There’s a line from Romeo and Juliet that says “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” When you think of it as just a line in a play, perhaps being away from someone you love does seem like sweet sorrow, but when it directly affects you, it’s a very painful sorrow.
Mike Nesmith knows it. When he’s away from Phyllis or Phyllis is away from him, he’s one of the unhappiest people in the world. Recently, Phyllis went to Texas with Christian and Jonathan to visit all their relatives, and even though Mike was busy working on “Untitled,”(Head) you could tell he really missed her.
He wasn’t as happy as usual and he didn’t tell as many jokes as usual and he didn’t smile very often at all. He wasn’t very anxious to talk about how much he missed Phyllis because Mike is the kind of person who keeps things like that to himself. He doesn’t think that everyone should know his problems so he doesn’t say much about them if he says anything at all.
But this time, Mike even mentioned how much he missed Phyllis to people on the movie set. And he was always leaving the filming for a minute or two to place a call to Phyllis or Christian. When he got them on the other end of the telephone line, you could tell he felt a lot better because he came back smiling—for awhile anyway. But when he couldn’t get hold of them because they were out visiting or shopping or doing some errand, then Mike really looked like someone who had just been abandoned to the streets. He was sullen and didn’t say anything and all he talked about was doing the next scene or the next line.
That’s one of Mike’s special ways of forgetting about being lonely—he pours himself into his work. He probably does more writing and composing and singing when Phyllis is away than when she is here because he needs to do something to forget about how much he misses her.
Of course, everything he composes when he misses Phyllis comes out rather sad and mournful and he probably never uses most of the material he prepares during those lonely periods. But at least it keeps him occupied and gives him something to do.
If you’ve never really missed someone a lot, then maybe you won’t realize how terrible someone can feel when they are lonely. And if you have missed someone, then you know how it feels.
When Phyllis leaves Mike to go on a visit, it makes a drastic change in Mike’s life. It’s not like his life goes on normally and he just misses seeing her.
He doesn’t have anyone to wake him in the morning and when he does get up, it’s in an empty, silent house, because Christian and Jonathan aren’t there to make their usual morning racket. He has to fix his own breakfast and if Mike is like most guys, that means he eats cold cereal, badly made coffee and lets the dishes set in the sink because he doesn’t feel like washing them. He has to take care of the little things that Phyllis aways does, like paying the newspaper boy, ordering from the milkman and arranging for deliveries and repairmen to visit the house at hours when someone will be there to let them in.
Then he has to drive off to work without a cheery kiss and face people who will be smiling when he doesn’t feel like smiling at all.
In the evening, it’s even worse. Mike avoids going home too early because he doesn’t want to be in his house when it is dark and silent, instead of bright and cheerful like it is when Phyllis and the children are there. Besides, unless the maid has come in, the breakfast dishes are still in the sink and his bed is unmade. And that’s really depressing.
His social life
So instead, Mike and some of his friends go out to dinner and then go to a club to see a new act or maybe over to one of the guys’ houses to listen to records and jam and talk. But Mike always makes a special point to be home in time to call Phyllis and talk with her for a long time before he goes to bed.
When Mike goes on tour, he usually tries to take Phyllis along, like when the Monkees went to England. But this isn’t always possible and so he phones her as much as possible from every city the Monkees play.
Luckily, Mike and Phyllis seldom have to be separated but when they do, each tries to keep in contact with the other as often as possible. And someday, Mike hopes, he can lead a life where they’ll never have to be separated again.