look to the limelight

by templemarker

Notes: Cookie #1 for marcolette. Astonishingly gen.


Kris isn’t sure when he stopped living like time mattered, but it happened at some point around the top four and hasn’t quit since.

In Arkansas, he had work and he had dinner with his family and he had to pick Katy up from the store. He wrote important dates on a post-it note and stuck it in his wallet so he could make sure he wasn’t picking the wrong day to play soccer with the guys or help his grandaddy to the post office. He and Katy had a little dry-erase calendar on the fridge where they marked doctor’s appointments, family reunions, vacation days. Time was something important.

Now, well. Time matters less and less when there’s a dozen different people watching it for you, making sure you’re where you gotta be, ready for appointments and interviews and rehearsal and what-all. Kris carries a wallet still, but it doesn’t have post-its in it anymore.

Everything moves so damn fast sometimes that he doesn’t even feel one day into the next. He likes days on the bus, days when its him and the boys watching a movie or playing video games or just hanging out in the lounge, ignoring each other. Stuck on that moving tube time still doesn’t matter much, but it does move a little slower, and Kris can breathe a little more easy.

There’s all kinds of crazy stuff on their riders, special water and vegan hummus and fresh lychees, but there’s only one thing Kris ever wants, one thing he insists on. He’s bribed PAs to make it happen. He wants five minutes by himself, no interruptions, before he’s out on that stage. One by one the other idols trickle out of the green room and into the stage, waiting in the wings or in the ready room between other people’s songs, and Adam’s the last to go, shooing people out of whatever space they’re calling green at this venue, giving Kris that smile that’s come to mean something else entirely. He hears in his earpiece, “Lambert up, five, four, three, two–” and then a click; his line will be silent until he’s two minutes away from stage call. This time he just had to ask Jaime the PA nicely, with an almost-genuine smile, and she made it happen for him. He has seven minutes.

He sits down, bends over a little, thinks about praying. Sometimes he’s felt like he’s one live wire of thanks to God ever since he got on American Idol to begin with; he doesn’t work through scripture the way he did before, but he doesn’t feel like he has to now. God has given him this measure of grace; Kris thanks him every time he opens his mouth to sing and does what he never thought he’d get to do for his job.

Instead he runs through all the things he did today, the people he met, the people he thanked, the people he forgot to say thank you to. He hasn’t called Katy yet; it’s not quite fair to call her so late, but she’s getting used to it. They both are. It’s not easy being apart, but it’s kind of like college. Harder, and older, but kind of similar.

Today he played a lot of sudoku on his phone, and he made Adam laugh at a joke he remembered from third grade, and he taught Allison another chord on the guitar. He talked to his mother, and had a ham sandwich, and drank too much coffee, which wasn’t his fault because the PAs kept getting him espresso when they got it for the other guys, and he didn’t have the heart to tell him that he had to pour half of it away because too much coffee made him twitchy. Today was another day he got to do all the things he never thought he’d get to do, with a group of people who understand what it’s like. With a friend who has become as close as a brother.

Kris rubs his hands together and curls his toes in his shoes; they’re vegan, or that’s what his dresser told him. He has a dresser, for this tour. Her name is Marie. On the show they just got passed around to whomever wasn’t busy with stick pins and the sewing machine. On tour, he has someone who picks out plaid shirts and tighter jeans than he’s ever worn for him.

He closes his eyes for a second, and says a ‘thank you’ up to God, because sometimes it just needs to be said. His earpiece clicks once, and then the familiar buzz just before someone starts talking happens. Lisa, who’s running the board for this leg of the tour, says, “Kris, you’re up in two and a half. Getcher ass up here, whiteboy.”

Kris clicks his mic pack in response and ducks out of the tent, where Ayshlaei, the really bubbly PA, is waiting for him with some fancy water and a bright smile. “You ready?” she asks.

“I am now,” he says, and they jog towards the lowered platform.


One Response to “look to the limelight”

  1. ryo Says:

    This was gorgeous. That is actually one of my favorite pictures from the RS shoot, there’s something so quiet and intense about it, and reading this was really wonderful.

Leave a Reply