed and opened the journal. Paper-clipped to the inside front cover was a picture of her. "Hi, Lucy," my father beamed at the picture. I left him to read and went back to the kitchen. I decided to make his favourite lunch instead of the stuff his doctor said had the possibility of helping with his dementia. I made up a tray, then carried it to his bedroom. He was glued to the journal, despite it being the fifteenth or twentieth time he's read it.

"I brought you your lunch," I said and set it on top of his dresser. He waved me off. I had marked the page where Lucy finally succumbed to the disease, and he was nearing it. Reliving my mother's death usually turned him into a sobbing mess.

But this time, he closed the book before he got to the end. "I don't think I will like how that turns out." He set it down, then looked out the window.

"Are you hungry?" I asked.

"Yes," my father smiled at me. I helped him spoon the steak pie to his mouth, but he could handle the chips by himself. I cleaned up his face and took the tray away. He followed me to the kitchen. "How did you know that's my favourite?"

"Your daughter told me," I said, hoping he might clear up for a moment.

"I miss Lola. I wish she would visit," he looked at his feet, then at mine. "Nathan is a physicist, you know. He's my son, very busy in Switzerland, colliding atoms to make nuclear bombs and black holes and things."

"No, Dad, Nate's the senior physics professor at MIT," I reminded him.

"When's Bono coming?" he asked again.

"At three," I said. "Do you want a nap before he comes over?"

"Okay," my father yawned and walked back to his bedroom. I tucked him into his bed and kissed his forehead as he drifted off to sleep.

I woke Adam up fifteen minutes before Bono was to arrive, and made sure he hadn't wet himself during his nap. He was able to get to the bathroom most of the time, but he had the occasional accident. He was happy when he awoke, didn't have any words of abuse to hurl at me.

I heard the doorbell go and left him to answer it. I thought he'd stay in bed, but he got up and followed me to the door. I opened the door and Bono and Edge were standing on the doorstep. Adam took one look at the both of them and went back to his room.

"Well, that was a bit rude," Bono half-smiled. I let them in and they followed me to my father's bedroom. Adam was sitting in the chair next to the window.

"Dad, Bono brought Edge along to see you," I smiled at him. He looked at Bono and it was clear that he didn't recognize him, then he turned to Edge.

"Green eyes," he said, then repeated it to himself a few times, whispering, as though he were trying to remember. "Edge?"

Edge was obviously taken aback. "Yeah, man, it's Edge." He grinned.

"No, Edge is away. Edge is in Malibu," My father shook his head and looked at his hands in his lap. Bono sighed. "When is Bono coming?"

"Bono's here, Dad. He's wearing sunglasses, like he always does," I reminded him. Adam looked at the man sitting across from him who was wearing sunglasses.

"Hi, Sparky," Bono made eye contact with him, but there was no recognition. Adam stopped talking, no sense in wasting his breath with these people who looked like Bono and The Edge, but weren't. Edge crossed his legs, then so did Adam.

"I didn't realise he'd gotten so bad," Edge said softly. He laced his fingers together and put them in his lap, and Adam mimicked him. Edge looked at me (so did Adam), "What's he doing?"

"He's not sure what to do, so he's mirroring you," I said. "He does it when I'm trying to feed him, too."

"You have to--," Edge turned to Bono, as did Adam, "she has to feed him?"

"He's lost the coordination," Bono shrugged. Edge looked at Adam with more concern. He had grandchildren, only a few months old, that could feed themselves. I walked over to my father's stereo and put on the first U2 album I could find, "October." Within the first few moments of "Gloria," he stopped looking so anxious and mirroring Edge, he even smiled a true smile.

"I quite like this song," my father said happily. "It was always one of my favourites to play."

Bono and Edge glanced at each other, "Yeah, ours, too," Bono grinned.

I let them talk, Adam was telling a story Edge found extremely embarrassing about a malfunctioning amplifier and when Bono laughed, Adam slapped him, then started laughing at the shocked look on Bono's face.

"Dad! That wasn't nice. You need to apologize," I demanded. Bono was rubbing his face, Adam hadn't held back at all.

My father's expression immediately darkened, "Fuck you, bitch." I sighed. "You imprison me in this house, you shove that poison down my throat, and those pills make me forget everything. I should call the police and have you arrested for kidnapping and attempted murder."

"Adam, calm down," Bono tried to take Adam's hand and he got slapped again.

"Don't you fucking touch me. And get that treacherous cunt out of my room," he pointed at me. He screamed "Get out!" at me while I walked out of the room and Bono tried to calm him down. Edge followed me out and closed the door so we couldn't hear the rest of my father's tirade.

Edge saw how shaken I was and wrapped me in a tight hug. I sobbed, even though I didn't want to cry. "I'm glad Lucy's dead. This would've killed her, to see him like this."

"'Lucy'?" Edge asked, surprised I would call her by her name.

"Adam told me the truth. Larry and Lucy's twin sister Selina are my birth parents, and that Mum, Lucy, talked Selina into letting them adopt me and giving me a better life. I'm glad she did, because I've met Selina, and she scares the hell out of me. I miss my dad," I chuckled, "both of them."

"Well, why don't you call Larry?" Edge asked.

"Ann doesn't seem to like me very much. She's civil with me, of course, but she really didn't appreciate Larry letting me move in when I was 14 after Adam and I had had a big fight," I shrug.

"I can sort of see her side, you know, Larry didn't know he was your father until Lucy died. Then he and Adam came to an agreement that Adam would raise you. Your life had been upturned enough, they didn't want you to go through any more stress. But Larry kept that secret from Ann until you showed up on their doorstep. She was furious at first, and then you were always there to remind her that Larry had been unfaithful to her. It's not something a woman likes to have around. But you've been out of their house for quite some time now, Ann's probably come to terms with it by now. But if you're still not sure, ask him to meet you for coffee or down the pub. You don't have to visit him at home."

"How can I leave Adam, though?" I shook my head, doubting for the umpteenth time what I'd left a career in London for. I'd only been caring for him for six months.

"I can think of at least 20 people who would take him off your hands, even if it was just for a couple of hours, Bono and myself included," Edge smiled.

"Thanks, Edge," I smiled and he gave me another bear hug.

Bono walked out of my father's room, holding his face again. "He still can pack a wallop. 'Tomorrow' came on and he started crying for Lucy. I tried to comfort him and he slapped me again."

"Oh, God, I'm sorry," I said, walking back in Adam's room. I turned off the stereo and got in my father's face. "You need to apologize to Bono. You don't slap people."

"Where's Lucy?" my father said tearfully.

"Lucy's dead, Dad. Mum died 30 years ago. She battled ovarian cancer for two years and she died," I told him bluntly. My father's chin trembled. He looked at Bono, then Edge, then back at me and burst into tears. "I'm sorry, Dad," I ran my fingers through his hair and tried to comfort him. Bono and Edge said a quick good-bye, then let themselves out.

*****

Adam was finally taking a bath after a week of being combative about it. I took advantage of his condition and used the old Bugs Bunny trick to get him to comply. Not my proudest moment in the seven years I'd been taking care of him, but it worked. He was still able to wash most of his parts, but needed help reaching his back. I washed that then his hair. I was using baby shampoo in case it got in his eyes.

"Tilt your head back," I said. He leaned backwards and I rinsed his hair with a pitcher of water. He was content to relax in the water, but I checked my watch. "OK, bath's over. We need to get you dressed." I helped my father to his feet, wrapped a towel around his waist, then helped him walk to his bedroom. I dried his legs and slipped an adult diaper onto him. He wasn't making it to the bathroom in time any more. He sat down on his bed and I started drying his hair. After a few seconds, he grabbed my wrist. "What's wrong?" I pulled the towel down to his shoulders.

He looked at me, really looked at me. "Lola?"

"Dad?" I asked incredulously. Was he really lucid?

"What happened? We were on tour, weren't we? In Berlin. I don't...I can't remember anything after that," he shook his head.

"It's okay. I'll explain it to you, but you've got to stay with me," I said. Adam nodded. I explained to him that he had started faltering during the encore of the concerts, either playing the wrong song or just staring at his guitar helplessly. He said he remembered that. I told him how, during interviews, he would give answers that didn't make sense or that had a couple of words transposed. He said he remembered that, too. So I told him the incident that ended the tour. The crew had put a minder on Adam, which he'd resented, to be sure that he didn't get into any trouble. Well, one night, in Berlin, he'd gotten up in the middle of the night, caught a taxi, then a train and was found wandering the streets of Stuttgart. The police detained him because they could tell something was off. Luckily, Adam had his mobile phone with him, so the police dialled the last number he'd texted, Bono, and Paul McGuinness and the band took the plane from Berlin to Stuttgart and retrieved him. They cancelled the rest of the tour, refunded over 2 million in ticket sales, and I came home to take care of him.

"Do I know anyone? Do I know you?" Adam asked.

"You know certain people are important. And you've turned arguing with me into a sport," I smiled.

"Thank you for coming home," he said. I kissed his forehead. When I pulled back to look at him, I could tell the lucidity had faded. "You remind me of my daughter," he said cheerfully.

I nodded, then helped him get dressed. I had just finished brushing his hair when the doorbell rang. Edge and Morleigh were coming to sit with him for a couple of hours while I had coffee with Larry. I walked to the front door and let them in, then they followed me to my father's bedroom.

"He just had a bath, so don't be surprised if he's a bit sleepy. And he was lucid for about five minutes or so, and I was able to explain a lot to him," I explained.

"That's good, though, isn't it? He was lucid?" Morleigh asked.

"It's the first time he's been lucid in six years. I'm sure it was an isolated incident," I shrugged. I walked over to Adam, who was standing at the window, looking out. "Dad, I'm going to go out for a couple of hours, but Edge and Morleigh are here and they're going to keep you company."

"Morleigh," Adam repeated. He looked right at her. "Morleigh?"

"Yes, I'm Morleigh," she smiled at him. Adam gave me an anxious look.

"I'm only going to be gone for a couple of hours. Edge is under strict orders to call me if you need anything, okay?" I kissed his forehead.

"Okay," Adam nodded. Edge walked me to the door.

"If he starts fidgeting, ask him if he needs to use the bathroom, then help him get there. He's got a diaper on just in case, though," I tell him.

"We've got it under control, Lola. It's not the first time we've sat with him," Edge smiled.

"I know, and thank you," I hugged him, then walked out to my car.

*****

I parked my car and sat for a moment, enjoying my last few moments of freedom before I had to go back in the house and deal with Adam. I thought of my mother and wished she were here to support me. I took a deep breath, got the groceries out of the car and walked in the house.

I went in my father's bedroom. He was bedridden now, too weak to walk or do most things.

My father giggled, "Hi, Lola." I dropped the bag of groceries in shock. "Uh-oh!" he squealed.

"Oh, shit, I'm sorry," Larry laughed and got up to pick up the groceries. "I told him to do that when you came home, I thought it'd be funny." He was over a lot, now that Ann had passed on.

"It's alright, I thought he was having a lucid moment and I was going to have to explain why he's stuck in bed," I bent down to help him. I took the bag of groceries to the kitchen and put the perishables away, then went back to my father's room.

"Look, Lola," Larry said, putting a drum in Adam's lap.

"Look, Lola," my father repeated, then banged on the drum with his hands. Larry parroted the beat, and Adam howled with laughter.

"He's so used to parroting--" Larry started.

"Parroting," Adam repeated.

"Right, that me parroting him is just the best thing ever," Larry finished.

"Best ever," Adam banged on the drum again and Larry followed. Adam laughed.

"Well, then I'll leave you boys to your fun," I said and went back to the kitchen to put the rest of the groceries away. Soon, I heard the drum hit the floor and Larry say, "Okay, you're done with that." Then the first strains of "A Sort of Homecoming" came over the stereo in Adam's room. He tolerated it until "Wire" started with the fast, Bongolese lyrics.

"No, no, no, no, no, no, no!" Adam insisted and the music went off. I went back to his room to see if Larry needed any help settling my father back down. "Hi, Lola," he grinned.

"Hi, Daddy," I giggled. I got a text message and pulled my mobile phone from my pocket.

"That," Adam said, reaching for my phone. I shrugged and handed it to him, figuring he could do no harm to it. He poked at the screen, then put it to his ear for a couple of minutes, then handed it back to me.

"Who did you call, Dad?" I ask, pulling up the recent calls.

"Mum," my father smiled and adjusted the blanket over his lap. I looked, I still had his mother's phone number in my contacts list, but that wasn't the number he'd dialled. It was an international call, to a 617 area code. Hoping he hadn't randomly annoyed some unsuspecting American, I called the number back. It went straight to a voice mail recording.

It was my mother: "Hi Adam. If you're listening to this, you must be missing me today. Know that wherever I am, I'm missing you, too. I love you, and I look forward to the day when we'll be together again. Kiss the kids for me."

Larry snatched me into a hug when he saw me frown and my eyes well up. "Shh, it's okay."

"Shh, it's okay," my father repeated. He looked concerned that I was upset.

"Who did he call?" Larry asked. I couldn't tell him, I just cried. I hadn't heard my mother's voice since she died.

"Lucy book," Adam said, pointing to the bookshelf across the room. I started to pull myself together. "Lucy book, please." I took a deep breath, then retrieved his Lucy book. I had made him a scrapbook of their lives together after he stopped being able to comprehend what he'd read. Adam opened the book and Larry ushered me just past the door frame.

"What happened?" Larry asked.

I teared up again, just thinking of it. "He remembered..." I sniffled and tried to swallow the lump in my throat as Larry stroked my hair. "He remembered my mother's phone number." Larry stopped stroking. "I guess he's been paying to keep it active all these years so he could call it when he needed to."

"Oh, baby," Larry kissed my head and gave me a good squeeze. I wiped my eyes and walked into my father's room and sat next to his bed.

"How did you remember that?" I asked him, not expecting an answer.

"Lucy in the sky with diamonds," my father said, then he parroted, "remember that."

"I will always remember that," I hugged him.

"Remember that," he parroted again, he seemed satisfied with my response. "Lennon Bono Lucy song, please."

"What does that mean?" Larry asked, holding up the wall on the other side of the room.

"This," I put on Bono's version of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" from the Across The Universe soundtrack.

I remembered my mother's funeral as the song played, the simple acoustic version that Bono and Edge did, that they both barely got through, I could only guess what my father thought about. He reached out and took my hand. "Mum loves you."

My eyes filled with tears. "I know she does," I nodded.

As the song faded out, Adam said sadly, with his eyebrows knotted, "Good-bye, Lucy."

After that afternoon, he never asked for the song or his Lucy book again.

*****

Bono, Edge, and Larry were visiting more frequently; at least one of them was over every day. My father was very frail, and he could no longer speak. He could still pick up on facial expressions and emotions, so we tried to keep things as upbeat around him as possible. He also required more intensive care than I could provide for him, so I hired a nurse to help us through what was the end-stage of his dementia. He had a feeding tube now, and needed oxygen. I got Nathan to take a sabbatical from MIT and come home for a few weeks when Adam came down with viral pneumonia and the nurse said he probably wouldn't live through it.

"Lola, do you think I will get Alzheimer's?" Nathan asked as I drove him from the airport.

"Genetics aren't my strong suit, Nate. Why don't you have yours mapped?" I said, turning onto Kellytown Road.

"Well, I'm not sure I want to know my brain's going to deteriorate like Dad's did," Nathan looked out the window. "Lola?"

"Yes, Nate?" I waited for cars to pass before I turned down the private road to Danesmoate.

"Does he know that we'll miss him when he goes?" Ever since our mother passed away, he refused to use the words "death" or "dying" or any of their other forms.

"I imagine he does, but who can say?" I shrugged and park the car. He walked off toward the house and left me to get his suitcase for him. "That's alright, I got it!" I shouted after him.

He turned back before going inside, "Thank you, Lola." He still didn't get sarcasm.

I carried his suitcase in and handed it to him. "You can take it up to your bedroom yourself."

He set it down next to the stairs. "No, I'd like to see Dad first." He walked to our father's bedroom and stopped dead just inside. Maybe I hadn't prepared him enough for what he was going to see. "Oh, my," Nathan said under his breath. Adam looked at him and smiled.

"Dad, this is Nathan, your son, my brother," I said. Adam nodded.

"He looks like a waxwork," Nathan said.

"Be nice," I shoved him closer to the bed. "Nate came home to see you, Dad."

"Hi," Nate said shakily. He had a terrified look on his face. Adam started mirroring the anxious expression. Nathan turned and walked out of the room.

"It's OK, Dad," I said quickly before chasing after my brother.

"No, I can't do it," he was shaking his head and pacing. "I can't do it, Lola. Take me back to the airport, please. I need to go back to Boston."

"Nathan Stuart Clayton," I put my hands on my hips. "Your father is going to die. Don't you want to say good-bye?"

"Yes, but he--."

"He's very sick, I know. He has a lot of tubes and stuff hooked up to him and it looks pretty scary. But Dad would want to die at home, not at a hospital or anywhere else," I explained.

"Dad would want to go in the same house Mom left in," Nathan said.

"I thought about that, but he got too ill to fly, even in a private jet," I put my hand on my brother's shoulder. "Should we give it another go?"

"Yes," Nate nodded. Nate walked back in our father's room, but Adam had fallen asleep. "I guess I'll get settled now." He spotted the scrapbook of my mother on the bookshelf. "May I look at this?"

"Yeah," I said and handed it to him. He took it and his suitcase up to his room.

Bono, Edge, and Larry came and went over the next two weeks, and Nathan was courteous to them. He got less anxious around our father, too. I tried many times to track down Samantha, but I wasn't able to find her.

I was awake, but in bed when my father's nurse ran into my room. "I think this is it," she said.

"Go wake up Nathan," I said and rushed to Adam's bedroom. My father was asleep, but his breathing sounded terrible. Nate and the nurse came in the room seconds later.

"Should we call Bono or someone?" Nathan asked, wringing his hands.

"No, we'll tell them in the morning. Let's just sit with him," I said, taking my usual spot next to his bed. Nate pulled up a chair on the other side. I took my father's hand and watched his face as he slept, trying to think of the perfect thing to say. We sat there for two hours before Nathan fell asleep. I felt a little tired-drunk myself, but I didn't want him to go alone. After another hour, his breathing got even worse. I tried to wake Nate, but he just grunted at me and swatted me away. I looked at my father's face in the dim light of his bedside lamp. He'd been through so much in his life, especially in the last decade. I sighed. "Dad, I love you, but I'm so tired of seeing you suffer. Nate and I are here, and I know Mum and Aurora are waiting for you on the other side. You don't have to linger for us any more. When you're ready, I want you to go."

Adam opened his eyes a slit and looked at me. He lifted his right hand and tousled Nate's hair. Then he brought my hand to his lips and kissed it.

"Good-bye. I love you," I said, trying and failing to keep tears from falling down my face.

"Love you," he mouthed the words. Then he closed his eyes again.

The funeral was held three days later. I could tell Bono was trying to hide his resentment at me for not calling him so he could be there when my father died, but he was pleasant and consoling all the same. A week later, Bono, Alison, Edge, Morleigh, Larry, Nathan, and I stood in front of my father's lush flower garden. We all said a few words about Dad, then we scattered both my father's and my mother's ashes over the garden, so they could be together one last time.

Nathan got a ride to the airport the next morning from Edge and I was alone in the house for the first time in a very long time. I went in my father's room and noticed that Nathan must have kept the Lucy book. I went to his box of journals and magazines, untouched in the past two years and thumbed through them. I picked up the 1993 ZooTV tour programme, that had a stylized picture of The Edge on the front. I read through the Q & A from BP Fallon.

"BP: 'What's your real-life nightmare?'

Adam: 'To not remember.'"

I sat down on my father's empty bed. "Damn."
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:34 AM   #2
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I needed those tissues, damn you.

You write stuff good. Write more stuff.

And what, YDW came back?!
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