He said, “I haven’t told anybody this but…” Pete was gonna leave the band.
EDDIE: Pete was not listening to reason. Warren said I should talk to Billy, get Billy to talk some sense into him. As if Pete was going to listen to Billy if he wasn’t going to listen to me. I was his brother.
WARREN: Graham overheard us talking.
EDDIE: So Graham gets involved and he’s already getting on everybody’s nerves lately because he’s so tightly wound about God-knows-what. Anyway, he says we should talk to Billy. And I, again, mention that Pete isn’t going to listen to Billy if he wasn’t going to listen to me, you know what I’m saying? But Graham doesn’t hear me and, instead, when we pull up to this diner outside Chicago, Billy comes to find me. He says, “What’s going on? What do we need to talk about?”
I was just looking for the john, minding my own business. I said, “It’s nothing, man. Don’t worry about it.”
Billy says, “It’s my band. I deserve to know what’s going on in my own band.”
That really pissed me off. I said, “It’s everybody’s band.”
Billy said, “You know what I meant.”
And I said, “Yeah, we all know what you mean.”
KAREN: We were outside of Chicago. Staying the night in a hotel. Camila had called ahead to this clinic. She walked me in, sat next to me. I was bouncing my knee and she put her hand on my leg and stopped the bouncing. I said, “Am I making a mistake?”
And she said, “Do you think you are?”
And I said, “I don’t know.”
And she said, “I think you do know.”
And I thought about what she meant.
And then I said, “I know I’m not making a mistake.”
And she said, “There you go.”
And I said, “I think I’m pretending to be conflicted so that everybody feels better.”
She said, “I don’t need to feel better. You don’t need to pretend anything for me.” So I stopped.
When they called my name, she squeezed my hand and she didn’t let go. I didn’t ask her to come into the room with me and I didn’t think she was going to, but she just kept walking with me—she never left my side. I remember thinking, Oh, I guess she’s gonna be here for this. I got on the table. The doctor explained what was going to happen. And then he left for a moment. And there was a nurse in the corner. And I looked at Camila and she looked like she was going to cry. And I said, “Are you sad?”
And she said, “A part of me wishes you wanted kids, because my kids make me so happy. But…I think in order to be happy like I’m happy, you need different things. And I want you to have whatever those things are.” And I started crying, then. Because somebody understood.
Afterward, she brought me back to the hotel and she told everyone I wasn’t feeling well and I laid in bed by myself. And…it was a bad day. It was an awful day. Knowing you did the right thing doesn’t mean you’re happy about it. But when I called in room service, and I laid there in my hotel room, I knew that I was childless and that Camila was out with her children. And that…that seemed right. That little bit of order amidst the chaos.
CAMILA: It’s not my place to say what happened that day. All I will say is that you show up for your friends on their hardest days. And you hold their hand through the roughest parts. Life is about who is holding your hand and, I think, whose hand you commit to holding.
GRAHAM: I didn’t know what had happened.
KAREN: As we were all leaving the hotel, heading out to Chicago, I saw Graham get in the elevator alone, and I thought about taking the stairs. But I didn’t. I got in the elevator with him. Just the two of us. And as the elevator started going down, he said, “Are you okay? Camila said you weren’t feeling well.”
And I said, “I’m not pregnant anymore.”
He turned to me with this look on his face like, I never thought you’d do this to me. The elevator doors opened and we both just stood there. Not saying a word. They closed. And we took the elevator all the way to the top. And then all the way back down. Right before we got to the lobby again, Graham hit the button for the second floor. And he got off.
GRAHAM: I walked up and down the hallway of that hotel, over and over and over and over. At the end of the hallway there was a window, and I put my head on it. My forehead. And I looked down at all of the people below me. I was only a few floors up from them. I watched them walking from place to place, and I felt jealous of every single one of them. That they weren’t me right then. I wanted to switch places with every man down there.
When I pulled my forehead off the glass, there was a huge greasy smudge where I’d touched it. I tried to wipe it away but it just made the window cloudy. I remember looking through this cloudy window, trying to rub it to make it better and nothing would help. I just kept rubbing and rubbing and rubbing. Until Rod found me somehow.
He said, “Graham, what are you doing? We gotta be in Chicago this afternoon. Bus is gonna leave without you, man.”
And somehow, I put one foot in front of the other and walked with him down to the bus.
ROD: It started like any other show, really. We had it down to a fine art. The lights went up, the band went out there. Graham played the opening of “This Could Get Ugly” and the crowd started screaming.
BILLY: Camila was on the side of the stage. She let Julia stay up late. The twins were back at the hotel with the babysitter. I remember looking out onto the side, behind the curtains, and seeing Camila there, holding Julia on her hip. Camila’s hair was down to her waist, practically, by that point. And it was normally brown but the summer had made it lighten up a bit, it looked more gold. The two of them—Camila and Julia—had earplugs in their ears. These bright orange things poking out of either side of their heads. I smiled at them and Camila smiled back at me. Such a gorgeous smile. Her incisors were flat. Isn’t that funny? Everyone’s incisors are pointed. But hers were kind of flat. And it made her smile perfect. It was a straight line. Her smile always put me at ease.
And that night, in Chicago, when she smiled at me from the side of the stage…for that brief moment, I thought, Everything is going to be okay.
DAISY: It killed me. To look at him look at her. I can’t think of any two things that make you quite as self-absorbed as addiction and heartbreak. I had a selfish heart. I didn’t care about anyone or anything but my own pain. My own need. My own aching. I’d have made anyone hurt if it could have taken some of mine away. It’s just how sick I was.
BILLY: We played everything. The way we normally did. We did “Young Stars” and “Chasing the Night” and “Turn It Off.” But it didn’t feel right. It felt…it felt like the wheels were coming off.
WARREN: Karen and Graham seemed like maybe they were mad at each other. Pete seemed checked out. Eddie had been complaining about Billy—but what else was new?
DAISY: Someone in the front had a sign that said, “Honeycomb.”
BILLY: People requested “Honeycomb” a lot on that tour. And I usually ignored it. I just didn’t want to sing it. But I knew that Daisy liked that song, I knew she had been proud of that song. And…I don’t know what came over me but I said into the mike, “Do you guys want to hear ‘Honeycomb’?”
GRAHAM: I was sleepwalking through that show. I was there but I wasn’t there.
KAREN: I just wanted to get through it and go back to my hotel. I just wanted some quiet. I didn’t want…I didn’t want to be up on that stage watching Graham watch me, feeling his judgment.
WARREN: When Billy said “Honeycomb,” the whole place sounded like thunder.
EDDIE: We’re all just here to perform the way Billy wants us to, right? We don’t need to be told we might play a song we haven’t played in a year.
DAISY: What do you say to a roaring crowd? Do you say no? Of course not.
BILLY: Daisy said, “All right, let’s do it.” I got up to her mike and the moment I did it, I regretted it. I could tell she didn’t want me that close. But I couldn’t leave. I had to make it look like everything was okay.
DAISY: He smelled like pine and musk. His hair was about half an inch too long, you could see it hanging behind his ears. His eyes were clear, and green as ever.
People say it’s hard to be away from the people you love but it was so hard to be right next to him.
BILLY: It’s sometimes difficult to say what I knew and when I knew it. It’s…it’s all a mess in my memory. It’s hard to parse out, I guess. What happened when or why I did what I did. Hindsight bias. But I do remember distinctly that Daisy was wearing a white dress. She had her hair pulled back in a ponytail. She had big hoop earrings on. Her bracelets. And I looked at her, just before we started singing, and I think—I really do think this—I think I thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen in my life. In that way that you appreciate things more acutely…I mean…you appreciate people more acutely when they are fleeting, right? And I think I knew she was fleeting. I think I knew she was leaving. I don’t know how I knew. But I feel like I knew. I probably didn’t know. It just feels like it.