A song came on that I hadn't heard in a long time…

You know this is always a strange time of the year. Just randomly, scanning through my regular music stuff as I try to do a bit more of these days and out of the blue the song popped up that I haven't heard for probably 20 or more years.

There's a strange story behind it too because back in high school, my special girl Patty back then rolled this song out in the middle of the night. I'll just paint a quiet picture of the green glow of the stereo lights, a candle, and this music while we looked out my window at the snow falling. Simpler times. Things were so easy then. This was back around 1981.

As I listened to it, the lyrics kind of put me off a bit because of course it was telling a story about a relationship that didn't work. She looked up at me from my chest and asked me what was wrong, and I just couldn't say anything, I couldn't put the words together to say that somehow it almost felt like some kind of premonition. I told her I just didn't like it because it sounded like a sad breakup song- our relationship had already had more ups and downs than most people deal with in years of marriage, and all of them simply because both of us were too young to really know what we wanted yet. I was almost 17, and she was 18, she was going to be graduating and I was going to still be in school for a couple more years yet.

She put her fingers over my lips, pulled me close, and said “But the end of the song has them reuniting, in a way, and realizing that they never left each other's hearts. Isn't that a good thing? Even after all that?”

It was deep stuff that I really can't explain, and in a little bit of selfishness choose not to.

I lived around the corner from her parents house, and sometime towards the late 80s I was driving down her street and saw her out in the front yard. I was working a factory job and rarely had time for cruising around the neighborhood and just for some strange reason decided to go down that street. As I drove past, she looked up and like an idiot I stopped without knowing why, and probably said the goofiest thing possible. “Are you living back home with Mom?, and chuckled nervously. She said yes, and I asked her if she was going to be home a little later, I might stop by if that was okay. She said yes, and that would be nice. I drove off.

Now before you say you think you know me, or that you knew me back then, I want to fill you in on something and what was going through my mind at the time. The last time we parted was not pleasant, and not of my choosing. That in itself is a story you wouldn't believe if I told you, and even though the situation leading up to it I couldn't control, I did control how it ended and it involved what you may call today, kicking her to the curb after breaking my heart so many times. Even though I felt completely justified, some kind of hopeless romantic inside me just wanted to apologize for being so harsh- it's like I had a little bit of anger that needed to be let go and it wasn't with her it was with myself.

Back in the day when I was chasing her, I wanted to be more, I wanted to be everything. I felt like I failed her and that was why things happened the way they did. I drove around for a little bit and stopped at the park near the house, got out, smoked a cigarette and paced for a little while. I had so many things tugging at me from so many different directions I couldn't put them all together at once and explain them. I drove over to the store and bought a rose. Cheesy? Probably. I just wanted to apologize to her, give it to her, and leave. I wasn't expecting anything and I certainly didn't have any design on trying to get back with her. I just felt that there was something I left undone that needed to be said. I finally got the courage up to head back over there after stopping home and making sure the hair was in the right place, mustache trimmed and brushed my teeth. You know, typical muffin stuff. It was rare I found myself lacking any confidence to do anything in those days, and in the space of a half hour I was starting to fall apart and I didn't know why.

She met me at the door and we just couldn't take our eyes off of each other. She sat down on the couch and there were a couple of little children bouncing around. The place was a wreck, and what I mean by that it looked like they were tearing up carpeting to replace it and a lot of things were just in general disarray. I started to ask her if they were doing construction there, and almost offered up to help with any work they needed done because, well I did stuff like that. But instead we just had a long pause and I finally broke that silence by saying “You know, I don't want to make you feel uncomfortable or anything, I just wanted to stop by and apologize for how things went the last time we saw each other. I acted like an assh..” She stopped me there, and said “It's okay, I deserved it and you weren't, so don't say that. Thank you- I should be apologizing.” I reached in my jacket and pulled out the rose, and I said “I just wanted to give you this for whatever reason I can't really figure out except that I just wanted to.”

Her eyes drove deep into me somewhere as if there was so much she wanted to talk about and say and it frightened me. She put her hand on mine, and said again, “It's okay.” I just panicked and I told her that I was going to have to go though, that I was working the night shift and had to go get ready for work soon. I told her if I ever got a chance I might stop by again if that was okay. I never did after that point because I just lost all courage and something made me afraid. I never understood it and just went on with life after that the best I could.

Fast forward though, to somewhere in the 90’s, it was a Friday in December, somewhere around today I think. It was snowing, and I stopped in towards evening at Danny's Foods on Cherry Hill. I had just a few things in my arms and there was a girl in front of me with a half-filled shopping cart. She was digging through her purse and it flipped backwards onto the floor at my feet and when she turned around I was already on my way to the floor to try to catch it and our faces met. Our eyes locked and it seemed like minutes went by and we just held there motionless. “Hello there Pat…” That's all I could say, and the look she gave me was as if I just saved her from falling off a cliff. I can only best guess describe that it just seemed like I saw the world caving in around her and a deep sadness in her eyes that just pulled at me so hard I put my hand on her shoulder and I said “It's okay I'll get it.”

I could tell just by the things I picked up that there was some chaos there, and that left me with just a feeling that things weren't doing so well. While things were being checked out she seemed to nervously be looking through the money she had in her wallet, and seemed to be paying hyper attention to everything being rang up.

As the last couple of items were being done I just felt like there was some kind of apprehension, I don't know what came over me but I just said to the cashier hey, I've got these couple of items, add these to it and I'll cover the whole bill. Patty turned around and looked at me and before she can say anything I just smiled, turned on the Sam Elliott voice and said “Merry Christmas, I didn't get a chance to get you anything, so give me a shot at being a noble creature for once will you?” The cashier kind of laughed, Patty blushed but she could tell by the look in my eyes that I wasn't going to take no for an answer and just smiled. If there's anything I can lay claim to my deep voice for, it's moments like that. Sue me.

I fully intended on just going on my merry way after that, but on the way out in the parking lot the snow was coming down real heavy and I was kind of walking next to her and I just looked over and I said “I rarely get a chance to notice how pretty the snow is anymore.” She stopped and turned to me and asked me if I felt like having a drink, if that was okay. 

I told her I don't do bars or anything like that, and I said I wouldn't be past kicking back at the house, and it even might be more fun to just watch the snow from my truck. I didn't even drink at all in those days, so I just asked her what did she have in mind to drink, and I said wait a minute. I gave her my wallet and I told her just to head back into Danny's and pick something up, surprise me. I jokingly said that I hope she wasn't trying to get me drunk, because I already didn't have any virtue left to protect but drunk or not I wasn't going to be talked into dancing on the hood naked or anything. I said I was a lightweight so don't get anything that's going to make me embarrass myself.

I had a big truck, and I asked her where she wanted to go, and she just said find a place where we could see the snow falling, any place pretty. Anybody from our part of Michigan knows about Edward Hines Drive, and all of the potential places for kind of being out in the woods pretty but yet still close enough to the city without having to drive far. I made the suggestion and, that's all we had.

Now I'm going to keep the majority of the rest of it to myself, but I will say this, we spent a lot of time just talking about each other's lives, and where things went, a few things here and there about what we still wanted, and even some regrets. The weird thing that leads up to all of this and the reason for me deciding to write this all down was that song came on the radio- and I found myself saying out loud “Oh my god, do you remember?” She looked up at me, and for a moment, we were there again, and young again. She put her fingers up to my lips again and stopped me, and just whispered “See? I told  you.”

When it was time to take her back to her car, there was just a stillness in the air that I can't explain. As she got into her car, I told her I would follow her home to make sure she made it okay and I did. I didn't go home though, It was still snowing a little bit and I just went back to the parking lot at Danny's and tried to collect my thoughts. The sun was going to be coming up soon, and I figured I would get out and clean my back windows off and head home. I kept thinking about that song and would you know it, the snow started to get wet and literally, started to turn into rain.

And today, almost to the hour I was just listening to random music and that song came on. It only hit me a few hours ago and after I realized what day it was and I allowed for a moment again, we were back in school. This has happened a few times, but this year it was probably needed more than ever because of the dark places I've been traveling, and I'm tired. I let myself out long enough to just watch the snowfall.

"All of those moments will be lost in time, as tears, in the rain."

 

 
Listening To Some Old Boston…
"Mother's Day" 2023
 

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Saturday, 20 April 2024

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