It was early morning, in the middle of spring. The memory is more than five years old but its ability to nurture me is a timeless thing. I had called a friend of mine, to vent. I was feeling ready to just pack the fuck up and leave town. In the movies, that kind of impetuous act looks like some really cool shit- seeing as how the backdrop is someplace sexy and the soundtrack is someplace cool. Difference is, real life muddies your feet into a more intricate set of steps, where each foot of space is thickly committed to the next. There’s kids and there’s work and there’s french toast.
Some people stay put out of fear, and some people stay put out of the realization that breakfast always tastes better where you’re from.
We can’t all be David Carradine. Walking the earth ain’t gonna solve the bills that come due inside your soul. Staying in the place you know can be a plenty cool thing in its own right. So, in lieu of walking the earth and leaving my forwarding address with a well placed middle finger, I placed a phone call to a friend.
I reached out to a voice I knew could settle me. She’d proven quite adept at framing my personal catastrophes in these neatly wound ribbons full of sweetly placed quotes and sage-like curse words. It had been that way since the night we met.
It was a holiday party and I had gone solo since my girlfriend lived in another town. And that’s when Sheryl Crow’s wickedly sexy sister showed up. She was funny, charming and most importantly of all . . she was taken. Her partner in crime was a pert and possessive little dame who only gave her five minutes peace when she went out for a smoke. We made good time of those five minutes, several times over and more as the drinks got silly and the party got stoned. We kept solvent and we learned each other, as best as two people with respective sleeping arrangements can learn each other.
We kept in touch, best we could. And it was her that I reached out to one morning, middle of spring, five years ago. She had a way about her that I knew I could lean on. And I leaned, going from zero to Fifty Cent as I bitched about my romantic troubles and I bitched about myriad obstacles and I bitched about consequential roadblocks and I even bitched about bitching. I didn’t come up for air until I’d squeezed my Shakespearean tragedy into a comedic, rambling mess. Her professional advice sliced the fat away, it was fucking beautiful.
“She’s possessive and she’s insecure. You stay with her because she has amazing legs and you love to argue every bit as much as she does. And I don’t feel the least bit sorry for that kind of shit.”
It was free advice, which means to say it was priceless. I had romanticized things into a Lucy and Ricky equivalent. I had fallen for a town- Chicago- and room service nights and writing riffs and gin Martinis and yeah . . I had fallen for legs. The two of us had shown up like Paris in the showroom, but the sticker price was a lonesome, argumentative ride.
When it occurred to me that the voice on the other end of the line had a life of her own happening, I asked her about it. And then she told me how she’d broken it off with her girlfriend. She was picking up the pieces with champagne baths and piano lessons and books and Bowie and moon watching. The moon is a great lesson in the efficacy of silence, because it moves the oceans without saying a word.
And then getting out of Dodge didn’t feel like such a hot idea. Because, Dodge was kicking with things to do and dreams to meet up with. I stopped feeling sorry and I started taking the steps to some place else, without ever leaving my driveway. And then I called that voice again. And then, we tossed some Bowie onto a turntable and let him kick the night onto a porch swing. The wine and candles took care of the rest.
Marriage ain’t a thing we’re looking to have, seeing as how white picket fence ideas went rear view for us a long time ago. If we happen to make it to a more deliberate age and we’re still kicking Bowie into a police call, then maybe we’ll try some David Carradine on for size. She’ll teach me some French and I’ll educate her on why Willie Mays was the greatest ballplayer of all time. And then we’ll grab breakfast in some middle of nowhere joint.
If it tastes like home, we’ll wait on the moon.