AUTHOR: Wait a minute.
* * *
Author’s Note: While I have made a concerted effort to remove myself from the narrative, I have included here a verbatim transcript of one conversation I had with Daisy Jones because I am, in fact, the only one that can corroborate this essential piece of Daisy’s story.
AUTHOR: You were wearing a white dress.
AUTHOR: And you were sitting in the hallway. You couldn’t open your own door.
AUTHOR: And my mom…
DAISY: Yeah, your mom opened the door for me.
AUTHOR: I remember this. I was with her. I had woken up and had a bad dream.
DAISY: You were about five or so, I think. So…you’ve got a good memory.
AUTHOR: I mean, I completely forgot about it but now that you’re saying it, I do remember being there with you. But my mom never mentioned anything. I wonder why she didn’t talk about this with me.
DAISY: I always got the impression that if the story were to be told, Camila would consider it mine to tell.
AUTHOR: Oh, okay. All right, well, then what happened?
DAISY: Your mom…well, Camila…or…should I keep saying everyone’s names? You said earlier that I had to always say her name.
AUTHOR: Yeah, go ahead. Call me Julia. Call my mom Camila. Just as we’ve been doing.
This marks the end of the transcript.
DAISY: Camila came into the hallway and she was holding Julia. And she said, “Do you need help?” I didn’t understand why she was being so nice.
I said yes and she took my key and she let me into my room. And she walked in with me. She put Julia down on the bed. She told me to sit down and she brought me a glass of water. I said, “You can go. I’ll be okay.”
And she said, “No, you won’t.”
I remember feeling really relieved. That she could see through me. That she wasn’t going to leave. She sat down next to me. And she didn’t mince words. She knew exactly what was happening. Exactly what she wanted to say. I was…unnerved. I felt so out of control and Camila was so in control.
She said, “Daisy, he loves you. You know that he loves you. I know that he loves you. But he’s not going to leave me.”
BILLY: I said to the guy, “You know, sometimes you need to clear your mind a bit.”
He said, “What kind of problems can a guy like you have?”
He asked me how much money I had and I just told him. I just told him my net worth right there.
He said, “You’ll pardon me if I don’t feel too bad for you.”
I nodded my head. I understood. I picked the drink back up and I put it to my lips.
DAISY: Camila said, “What I need you to know is that I’m not going to give up on him. I’m not going to let him leave me. I will see him through this. The way I’ve seen him through the rest. We are bigger than this. We are bigger than you.”
Julia got under the covers of one side of the bed and I looked at her.
Camila said to me, “I wish Billy didn’t love anyone else. But do you know what I decided a long time ago? I decided I don’t need perfect love and I don’t need a perfect husband and I don’t need perfect kids and a perfect life and all that. I want mine. I want my love, my husband, my kids, my life.
“I’m not perfect. I’ll never be perfect. I don’t expect anything to be perfect. But things don’t have to be perfect to be strong. So if you’re waiting around, hoping that something’s going to crack, I just…I have to tell you that it’s not gonna be me. And I can’t let it be Billy. Which means it’s gonna be you.”
BILLY: I took a taste of it. Not even a sip, but a taste. It took everything I had not to gulp it down, not to throw it into the back of my throat. It tasted like comfort and freedom. That’s how it gets you—what it feels like is the opposite of what it is. But my whole body went slack, from the relief of it being on the tip of my tongue.
DAISY: Camila got up and poured me another glass of water and she got me a tissue. Which is when I realized I was sobbing. She said, “Daisy, I don’t know you very well, but I know you have a great heart and you’re a good person. I know my daughter wants to grow up and be you one day. So I don’t want you to get hurt. I want good things for you. I want you to be happy. I really mean that. You probably think I don’t but I do.” She said she just wanted to make one thing really clear. “I can’t just sit here and watch you and Billy torture each other. I don’t want that for the man I love. I don’t want that for the father of my children. And I don’t want it for you.”
I said, “I don’t want it for me either.”
BILLY: The man next to me, the one with the girlfriend, he was watching me. He had a full beer in his glass and he was sipping it, like you can sip something you’re indifferent to.
I glanced at him and then…I did it.
I drank it.
Maybe half of a finger or so. And then I held on to the glass. Like someone was going to try to steal it from me.
He said, “Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it is possible for a guy like you to be messed up about something.” I told myself to put down the glass. Just put it down.
DAISY: Camila said, “Daisy, you need to leave this band.”
Julia was fast asleep by this point. Camila said, “If I’m wrong, and you’re already in the process of moving on, and you’re willing to let him move on, then don’t listen to me. You have no responsibility to me. But if I’m right, you’d be doing us all a favor if you left and got yourself clean and found a life away from him. You’d be doing it for yourself. And yes, you’d be doing him a service. But also, you’d be helping me take care of my children.”
BILLY: I couldn’t put it down. My hand held on to the glass. And I thought, I wish this man would take it out of my hands before I finish it. Just take it out of my hands and throw it across the room.
DAISY: I was quiet for a while, trying to process what Camila was saying. And then she said, “I think it’s time for you to go. But whatever you decide to do, Daisy, just know I’m rooting for you. I want you to get clean, take care of yourself. That’s what I’m rooting for.”
I finally said, “Why do you care about what happens to me?”
She said, “I think almost everybody on this planet cares about you.”
I shook my head and I said, “They like me, they don’t care about me.”
She said, “No, you got that wrong.” She was quiet for a moment. Then she said, “Do you want to know something I’ve never told Billy? ‘A Hope Like You’ is my favorite song. Not my favorite Six song but my favorite song, period. It reminds me of the first boy I ever loved. His name was Greg and I knew from the moment I met him that he was never going to love me as much as I loved him and I wanted him anyway. And just like I knew he would, he broke my heart in a million pieces. And when I first heard the lyrics to that song, you put me right back there. Right back in the middle of my first love. With all the heartbreak and the hope and the tenderness. You made it feel new and real, all over again. You did that. You wrote a beautiful song about wanting something you know you’ll never have and wanting to have it anyway. I care about you because when I see you, I see an incredible writer—who suffers from the very thing that the man I love suffers from. The two of you think you’re lost souls, but you’re what everybody is looking for.”
I let it all sink in. I really listened to her. And then I said, “That song isn’t…it’s not about Billy. If that’s what you were thinking. It’s about wanting to have a family, kids. And knowing you’d be awful at it. Feeling like you’re too much of a fuckup to deserve anything like that. But wanting it anyway. And I look at you and everything that you are and I know it’s everything I can never be.”
Camila looked at me for a moment and then she said something that changed my life. She said, “Don’t count yourself out this early, Daisy. You’re all sorts of things you don’t even know yet.” That really stuck with me. That who I was wasn’t entirely already determined. That there was still hope for me. That a woman like Camila Dunne thought I was…
Camila Dunne thought I was worth saving.
BILLY: The man looked at my hand and it seemed like he was looking at my wedding ring and he said, “Are you married?” I nodded. He laughed and said his girlfriend would be crushed. Then he said, “You got kids?” That caught my attention, caught me off guard. I nodded again. He said, “Got any pictures?” And I thought of the photos, in my wallet, of Julia and Susana and Maria.
And I put the glass down.
It wasn’t easy. I fought for every inch, as my hand moved closer to the bar it felt like it was moving through wet cement. But I did it. I put the glass down.
DAISY: Sometime in the early morning, Camila picked Julia up out of my bed, and she grabbed my hand. I grabbed her hand back. She said, “Good night, Daisy.”
And I said, “Good night.” Julia was slumped into Camila’s chest, fast asleep. And she readjusted herself a little bit and pushed her head into Camila’s neck, like it was the safest, softest place she’d ever been.