And before you know you're feeling old
And your heart is breaking
And your heart is breaking
Rosie knew that she was going to have do something to get this future she planned on started. She wasn’t expected to win the lottery. She wasn’t expecting a talent agent to stop her on the street and say, “Baby, I’m gonna make you a star.” Madonna wasn’t going to pop into The March on Saturday and exclaim, “At last! A worthy successor!”
Rosie knew if she was going to end up famous and fabulous, it was going to have to be of her own volition, and was entirely her own responsibility.
But she didn’t know what to do. So she carried on doing what she did, but always with her eyes cast to the future.
The night she figured it all out, she was DJ-ing at The March. She wore a tight olive tank top over a pair of fatigues she’d bought at the Army Navy store. She wore a bandolier strapped across her chest, but instead of extra ammo, she’d pinned wrapped condoms to it. Whenever a couple kissed or groped in front of her booth, she tossed one out. The crowd loved it. It was salacious and socially responsible at once.
She played Salt and Pepa. The crowd moved and Rosie lit a cigarette, blew smoke rings at the crowd.
A girl danced her way up to the DJ booth to request a song. When she fed the tip jar that Rosie pointedly looked at, the girl drunkenly said to her, “You’re so cool. You should totally be on MTV.”
“MTV,” thought Rosie. “I should be on MTV.”
MTV was a different beast back on those days. In those days, it wasn’t non-stop reality TV. Instead, they featured VJ’s, super cool girls and boys who did on camera stints in between videos. Rosie was perfect for that. How had it never occurred to her before?
When she went home that night, she turned it on. She watched it all the next day. She paid special attention to the women on it. The more she watched, the more she saw herself there. She started to put a plan into place.
L.A. was out. New York, where MTV was headquartered, was in.
Rosie had plans to meet Tré for the grand opening of the second re-branded L.G.E joint, which was a place called Redhead’s. Tré had repackaged it as a piano bar and was excited to show it off. So, Rosie began costuming herself for the evening, thinking all the while of a future on MTV.
She put on a little black dress matched with patent leather stiletto pumps and stockings that were seamed up the back. She donned a black lace fascinator over severely coiffed hair. And red, red lipstick.
She got to Redhead’s a little early where she was greeted by her mother. They swapped an air kiss. She tossed a light hug to her father and then sidled over to Tré and winked at him.
“Come here often, sailor,” she said.
“Damn, girl,” said Tré. “You look fine.”
“I feel fine,” she said. “But what’s a girl got to do to get a drink around here?”
Tré escorted her to the bar and ordered her a dirty martini. Despite tipping generously for the drink, Rosie noticed that the bartender shot the stinkeye at Tré. Tré didn’t notice. When they walked away, the bartenders began complaining to each other, “Bultsrode’s boy…” their complaints began.
Rosie ignored them. They were just jealous.
Throughout the evening, Rosie was on her best behavior. She asked questions about the bar and was effusive in her praise. She was polite to her father, receptive during introductions. She chatted pleasantly with her mother, hooked her arm through Tré’s, tipped the piano player and acted, all in all, like a model corporate partner; despite the fascinator and the red, red lipstick.
At 11:00 she whispered in Tré’s ear, “Can we get the fuck out of here now? Let’s hit Lobo. I want to dance with my handsome man.”
Tré kissed her on the cheek and said, “Lead the way, baby.”
When they got to Lobo (cruising in past the line, natch), Hector escorted them to their favorite table. Rosie sat down, shook her hair out of its severe bun, slipped her shoes off and put her feet up on the chair across the table. She ordered tequila shots. One of their club buddies came over and insisted that Tré dance with her.
“You go on, sweetie,” said Rosie. “I’m going to give my feet a few more minutes and I want to talk to Hector anyway.”
“Hector,” she began when it was the two of them alone at the table. “I have decided it’s finally time to get the fuck out of Chicago. I’m going to New York.”
“It’s not like you’re living in some one horse town, you know” said Hector, whose opinion of Chicago jibed more closely with Tré’s than Rosie’s. “I can get you a job here, DJ-ing. You’d make some real money doing it and more of a name for yourself than you have at that little beer and shot joint you’re working at now.”
“No, Chicago’s not for me,” said Rosie. “I’ve set my sights higher. I’m getting a gig at MTV and you’re going to help me.”
“Oh, I am,” said Hector, smiling. “How exactly am I going to do that?”
“There’s a Lobo in New York, correct?” said Rosie. “Same owner and everything?”
“Yes,” said Hector. “That is the case.”
“So the next time that owner is here,” she said. “You’re going to let me guest DJ and tell him that you tried to give me a job here, but I wanted to go to New York. He’ll give me a job in New York.”
“It seems simpler,” said Hector. “For you to just take a job here and then put in for a transfer.”
“My way is splashier,” said Rosie. “And I’m ready to go now.”
“Well, all right,” said Hector. “I’ll let you know when he’ll be here next. Anything for you, Rosie.”
She leaned over and kissed Hector right on the mouth. And the she headed out to the dance floor, tapped Tré on the shoulder and then jumped into his arms, wrapped her legs around his waist, and kissed him passionately. If she had an in with the scene maker behind Lobo, Tré was bound to come with her. They danced the night away.
Tré and Rosie left the club at a little after 4:00 and decided to get some breakfast. When the waitress approached, Tré ordered pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and coffee. Rosie asked for coffee and an ashtray.
“Eat something, Rosie,” said Tré. “You have to be starving!”
“Sure,” she said, smiling at the waitress. “I’ll have an English muffin, plain, no butter.”
“Rosie,” said Tré. “You have got to start eating more.”
“I’ve got some exciting news,” said Rosie, lighting a cigarette. “Very exciting.”
“What’s up,” said Tré, reaching over to bum a cigarette from her.
“The next time the Lobo owner is there, I’m going to do a guest set as DJ,” she said. “Hector thinks I’m right and that if he likes me enough, he’ll get me a job in the New York club.”
“I thought you wanted to move to L.A.,” said Tré. “You want to go to New York now?
“I want us to go to New York,” she said. “You’ve done what you set out to do. The rest of the rebrand will be easy now. Dad can manage it on his own. And you can get a job with Lobo.”
“Oh, I can, can I?” said Tré. “I’ll just follow my girlfriend out to New York and get a job from her new boss.”
“Why not,” said Rosie. “You have experience.”
“Rosie, listen to me,” said Tré. “I have a job. I like my job. I like where I live. I don’t want to go to New York.”
The waitress came by with coffee and Rosie’s English muffin. They were silent until she left.
“I don’t want to stay here,” said Rosie. “I can’t do what I want to do here.”
“You could DJ at Lobo,” said Tré. “Why not there?”
“I’m not going to get on MTV if I stay in Chicago,” said Rosie.
“MTV?” asked Tré.
“Yes,” said Rosie. “I want to be on MTV.”
“Shit,” said Tré. “You’d be great on MTV.”
“I know,” said Rosie. “I would be. Come with me to New York.”
“I’m not following you to New York, Rosie,” said Tré. “I’m going to stay here and finish what I started.”
“What about what you started with me?” asked Rosie.
“I’m 25 years old, Rosie,” said Tré. “You’re only 23. We’re not going to spend the rest of our lives together. Go to New York without me. You’ll be amazing.”
And then Rosie shocked Tré by bursting into tears. She was only 23. She was in love. She was tired and hungry. She was scared to be on her own in New York. She wanted Tré to come with her and he just wouldn’t. It was too much. It wasn’t fair. She cried like her heart was breaking. Her heart was breaking. And she was so hungry.
Tré had never seen her cry before. He felt terrible and like crying himself. He crossed the table and sat down next to her, wrapped his arms around her. “Just stay with me, then” he said. “Stay here.”
“I don’t want to stay,” she said.
“I know,” said Tré. “I know. I don’t want to go.”
“I know,” said Rosie. “I know.”
The waitress came over with Tré’s breakfast. She was unfazed by the emotional scene unfolding at her table. They happened all the time. She’d seen countless relationships crumbling in the dim dawn air.