The first night alone is always tough for me. I hate it when he’s gone. I lie in bed all night and when the sun starts to rise I realize that I have had no sleep whatsoever so I usually catch a few minutes of shuteye while the sun is still low to the ground. Those few minutes are never enough to last me through the day.
It’s not the fact that I’m nervous that makes me sleep deprived, it’s that I miss him. I honest to God MISS him. I’m not the sort of overprotective wife that thinks he is going to cheat on me, it’s not that at all! It’s the fact that we’re not together. I do trust him. I trust my life with him. I can’t stand being apart for more than a few hours, it tears me up inside.
I wasn’t nervous being alone in the house without him, I knew that if anything happened my children and I would be able to handle it. I learned long ago, when we first started dating and even before, that it was being away from him that was so hard. It got better over time but in a way it worsened. I guess I’d have to start at the very beginning to try and explain how that works.
I met my husband in a very unique way. I knew him before he knew me... or at least I thought so. I started out as a fan of the band and as time went on I started to realize that it wasn’t just the music I loved, it was the guys too, Taylor Hanson in particular. I started to meet them in New York City when they came to the city to do shows. When they left to go somewhere else I was depressed. Everyone told me it was just because I was obsessed, but I knew that wasn’t true. I felt something for him... for all three of them that was more than a fan-thing, it was a family-thing. The years went by and they started to get to know my friends and I, especially at their hotel in NYC. I went there a lot when they were in town. Our group and Hanson became familiar faces, they knew who we were when we went places, they weren’t afraid to talk to us about things they wouldn’t say to other fans. We felt like family, we felt as though we knew them. I also knew that they knew my face but probably not my name.
Isaac, my brother-in-law, and the oldest brother in the Hanson family got a girlfriend one year, my sister-in-law Andy. When they came back to NY he introduced us to her. It wasn’t until that year that I knew that the guys actually knew my name. One day out of the blue when they were coming back from a photo shoot, Taylor stood in front of me and said, “Clare, can I give you something?”
My heart was beating fast, something it hadn’t done in years when I was with him. I told him he should know that he could give me anything. He handed me a slip of paper nonchalantly and begged me to read it in private. He quickly went up the stairs and disappeared into the lobby of the hotel.
I grabbed my best friend by the arm and told her I had to use the bathroom so I would be right back. She was confused and asked me if I was feeling all right because I was going to leave while Zac and Isaac were still outside. I promised her I was fine and I walked slowly down the street and turned the corner, then when I was out of site of the rest of the fans I ran to a coffee shop across the street. When I got there I opened the paper and smiled slowly as I read what was on the paper.
“Clare, I know that we barely know each other but I have to tell you that I have remembered you for four years. I feel embarrassed writing this but I cannot stand it any longer, I have to let you know that I think you are one of the nicest people I have ever met. I want to tell you this in person but I am afraid that you will not take this the right way and I will scare you. I know you better then you think I do, Clare, and I know that it might damage my chance of you ever saying yes to this offer I am about to ask if you hear that but I said it anyway. I’m being honest. I am also praying right now as you read this that you will say yes to what I am about to ask. Will you meet me at the coffee shop at ten tonight? Please come alone. I know I have scared you now. I just know it. The number below is the number to my older brother’s cell phone. Please call it if you cannot meet me, if you will meet me then just show up. I’m praying you won’t call me. I need to see you again. Signed, Taylor Hanson”.
I still have that note in the bottom of my drawer.
I met Taylor at the coffee shop that night and we talked until two in the morning. I told him that I probably wouldn’t be able to see him again because I was going to be in so much trouble and there was no train to pick me up. I hadn’t called my parents, the time had slipped away from me. Taylor called his driver and they drove me home that night. Taylor explained to my parents that it was his fault that I was so late and then he asked if it was all right if we saw each other again.
My parents told him to ask me.
I told him yes.
The next day I debated whether or not to go down to the hotel. Taylor had not called me and I didn’t know what that meant. I went down anyway because I didn’t tell my friends anything about what had happened that night and I didn’t want them to think something bad had happened to me after I left to go to the coffee shop at 10 the night before. When the guys emerged from the hotel that afternoon, Taylor walked up to me and told me that he had called my house three times that morning. My friends looked at me as though I had three heads. I heard one of them say to another, “Taylor called Clare’s house!?!?”
I blushed when I heard that and told him I was sorry. He said he thought that meant I didn’t want to go out again after all. I slapped him playfully on the arm for thinking that and told him he was an idiot. Taylor laughed and suddenly became serious. He took my hand in his and asked if I wanted to come to dinner with him. I said yes and he smiled at me, his eyes bright and successful as though he had finally succeeded at doing something he had wanted to do for as long as he could remember.
That night we went to a fancy diner on Broadway and took a walk in the park afterwards. That was also the night he made his first move, he kissed me. We sat on a bench next to the lake and talked for hours about everything.
We became an official couple the following week.
Then he left the country.
While we were dating Taylor would call me every night or I would call him when we weren’t in the same state, or even the same country. We had faith in our relationship and refused to give up. We loved each other too much to even think about cooling it down a little. My friends were amazed that Taylor and I remained together through a tour and such. I missed him all the time, more and more as the days went by. When the world tour came around I accompanied the family along with many other wives and girlfriends of various rhoadies and management.
I moved to Tulsa for college just so we could be near each other.
When Taylor asked me to marry him I could not think of a single reason why we shouldn’t be together for the rest of our lives. We were 20 and had dated for three years without a stop. It was time to take the next step and we were both ready for it.
I almost always accompanied my husband and the band on their “business trips” as we liked to call it but once or twice I stayed at our home while Taylor and his brothers, now my brothers too, were in another state. When we were 21, I graduated college and we decided it was time to get out of Tulsa. Taylor said he always loved NY and he knew I missed it so we moved back to my old state.
When he went on tour, we all went with him as a family, our children and us. Going city to city with two young kids was hard on me but Taylor’s parents were used to it. They came along as usual and helped me out so much. Taylor’s younger siblings came as well, they had done it so often as children that they wanted a part of it again. I had been on tour with them a few times before, but the kids had to be looked after at all times. Zoë always wanted to get off the bus right away when we got to a venue where her uncles and father were playing but I had to take her inside after the show started to avoid mobs of over-excited fans. Zoë was always asking me why girls were screaming over her father and uncles. Jessica, her aunt, told her that she always wondered the same thing as a child, but then she went on to tell my daughter how her brother, Zoë’s father, was a musician who was known by everyone. Zoë told her Aunt Jessica that she knew that, but why did they have to scream? Jessica just shook her head and said “I don’t know, kiddo, I just don’t know.”
Being Taylor’s wife ensured me that we would never again be apart for more than a couple of days, a week or two at the most, but I hated when he was gone. A part of me was always missing when he wasn’t around. He confided in me a long time ago that he felt the same way. Those feelings had grown so much, even when we weren’t going out and I was a fan at his hotel. Those feelings are the ones that led him to write the note and led him to asking me out. We both knew that our connection was special, different from a lot of our friend’s relationships. Some of their relationships didn’t work out after the first year. Ours had lasted much longer then any of them. We were soulmates and we knew it. We could read into each others’ souls and we knew everything about one another even without having to ask. Sometimes I felt as though we were the same person torn apart by something out of our control. They say that opposites attract... well in the case of my husband and I that was wrong. We do disagree on some things and we do think differently at times, but I wouldn’t change anything for the world. Our similarities and small amount of differences are what keeps us together.
Being Taylor’s wife also ensured me the pain of not being with him. That is how the feelings both got better and worsened: I was his wife therefore I’d always be with him but on the other hand I was his wife therefore I knew him much better then before and my heart always ached with longing for him when he wasn’t here.
I think that is one reason why Taylor’s heart attack affected me so much. The thought of loosing him for more then a week or two killed me. I couldn’t live without him but I knew I would have to if he had died. I would have had to live for my three children. I thank God every day for letting him live. Without him I would have been half a person, if even half.
I looked out the window towards the rising sun. The next night alone would be a little better then the first. I would be used to sleeping alone in my bed just like I had to get used to it when he left on a “business trip.” I’d still be feeling the same way, but it wouldn’t be as bad as the first night. It almost never was.
“Zoë! What are you doing awake, honey?”
“Can I sleep in Daddy’s spot Mommy?” My daughter was standing in the doorway clutching a stuffed giraffe named Mr. Spot that Taylor had bought for her in a California gift shop in July.
I sat up and pulled back the covers so she could climb in. She jumped into the bed next to me and snuggled her head down into the pillow. I pulled the covers back up around her body and mine. I turned on my side to face her and hugged her close to me.
“It smells like Daddy,” Zoë said referring to the sheets and pillow she was sleeping on.
I nodded. “Yes, Zoë, it smells like Daddy,” I agreed.
“I miss Daddy.”
I kissed Zoë’s head. “So do I, baby. So do I.”