Follow me, everything is all right.
I’ll be the one to tuck you in at night.
And if you want to leave, I can guarantee
You won’t find nobody else like me.
We must have listened to it a thousand times, Uncle Kracker’s smoothly crackling voice gently lilting from her Macintosh laptop in our room in the MGM Grand. Kim said it was her favorite song. I was eight years old, looking out over the casinos and the hookers and the glaring sun that make Las Vegas everything it is. It was completely lost on me.
Kim was Dad’s friend. She was nice enough. She let me eat Caesar salad from McDonald’s for breakfast while Dad had soundcheck. She slept in Dad’s room, which was attached to the room I was sharing with my brother Sean by a door that could only be opened from their side. It was completely lost on me.
I knew Kim for a long time. Dad introduced us to her when he still lived in his old apartment. She was from Pennsylvania, where fireworks are legal, and she used to bring them for us to set off in the parking lot. She also had two nephews who came to visit. One of them was gay. His name was Brendan, and I liked him the best because I was gay, too. Dad said he wouldn’t want to be in the same room as Brendan alone. It was completely lost on me.
When Mom and Dad got divorced, it was because Dad was on the phone with someone who Mom kept calling “that woman” while we were trying to get a movie from Blockbuster. He was calling her from the Bat Phone (which Dad said he only used for work). Mom hit him when we got in the car, and she said “fuck” a lot while they were fighting in the garage. I listened from the other side of the garage door. It was completely lost on me.
I told Mom that I thought Dad had a girlfriend one day before Dad took us to Las Vegas, and that she was visiting us in the apartment. Mom asked what she looked like, and I told her that Kim was kind of pretty with blonde hair. Mom told me to hang up the phone and that she was coming to get me and Sean from the apartment. I cried and asked why we couldn’t stay. Mom said, “He slept with that woman while we were married.” I said, “Maybe he couldn’t get back into his own hotel room!” It was completely lost on me.
Dancing around our hotel room in the MGM Grand with Kim, listening to Uncle Kracker on repeat twenty times, I laughed a lot. So did Sean, all smiles and elbows and jetlag. Dad was coming back from soundcheck soon, and then we were going to the lazy river and the arcade downstairs. Kim took a shower, and Sean and I jumped on our beds singing the song.
I’m not worried ‘bout the ring you wear,
‘cause as long as no one knows then nobody can care.
You’re feeling guilty, and I’m well aware,
But you don’t look ashamed, and, baby, I’m not scared.
It was completely lost on us.
Colin Anderson is a recent graduate of Oberlin College, where he obtained degrees in both English and Theatre. He is a Cleveland native. This is his first time being published.