The Middle Part Is Where It Fell Apart (Chapter's 2 & 3 & 4...)

...maybe Chapters 5, 6 & 7. I've really no idea. Time for more soul bearing, vulnerability, and bad writing. Here goes...


There are moments in a woman's life where she feels invisible; moments where she looks in the mirror and cannot truly see herself at all. Maybe this invisibility isn't merely relegated to women. Perhaps you fine gentlemen out there struggle with this, too. ( I suppose men want to be seen as strong and respected and, I suppose, badass. Women, really, want to be seen as lovely and want to be cherished and desired.) One forgets that there is any loveliness in oneself at all. Especially when one is proverbially drowning. When drowning the last thing on one's mind is, "Yes, but, am I desirable? Would anyone love me? Would anyone ever want me again?"

Ergo, when the words,

"I really want to make out with Meghan Coffee," tumbled out from Zack Arias' lips I about fell off of the porch swing.

I think I laughed. I think I said,


Honestly this part is a bit jumbled up for me.

I remember he was talking to me about a movie he loved called, "Human Traffic". He was trying to explain to me why he loved it so much. Something about a guy who's looking for love and it was right there in front of him the whole time. I wasn't much hearing what he was saying at this point. At this point my mind was racing a million miles a second.

My thoughts went something like this:

Look at this amazing man, such a good friend. He's handsome (look at those lips....stop looking at his lips, Meghan. Stop looking at his lips, Meghan!!!) and smart and talented and funny and strong. I've watched him go through hell in his marriage. We've both been crawling through the trenches, fighting side by side in our marriages, trying to help each other out. He's encouraged me, I've encouraged him. I respect him so much. He's been here all along....

Sounds familiar, no?

He brought me out of me reverie by saying,

"There's this song that you have to hear, I have it in my car. C'mon, let's go listen to it."

His car was a godawful ugly ol' minivan that was the colour of gold and bronze. It was glonze. It was brold. It was ugly. There weren't any back seats that I remember. He hit play on the CD player and "Belfast" by Orbital started to play. A woman's voice, plaintive, filled with longing (or was that me?) poured out of the speakers.


He rested his head against the drivers seat headrest and closed his eyes and for a couple of minutes we just sat and listened to the music.

And then, before I had time to think, I kissed him.

And he kissed me back.

And it was the best kiss of my entire life.

Everything fell away. I was drowning again but a different kind of drowning. This was drowning into breathing. Drowning into living. I dunno, drowning into sweetness. Drowning into what hallelujah feels like.

We ended up back on my porch sitting across from each other and looking at one another shyly and not without a little wonder and a little fear.

It was now near dawn and so we said goodbye with bleary-eyed smiles and a hug. I watched him drive away as I stood looking out of my living room window. I tried to think about what had just happened but every time I tried to my brain would wave a white flag.

"Not right now, please and thank you. I am very very worn out."


Later on that day what had happened the night before began to sink in.

Oh shit.

What did I do?

I made out with Zack Arias.

It was awesome.

No, Meghan. No, it was not awesome.

Well, yes -- yes it was.

The making out part was awesome. The fact that I shoudn't have, that part is not awesome.

(It would be 6 months later that I would write the line for the song December 1st which says, "I regret the moment, but you I don't regret. I regret the falling, but you I don't regret...")

Zack called me to discuss what went down.

"Meghan, I don't know what happened last night. I'm overwhelmed. All I know is you're fire and I'm gasoline and if the two of us are put together shit is bound to blow up."

He would later say that he was feeling a nice cocktail of excitement and guilt with a garnishment of shame.

Which was exactly what I was feeling.

"I'm so so sorry."

"Yeah, me too."

"You're a really good kisser, though."

"Yeah, so are you."

We decided it was just a random thing; two broken people. It was something that shouldn't have happened. We left it at that.


Neither one of us could stop thinking about the other.

For me, it was as if a light had been turned on in my heart and everything was clear and made sense. It was my mind, though, that was having a hard time.

I packed up all of my stuff and moved Phoenix and I across town to a darling apartment right near Decatur Square. My little sister, Caitlin, and one of my best friends, Jessica Tilley (now Hodgman) came along for the ride as roommates. I wanted to be close to my family and wanted Phoenix to go to Clairemont for school. I renewed my contract with the private music instruction company that I worked for and tried to get Zack out of my mind. But I was having a hard time. One night I sat down at the piano and a song came out that I knew was for him. I quickly recorded the piano and recorded the vocals sitting in my bathtub and sent it to him in an email. That song was "Song Without A Name". (Aren't I clever with song titles? No. No, I am not.)

Zack's car broke down. He lived in Decatur. His studio was on the other side of town. Where I had just moved from. Would I be able to give him a ride every now and again?

It was futile.

We were hanging out. We tried to convince ourselves that we were being very professional but in truth we just wanted to see the other. Our hearts were being drawn together. Every time we'd say, "this is the last time we can hang out. We really need to be careful."

He told me how he felt as though he was sailing a beat up old rusty ship, lost at sea. I told him how I felt that I had been drowning, trying to stay above water.

"Well then'" he said, "I'm throwing you a rope and bringing you on board."

I went to my family and my best friends again. Told them, "I think I'm falling in love with Zack Arias."

My dad said, "Well, your timing is horrible -- but I really like him."


September of 2006 marked the beginning of a month long tour with Jay Clifford. Just me and my piano traveling up the eastern seaboard and some southern states as his opening act.

While I was on the road Zack was planning on throwing me a birthday party as I was turning twenty-eight. In fact I turned twenty-eight while I was in Winston-Salem. I was going to be back in town to play a show at Eddie's Attic in Decatur a couple of days after my birthday and then head back up the coast with Jay again.

Zack called me while I was in Winston-Salem to tell me that he wasn't going to throw me a party anymore and that he wasn't going to come to my show. He told me how he had had dinner with a friend who also knew K___ and had told his friend everything that had been happening. His friend was upset, and said that if Zack went to my show that he was going to tell K___ what was going on.

"I've been wanting to tell K___ about this anyway," Zack said, "but I don't want it going down like this."

The next night I was at Eddie's Attic and hoping against hope that Zack would show up but I didn't see him and so, the last song I played was a song called, "Not Easy To Love", that I knew that Zack loved. During the bridge I began singing,

"I'm sorry, my love. I'm so so sorry."

When I walked out to my car I found his UsedFilm card on my windshield and when I got home I found flowers on my front porch along with a card and a framed picture of a train. It was a shot that he had taken while describing it to me on the phone and faintly, barely perceptible, he had photoshopped along the train cars the words, "Easy To Love".

Here is a bit of the email he sent me that night:

"Dear Meghan,

As you are aware, I could not join you at your party. But that doesn't mean I didn't show up. :) "I might not make it to the party," I thought, "but I'm still going to get there."

Fantastic movie moment of the night.....

I was hauling ass around town getting a few things ready to drop by your place. My plan was to swing through the parking lot next to Eddie's, call you on the phone, have you come to the deck and I was going to serenade you with your own music from the parking lot. It was going to be my "Say Anything" moment with John Cusack holding the boom box while playing Peter Gabriel.

That didn't happen. I suppose your set started later than I was expecting or it went longer. I pull through the parking lot, park illegally, and I mute my stereo. Mind you, I was playing track 12 (Not Easy To Love) all day as I had the opportunity to do so. I hit mute and I was stopped dead in my tracks by hearing you already singing Not Easy To Love to me through the speakers from the back deck of Eddies. I pulled up within 10 seconds of being synched to what I had playing in the car.

I sat and I listened to you. My love, you have nothing to be sorry for.

Oh how I was warmed by making it for the last song and it was wonderful to hear the applause. I was clapping too and looking like a fool to those sitting on the deck. :)

I left my signature on your car as best I could since I could not find a pen.

AS for the items at your house. I had arranged everything on the front porch and as I was leaving it seemed as though the front door was slightly cracked. I checked it and it was open. I had called Jessica to leave the front porch door open and I wonder if she thought I meant the door to the house.

I stepped inside and missed you so much. I'm so head over heels for you. As much as I'm pulling the emergency brakes and cutting the fuel lines at the moment, know that I'm no where even remotely "done with you." That's why you got the card that you got.

Another year being beautiful. Another year being bold. Another year being brave.

Jacob had to work for years for his. Another year ain't so bad.

I'm sorry I couldn't be at your party. I'm walking a fine line at the moment but I so needed you to understand that while I wasn't there, I was there. And you can't even imagine how breathtaking it was for me to pull through that parking lot to hear the one song I so wanted to hear tonight. And Meghan, I heard you. I mean, I HEARD you. I heard your heart.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. You are so easy to L word."

It wasn't long after I received that email that Zack went to K___ and told him that he had kissed me. Told him that he was falling for me. And he apologized. It was hard on him. He had tried to, back in the day, be a friend to K___. Remember?

"I'm David. You're Bathsheba. He's Urriah."

He and I both were wanting to talk to our pastor about the whole thing but, since I was on the road still, Zack went first. We both were trying so hard to be good. We were trying to keep things open. We didn't spend time alone together. We didn't touch each other. We truly wanted to be people of integrity. People of integrity who were falling in love with each other while still technically married to other people.


I know.

During this time I was a constant whirlwind of guilt and happiness. It was the strangest thing. I both loved hearing Zack's voice and felt guilty at the same time. We would say we weren't going to spend any more time together but then cave in a couple of days later and one of us would call the other on the phone.

I would listen to Cat Power's song "Good Woman" over and over and over.

"I want to be a good woman And I want, for you to be a good man. This is why I will be leaving And this is why, I can see you no more. I will miss your heart so tender And I will love This love forever

I don’t want to be a bad woman And I can’t stand to see you be a bad man I will miss your heart so tender And I will love This love forever And this is why I am leaving And this is why I can see you no more This is why I am lying when I say That I don’t love you no more

Cause I want to be a good woman And I want for you to be a good man."

I sent this email to the pastor:

"Hello [Pastor].

I'm on the road until next week. I get back into town late sometime Monday night.

Currently I'm in Charlotte, NC. I've been on the phone what seems to be non-stop since I left town and I have a few questions for you as, I'm sure, you do for me. I am an open book. Ask me whatever you want. I've been in a blender for a few months and have grown accustomed to the feeling of being pureed, as it were. I figure I'm not dead yet, none of this has killed me physically (although I'm definitely experiencing what it means to die daily) and so shall keep walking around, doing my best, sometimes succeeding, mostly failing.

I will not try to put words to any of this via email, unless that's how you want to go about it.

I have always respected you, [Pastor]. I know you must be beyond disgusted with all of this. I suppose you'll want to box me about the ears. I deserve it, to be sure, although I've done quite a lot of it myself already.

I'm being called to sound check. Must go.

Until then,


I was on my way to New York for the last two shows of the tour when I got the following email:


Subject: To all ships at sea...

Date: September 21, 2006 12:17:19 PM EDT


Hey Meg, Well, I had my meeting with [the pastor] as you know. I once told you that no one was able to stand in the gap between you and I. Well, [the pastor] successfully proved me wrong. He came with God and I didn't. It was a real "Nathan" moment. A few things he said could have been summed up easily with, "You are that man."

When the truth is? We messed up my friend. There are a ton of explanations but there really are no excuses. I'm owning my part and taking responsibility for what has happened. The number one thing I have come to realize is there is nothing I can do to make it better except to do my part to not make it worse.

You won't be hearing from me beyond this email for quite some time to come. You want to be a good woman, and you want me to be a good man... well, we have to enter radio silence for that to happen. And cell silence. And email silence. And chat silence.

I'm truly sorry about all of this. I have already lost three friends (you, K___, and [friend]) and others are still on the fence. The price has gotten high, as it should, for what I have done.

I can tell you that nothing else came up in the meeting. I'm at peace with my confession of our time together, our kissing, and how close our hearts were drawn together. All things I'm having to give up and walk in humility about. I've been knocked from my horse and beat about the head. Again, as I should. I know why and how it happened but it just should not have happened. Not like this and now, if we are to maintain integrity, honesty, and seek reconciliation to those we have hurt, we must own it and end it.

So, to all ships at sea, maintain radio silence until this storm's fury has ended.... It's going to be a long lasting storm.



PS - When the truth is... it is freeing to not live in lies, deception, and shadows. I'm gonna miss you Meg.

{end transmission}"

{to be continued...} Click here for the next part...