tagRomanceGone Country

Gone Country


This short one is less story than it is an overview of one man's love life. I considered delving deeper into each relationship but decided it would ultimately just be filler.


Gone Country

Longing for that one true love


If being unlucky in love is the makings of a great country song, I oughta be a damn Nashville superstar by now. I am a musician, but that kind of success has managed to elude me. Don't get me wrong: I love what I do, and I'm not in it for the money or the success or the fame. But my career as a club and touring musician hasn't exactly led to everlasting happiness in the love department. Not that I've never been in love; I have: 3 times. Well, I've loved 3 times, but only one of those times was I IN love. But none of them worked out.

And so tonight I do again what I've done thousands of times before: climbed onto the stage of some country western bar to play my music (and that of many people more famous than me) so that other people can have a good time with the ones they love.

Long ago, when I started down this path, I had dreams of taking the stage, big or small, with a beautiful woman sitting down front watching me play. She'd smile at me and I'd wink at her. She'd be the love of my life. She'd be proud of me and what I was doing, and I'd be proud to have her on my arm at the end of the night. Too bad it hasn't worked out that way.

As far as local musicians go, I do pretty well. I make pretty good money and when I play the house is usually pretty full. I have some CD's that I self-published and some t-shirts I had printed and they sell okay. As I'm playing I can see and hear the crowd singing along, and not just to the cover songs I play: there's people that know the words to some of my original stuff.

These days I live in an RV, which allows me the freedom to be on the road without having to worry about an apartment back home. Usually I can find a reasonably priced RV park where I can hook up, but I can also go a few days without doing so. It's a lonely existence but I've reached the point that I've accepted it as my reality and my future. It's the cost of doing what I love, and I don't think I'm fit to do anything else. Not anymore, anyway.


I've been married once. I was 20 years old and already a working musician. I had dropped out of high school (with my grades I wouldn't have graduated anyway) when I was 16 and went on the road to play music. I had to lie about my age until I turned 18. My parents were divorced and spent more time trying to find their next ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend than they spent on me, so I rather think they were glad when I was gone. I can't be sure; I haven't seen or spoken to either of them in over 15 years.

I met my wife, Kelly, at one of the clubs I was playing. She was there with a bunch of friends and I caught sight of her on the dance floor. Damn, she was hot. She was tall (5'8") with an athletic build and wild mane of blonde hair. She could really move, and all the guys she danced with seemed to have the same appreciation for her that I had.

I was playing rhythm guitar for a guy named Hal Harris at this point. Hal was an older guy and much of his traveling days were behind him. He had invested well and owned some land outside of Waco, Texas, so he was able to keep his schedule how he wanted it. The downside was that the rest of us had some trouble paying the bills because he didn't play often enough for us to earn much of a living. But we did it for the experience, not the paycheck.

Between sets I would usually go outside and get some fresh air, and on one of these I found Kelly outside already doing the same thing. She was just leaning against a wall and running her fingers through her hair trying to cool down. It was one of the most erotic things I had ever seen. Just for kicks I decided to introduce myself. Was I ever glad I did.

"Evening, ma'am. My name's Henry. I saw you on the dance floor out there. I'm glad you're enjoying yourself."

"Good evening to you, too, Henry. I'm Kelly. Yeah, I'm having a good time. You guys have a good sound."

"You seem to be dancing with a number of different people. Your boyfriend okay with that?"

She smirked at my obvious ploy. "I don't happen to have one of those right now. You interested in the position?"

"As a matter of fact I am. We're done here at midnight tonight. Would you care to grab a late bite at Denny's?"

"I'd like that, Henry. I'll see you after the show."

I was in love with her from that first date. I don't mean lust; I knew what that felt like, and this wasn't it. I felt a charge every time she touched me. She was smart and funny and beautiful (God, was she beautiful) and I wanted to be with her every minute of every day.

A month later I moved out of the room I was renting and into her 1-bedroom apartment. It wasn't much but it was enough for us. She worked as a dental assistant, having gotten a certificate from one of those trade schools you see advertised on TV all the time. This was really the only hiccup in our relationship: she worked days and I worked nights. But she would come to a lot of my shows and spend time on my breaks until it got late and she needed to be in bed for work. A lot of younger couples did things like this, spending time together when they could, and we did our best to make it through.

The sex was amazing, not just because of what we did but because of how we felt about each other. It felt to me like I was entering another plane of existence when I was with her. Her breasts were B's and stood high and firm, with smooth pink areolas and very responsive nipples. She was not a virgin (nor was I) but neither were either of us very experienced. We learned a lot of things together and it really brought us together as a couple. At a friend's suggestion she started shaving her pussy smooth and found she really enjoyed the sensations that gave her. She never failed to climax multiple times and I was young and good for 3-5 times a night, when we had the time.

I proposed after just 3 months and we were married a month later. Neither of us had much in the way of family but we did have a few friends, and Hal gave us a weekend in Vegas for our honeymoon as his wedding present. I'm pretty sure we left the room at some point, but I don't really remember doing it. We sure did give the bed a workout, though.

I had it good and perfect...for about 9 months. Then the bomb dropped: Hal was retiring from performing and I was out of a job. Kelly did okay but didn't make enough to support us both. But the life of a musician is a transient one. I had it good with Hal for a while but now a career in music would mean life on the road, whether I played with someone else or tried my hand at a solo career. Not wanting to be away from Kelly, I tried to get myself a 'real job'.

With no actual skills all I could manage was a cashier position at a local department store. I did fine but I hated it, and that eventually manifested itself in my time alone with Kelly. As much as she brought me joy, it couldn't entirely permeate the depression I felt at my career turn. Finally, she'd had enough.

"Baby, you're so miserable. I think you need to get back to your music."

"Honey, I told you what that would mean. I'd be on the road most of the time, or playing at night. I'd never see you."

"I know, but you'd be happy again. We can figure it out. I hate seeing you like this. You're not the happy, fun guy that I married anymore."

The end result was that I hooked up with a band called Palomino Jones, whose guitarist had just quit and moved to the Northeast. And just as I knew it would, my life became a life on the road. At first the height of it was the welcome home sex. We would ravage each other whenever I made it back into town. But as time went on this started to cool a bit, and I sensed a change in our marriage in general and in Kelly specifically. She was still happy to see me when I got home but something was missing.

The end came on a Friday. There was a note on the bathroom mirror asking me to get to my gig that night a little early so we could talk. She would meet me there right after she got off work. The gig was a local one, obviously, and I was glad to know she would be there but concerned about 'the talk'.

I knew it as soon as I walked in, because I immediately saw my wife sharing a booth with another guy. They were not being outwardly affectionate but they were sitting very close; too close for my comfort. She straightened up as she saw me walking toward their table.

"What's this?" I asked. "Who the hell are you?"

He just looked at Kelly and her at me. "Henry, let's find somewhere quiet we can talk."

She slid out of the booth and we went into the employee's door and into the back room to find someplace quiet. She wouldn't meet my eyes for the longest time. She didn't even need to say a word.

"So this is it, then." It wasn't a question.

The tears suddenly started. "Henry, I'm sorry. I just miss you so much when you're gone. I'm not strong enough to be a musician's wife. I thought I was but I'm not. I need someone who'll be home with me more than he's not."

"You're the one that told me to get back to my music, to get on the road."

"I know. I had to; you were so miserable in that job, and I really thought I could handle it. But I was stuck, Henry. Either I was without you 75% of the time or I had a depressed and miserable you all the time. You are who you are Henry, and I love you too much to let you change that. There was no way I could win."

"Who's the guy?"

"His name is Bo. I met him at my work. He works at the convenience store at the other end of the shopping center. I don't feel about him like I do about you, but he's there for me at night, and he's in a good mood. I've been spending time with him while you've been on your road trips. You know I love you but it just wasn't working out. I'm so sorry."

"Have you...?

"No, Henry. I wouldn't do that to you. I do have respect for our marriage and our vows. I told him straight up I wouldn't do that until you and I...got divorced."

The tears were coming up fast, for both of us I think. Hal had always told me that the life of a musician was a hard and lonely one, and you better get used to being in love with your music because chances are it'll be the only 'woman' there for you for any length of time. When I met Kelly I had thought he was wrong. He had been right and probably knew it, but also knew it was a lesson I'd have to learn for myself.

"All right, Kelly. If this is what you want, I won't stand in your way. Let me know when you've got the papers. I'll sign 'em. I'll find somewhere to sleep tonight and come get my stuff tomorrow around noon. I'd appreciate if you weren't there; it'll just make it harder."

"It's not really what I want but..." She didn't seem to have the words, but I knew what she meant. "I hope there're no hard feelings, Henry."

By the time we went on she and her new guy had left. I could barely concentrate and I sounded like crap, but we made it through. I apologized to the guys afterwards and let them know what had happened, and they were very understanding. I stayed with Milt (the drummer) that night.

I suppose if there was a silver lining to all of this, it brought me a song that would eventually become sort of my defining hit. It was called No Hard Feelings and the chorus went like this:

I hope there's no hard feelings, she said.

I told her no hard feelings, that's true.

But it's only because I can't feel at all,

Thanks to this broken heart caused by you.


Back to the present.

As I'm introduced and take the stage the applause is strong. I've played this particular club a number of times and it's reached the point where I'm here 1-2 times a month now. My current band has been intact for about 3 years. They're a bunch of young kids, much like I was when I shared the stage with Hal Harris. It's funny how life goes. While not as old as Hal was back then (I'm 36, if you're wondering), I have become the wizened old veteran of the music wars doling out advice to the young kids. Eddie, who plays bass for me, calls me Obi-Wan, a reference to the Star Wars character. I like it.

I have a number of songs that go over well, but none generates the reaction that No Hard Feelings does. I play it every night, because my fans expect to hear it. And it hurts me every single night. Perhaps that's why it's so popular: the pain I feel every time I sing it comes out in the performance, as fresh as it was that night that Kelly walked away from me. It's been 15 years and I still love her with every fiber of my being.


I didn't have another long-term relationship for about 5 years after my divorce from Kelly. I was 27 and had spent most of that time on the road. I'm based, for lack of a better term, out of Austin, but that really just means that's where I have my post office box and where what few friends I have live.

Now, that doesn't mean I didn't have female companionship. The fact is that I could have gotten laid every night, and probably twice at that. But that's really not my style. Don't get me wrong; I did take advantage, but only when I really needed it, or on those occasions when I was particularly taken by the beauty of a woman. But those occasions were rare.

My second serious relationship started - where else - in a club. She was tending bar and a few of us went out to eat after the place closed down. Eventually all of the other attendees made their excuses and headed home, leaving just Allison and me. Allison was 26, I found out, and had long, straight brown hair. She was fairly flat chested but her body was tantalizingly shaped.

We ended up sitting in the restaurant for hours, to the point of ordering breakfast and eating again. Finally she slid out of the booth and announced she needed to get home and get into bed. I thought we were saying goodbye until she looked at me rather saucily and said: "Care to join me?"

Allison was simply an amazing fuck. She had tons of energy, even after we were up all night. She preferred to be on top, with her long straight brown hair dangling in your face, but was also more than willing to lie on her back and spread them wide so I could plow into her; all I had to do was ask.

Unlike Kelly, who I fell in love with immediately, Allison was a longer fuse. We started with a wild, wanton fuck then the feelings grew from there as we spent every minute together when I was in town. I even had my own key to her place. Every time I went out of town we went over my schedule in detail and she'd be ready and waiting for me when I got back.

Our feelings for each other grew deeper, though I never seriously considered marriage. I was afraid that bridge had been burned. Maybe one day.

The sex was as amazing each time, give or take a few amazing points, as it was that first time, though it lacked the connection that I had experienced with Kelly. But I imagined everything would.

This one was done in by a bit of miscommunication. Or perhaps it was just a simple mistake. It was never entirely clear to me how it happened.

When Allison and I first started getting serious, I talked to her about the issues with my marriage, and how the demanding road schedule had contributed to its end. Allison promised that would not be an issue with her.

"I have a very busy social life, with lots of friends I can spend time with. When you're out of town I can spend my time when I'm not working renewing those relationships. There's a part of me that's actually looking forward to having some free time and not being with someone that'll be around all the time."

I was thus reassured.

We had gone over my schedule as usual before this most recent trip, and as I pulled into town I was excited to see her. It had been a long trip and the temptations were many, but I knew what I had waiting at home so I didn't dare jeopardize that. Leaving my things in the car, I headed right to Allison's apartment and used my key to unlock the door. Her car was downstairs so she was here somewhere.

She was, and regrettably she was not alone. As I rounded the corner and neared the bedroom I heard some distinctive low-level grunting from a voice I knew all too well. I stood in the doorway as a very naked Allison bounced up and down on a guy named Hugh, someone we had spent time with in the past.

Hugh noticed me first, managing to mumble, "Henry..."

That was all he said as Allison talked over him. "You know the rules; no talking about him. I told you he's not back until tomorrow."

This seemed like my cue. "Actually..." A startled Allison suddenly looked over her shoulder at me and a look of horror came across her face. "...I'm due back today. I think maybe you wrote it down wrong in your calendar."

Allison quickly removed herself from atop Hugh, and Hugh had the decency to grab his things rather quickly and run out, hesitating as he approached me until he was sure I wasn't going to slug him. I simply leaned against the door frame and watched him go past then returned my gaze to Allison.

"I'm...I'm sorry Henry. I really thought you were coming back tomorrow."

"Would that have made this okay?" She shook her head. "Was this what you meant when you said you'd renew your relationships with friends while I was gone?"

"This wasn't my intention when I said that Henry, I hope you believe me. At first I did just what I meant: I went out with friends and had a good time. What I didn't realize was how much I would miss the sex when you were gone. Before we got together I could get laid whenever I wanted. When we started seeing each other I was completely faithful, but as your time on the road kept on I was unprepared for how horny I got. I know you were aware of how you got mauled as soon as you got home early on."

I had been aware of it. Like with Kelly, the welcome home sex was amazing, and I had routinely told her so. And it never stopped being that, even as recently as the last return of mine that hadn't ended with her on top of another guy.

She continued: "As time went on, though, it got to be too much. I ran into a friend of mine who years ago had married a musician and they were still going strong. I asked her what was her secret and she said that she and her husband had an understanding: she did what she needed to do to get bye, and as long as she was discrete and he was never aware of it, they would be fine. She always makes sure that she's clean and their apartment is cleaner before he's due home."

She plucked a tissue from the bedside table and wiped her eyes before continuing: "That seemed like the perfect solution for me, baby, but I knew from your experience you wouldn't go for it. I thought if I kept close watch on your schedule I could do the same thing without you knowing. I'd be taken care of when you were gone, and when you were home I'd show you how much I loved you. They don't mean anything to me. And now I guess I wrote the damn day down wrong and...here you are. Can you ever forgive me? Can we stay together? I love you, Henry."

"I'm sorry, Allie. I can't. I sometimes wish I was the guy that could be okay with that but I'm not. And my life isn't changing anytime soon. Even if you promised not to do it again I'd have trouble believing you. And the fact is that either you'd have to go back to doing it, or you'd have to suffer without. Either way is not fair to you."

"So this is the end of us, Henry?"

"I'm afraid so, Allie. I'll get my things together and be on my way as soon as I can."

I packed up the things I had there. I had not officially moved in but had enough stuff here that it seemed that way. She just sat on the bed, covering her lower extremities with a blanket but her cute little breasts there for the viewing, while I packed up my things. I put the bags by the front door.

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