She sits at the kitchen table of her house in the suburbs, staring into a glass of chardonnay on this overcast Tuesday afternoon.
"It's my life," the not-quite-40-year-old thinks. "And it's now or never. I ain't gonna live forever — I just want to live while I'm alive." She knows she has to tell her husband everything.
She pours a second glass of Slippery When Wet 20th Anniversary Commemorative Wine, ordered from BonJoviOnline.com, and flashes back to 1987. Senior year. Her last days as a pop-metal princess. An explosion of bangs in a frosted-denim miniskirt. A vision of suede and fringe.
Bon Jovi's New Jersey hadn't left her car's tape deck since she got it. She had been nominated for prom queen, and her classmates were voting the next day. Everybody thought she had it in the bag — until a rumor started going around that she was caught making out with J.J., boyfriend of her best friend, Suzie, last Saturday night, causing Suzie and J.J. to break up.
Suzie won prom queen by a landslide.
Did the rumor cost her the election? Had Suzie spread the rumor herself? She didn't know. Did she make out with Suzie's boyfriend? She couldn't remember. That Saturday night, a 2-liter bottle of Purple Passion had really done a number on her. But from this point forward, whenever she heard her senior prom theme, she would a feel the sting of remorse: I'll be there for you — these five words I swear to you.Living on a Prayer
She left town and went to college to start over. Traded in her denim jacket, with the Bon Jovi back patch, for preppy clothes. Pledged a sorority and graduated with new friends. Met her future husband at a charity fundraiser. He showed her the finer things in life, and after a few years, she was the mother of two.
It was only every now and then that she felt like something was missing. A certain kind of drive would reignite her spark with the power of 1,000 lighters held aloft in the anthem-filled dark.
She found it in an unlikely spot when she discovered the Bon Jovi wine collection. Having become something of a wine enthusiast, she couldn't resist. She bought six bottles. She started watching Jon Bon Jovi movies — Moonlight & Valentino, U-571, even Young Guns II — over and over. That was months ago.
Now she hears her husband arrive home. He walks into the kitchen. He looks at the bottle. Then he looks at her.
She speaks first. "I have to tell you something — "
He cuts her off.
"Don't. I already know. You haven't really been chairing the committee for Bake Sale Against Domestic Abuse '08: You Give Love a Bad Name. You've been going to meetings of the Bon Jovi Superfan Oenophiles Society. I know. I followed you."
She takes a breath that is both nervous and relieved. "You must have been very stealthy. I didn't see you there, and as you can tell, attendance is spotty at best."
"At first, I didn't know what to think. Then I realized, it's not like I don't have a past of my own. I wasn't always a season-ticket holder for the symphony," he says. She notices he's wearing a bolo tie instead of his usual neckwear. "It's been a long time since I wore this, but I heard 'Lost Highway' yesterday, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. It's got fiddles."
He pauses. "Damn it, if that's not common ground, I don't know what is," he says. "Take my hand. We'll make it — I swear."
They fall into a deep embrace, and he whispers softly into her ear, "I've reserved the Sprint Center's Successful Businessperson Executive Suite for tonight's concert."
He's a good man, she thinks, a single tear following a lost highway of its own down her cheek. But it doesn't matter if we have two kids or 100, that bolo tie is a deal breaker.