“Callie, so much has happened in your life even without even including the meteoric rise to fame at sixteen years old. I couldn’t help but wonder, is there anything you wish could’ve been different?”
It’s always the same with these guys. They think they're Dan Rather in the making except they're stuck on the teen beat and ask stupid questions. If they insist on treating me like an idiot, I can only do as my publicist and agent suggest and play dumb. I flip my long, blonde hair and narrow my gaze on the perspiring loser in sweatpants sitting across from me. “Not really, Dave. I never look back. My motto is what’s done is done.”
He laughs in that faux Hollywood way that means he thinks I'm barely functional. He jots notes down with one hand while the other keeps straying into my personal space and grazing my thigh. Note to creepy guys everywhere: thigh high boots and short skirts don’t mean I’m a personal plaything for groping. I shift in my chair to create a bit more distance between our almost touching knees – creepy dude sweat is so gross – and laugh right back at him. I say, “I’m much more interested in living in the moment and enjoying what’s happening right now.”
“And who could blame you, considering you’re currently celebrating three consecutive number one songs, an album gone platinum and a sold out tour.”
There is something depressing about hearing your hard work and accomplishments shortened down to one sentence. I try not to let it bother me though. I need to be on my A-Game with the press at all times. I nod and smile at Dave like my publicist instructed me to do. We rehearsed this interview (along with several others) for hours and I’m afraid her head might explode if I veer off script. No one wants a rogue pop star on their hands.
“But…” his voice raises an octave like he’s about to catch me in an A-HA question. Like any of this can phase me anymore. Like I’m not beyond it and more concerned with what to wear to the AMAs – the Vera Wang or Stella McCartney. I stifle a yawn and bat my eyes expectantly and he says, “…but I can’t help but wonder if there is some part of you that not only thinks about the past, but has trouble letting go. How can someone come from such a trying childhood and not occasionally revisit her history?”
I nod again like I’m considering the statement. I’m so bored with this crap. Yeah, I had a crappy childhood. Who didn't? “I’m sorry to disappoint you, Dave, but I choose not to dwell on my past.”
I smile brightly and touch his arm. I notice his pen slip for a nanosecond mid-scribble and I know I've got him. He won’t know what hit him and I'll be able to get the hell out of here. None of my fans want to hear about a girl who grew up with a nomadic aunt for a guardian while her parents went off to find themselves. I don’t particularly care to look back on my pitiful origins either. It’s over and done with. So what if I have issues with being alone – it’s not really a problem for me anyway as I can't recall the last time I was by myself for more than two minutes – or can’t let myself trust people? I am fine. More than fine. I’m a fucking star, who graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine at sixteen years old. I have enough money to feed a small country and to insure my aunt can continue her flighty existence with hobby after expensive hobby. And surprise, surprise, my parents finally found themselves six months ago…at the gate of my Bel Air home.
“Not even a little bit?”
I giggle like I’m about to offer up some secret inner-working of my soul and respond, “The thing is, life is hard all over, ya know, and the only reason I’m different from any other sixteen year old girl with a sad story is because I write fun songs that people can dance to. I feel like if I focus on the past, it lessens the gratitude I have for God and my fans.”
He raises an eyebrow, but he wouldn't dare call me out on my load of crap. He says, “Some say if you forget the past, you’re doomed to repeat it.”
He’s getting on my nerves with his profundity of nothing and sweaty brow. The truth is that there is no way I am going back to living in a shitty apartment with no heat or air with my crazy aunt. I’m done with that and I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure it never happens again. Door is slammed shut on my humble beginnings. My jaw tightens and I know I’m making the fish face that my manager hollers at me about. I force myself to smile through it, but I end up coming off even worse, like an alien freakshow about to suck out poor Dave-the-blogger’s brain.
As if he can sense weakness bubbling under my sunny exterior, Dave presses, “Your parents are back in your life after abandoning you when you were three. How does that feel?”
“It’s complicated,” I state.
“Do you worry they’re back in your life simply because you’re the Callie McCallister and worth millions?”
“I try to keep my personal life separate from the professional, but I will say this. We’re all learning as we go. Will it work out? I don’t know. Yes, it’s hard sometimes,” I pause, resisting the urge to shoot daggers at mister wannabe hotshot reporter. I take a deep breath and breathe – in spring blue sky, out tar black – and continue, “If people really want to know more about who I really am, I think my emotions truly come through in my new single, Inner Me. I wrote it late one night on a tour bus while we drove across Kansas. You see, Dave, music is the way I allow myself to deal with life’s trials and tribulations. It’s what allows me to sit here and tell you that I never look back and feel good about it.”
I don’t give him a chance to respond. I stand up, shake his hand, and hurry off toward my assistant. I’m so over this.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Floreksa challenged me with "I never looked back" and I challenged Bran mac Feabhail with "If I had known yesterday that he would be gone, I would've done things differently."