Song One of Five
I figured I would take my Five Songs and do them one at a time. Because I can, thatís why. And, because I am the boss of this place, I may even do more than five.
Todayís songs is Faith No More, Helpless (which was on my original list). As with everything I write about, it has a story to go with it. I wrote this in my journal, almost three years ago when this blog had a separate journal page.
sense of snow
We sat in the car, huddled in the back seat underneath a comforter. We were parked in the lot of a closed-down restaurant, overlooking an expansive field of dried out grass. Behind us was the highway, the road that would once again separate us. It was March and it was cold and we were tired of these short bursts of togetherness. We were sitting there, plotting and planning for this to be the last time I would make the trip home alone. Next time, he would come with me. He would move his belongings, his life, his world into mine. All that planning and dreaming didn't make this farewell any easier. No matter how many times you do it, no matter how many times you throw kisses into the rear view mirror as you pull away, it never becomes easy.
So we put it off for a little while, that kiss. We stayed hunkered down in the car, talking and kissing and not thinking about the long stretch of time between this visit and the next.
We watched the clouds move in and form a wall of threat in front of us. The sky had gone gray and dull since we first pulled into the lot. The air changed, the cold became bitter. Still, we made no move to go. We watched out the windshield as a storm moved in. As we kissed, the wind whistled at us.
The first flakes fell with precision and grace, dancing from the sky onto the windows, where they would sparkle momentarily and then melt and run away.
We both knew I should leave. Driving through the mountains of Pennsylvania in a snow storm was a frightening thought. But it didn't look like a huge storm; just some flakes here and there. So I stayed a bit more. I wanted to soak up as much of him as I could before I left.
The snow started to fall a bit harder, a bit faster. We listened to the sound of the snow; a soft, shuffling sound that like slippered footsteps on the roof of the car. The flakes that landed on the windows no longer had the luxury of melting and disappearing. Before they could flee, more flakes fell on top of them, piling up until there were millions of them, held captive on my windshield. We could no longer see out. The wind carried the snow around the lenght of the car, and soon we were encased in darkness, buried under a storm that minutes ago had seemed benign.
We made no effort to turn on the wipers and look out. We liked it there, under the blanket, under the snow, under the wintry sky.
Eventually the coldness of our cocoon became too much and we turned the car on. The wipers went to work, pushing the sleet and snow from the windshield. It made little difference. The world out there was white all around. The restaurant and field were gone, replaced by a blanket of falling snow so thick it made me claustrophobic. I panicked at the thought of driving home and gave one fleeting thought to staying, to holing up in the car for the rest of the storm, like lovers on the run.
It would be a long ride home through the bad weather and usual Sunday traffic. I needed to leave. I needed to leave him. We cleaned the car off together, both of us ending up soaked, frozen and breathless. The snow had started to let up a little, enough to see a few feet in the distance. It was dark now, the street lamps had come on and the snow trickled under their lights, sparkling as the tumbled to the ground. We kissed then, underneath the light and the snow. He closed his arms around me and vowed that this would be the last time we would do this. This would be the last time we would kiss with heavy hearts and tears in our eyes.
I drove home with Faith No More's Album of the Year on repeat. Some couples have songs, we have a whole album. Of course, the music sounded better when he was there listening to it with me. But at that moment, in the loneliness of the winding road, halfway between being with him and being home, the songs only added another layer to my sadness. But you know how that goes; when you are sad, only a sad song will do. And no matter what the lyrics or tune of a song is like, if you are wallowing in sorrow, you will make that song sorrowful as well. So I sang Helpless, my horrible singing voice drowning out the pings of sleet lashing at my windshield.
I held my breath around the slippery curves of I-80 and I sighed with heartache as I sat in New York traffic. I kept looking in my rear view mirror, as if he would still be there, waving to me. I took the blanket from the back seat and draped it across my lap. I held it up to my face at one point, taking a deep breath and inhaling his scent. I sang Helpless again.
I made it home in one piece, a much longer ride than it should have been. I crawled into bed, exhausted and worn and heard his words in my head over again. His vow that I would never have to do this again. I cried myself to sleep, missing him more deeply than I ever had.
It was the last time. I never again had to make that trip home alone again, I never had to brave a springs snowstorm in Pennsylania on my own, words of good-bye ringing in my ear.
Everytime it snows now, we put on Album of the Year and sit on the couch and listen to the snow falling gently against the house. We close our eyes and we are back in the car, clinging and hoping. Sometimes we go outside and kiss under the streetlight as the snow drops and sparkles like diamonds in our hair, and everytime Helpless comes on, I'm reminded of just how lucky I am that my weekends no longer involve driving on the Jersey Turnpike.
[I'll upload the song when I get home from work]