nsync in black and white

Fiction by Pen . . . . . not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment

I Remember Sky

written for the first sky_pie challenge

I remember sky
It was blue as ink
Or at least I think
I remember sky

It was bright and sunny in Florida, at the house where the guys lived for that intense time right back at the beginning. There was always work to do, there were songs to learn, and routines, but there was a pool and there was a hoop and cold sodas and a lot of laughter. It was more work than ever before, honing their act, sharpening it like an arrow to aim into the wide blue yonder, but it isn't the sweaty warehouse he remembers, or the way his brain and body sometimes felt crammed, pressured by the fire-hosing of music and dancing. It's the bright moments of silliness, of Chris hopping about like a lunatic, and Joey's grin, and the unfurling friendliness of Lance and the sweet familiar affection that was JC. It was usually dark by the time he had to go home again with Mom.

Before that, most of his best times had been indoors. In the singing teacher's room, with sunlight falling in through the wall of glass, or the mirror-lined dance studio. In halls and stale dressing-rooms and catwalks and stages. Audiences everywhere, loving him and telling him so with loud hands. Television studios, cameras, so many of those, he was never afraid of those until the nasty taste of failure after he'd sung his heart out, and the bereft emptiness when the Mouse had shut him down. Had shut down.

So playing in the sunshine with his new big brothers in the intervals between notes, that wasn't hardly work at all.

It wasn't so bright in Europe, seemed to rain a lot, and it was colder than he'd ever imagined. Snow, even, and he learned to love that, imprinting himself as an angel under the chilly cloudless sky, or fighting to stuff frigid handfuls down someone's neck before Chris got to him and made him shriek. And there was comfort enough in the warm hug of a bandmate as they hunched together in the van, or the tiny hotel rooms with damp walls. And such a lot of heat in the shrill, heady acclaim of eager girls, warming the air with his name.

Days, weeks, on the bus, passing from city to city, from tacky hall to theater to arena. Annihilating the enemy against the bright black of a Playstation sky. Hours of mindlessness and frenzied minutes of insanity. More, more and more practice. Recording studios. Courtrooms, too. Out from the courtroom into a dazzling day, then plunging back into the safety of studios and stages. Parties, too. Clubs, where he would dance for free, liberal with his gifts.

There must have been times in the sun. He can still remember the best tee shot he ever made, flying like a white bullet against the blue Florida sky. The chip shot that took him from near disaster to a birdie. The miraculous twenty-three-foot putt. He can't remember who he was playing or where he was: circumstances don't matter much when you achieve perfection.

He has his own bus now. Doesn't bother to watch the road slide steadily by, it's the same road everywhere and what matters isn't the journey, it's the end of the journey, somewhere solid to rest, luxurious cotton sheets and room service and the drapes closed against photographers, and a stadium full of adoration. It's all his, now. He doesn't need clean, silent air when he can have an atmosphere of want and sweat and worship under the irrelevant stars.

He doesn't need the sunshine when the spotlight shines so bright.

And the bluest ink
Isn't really sky
And at times I think
I would gladly die
For a day of sky

Lyrics from 'I Remember Sky' by Stephen Sondheim


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