“Because the Cadillac that’s sittin’ in the back, it isn’t me… I’m more at home in my Galaxie…”
Even the most ardent female snacker with endless ziploc baggies coming out of her clown car purse will have a justification for each- light granola, with healthy fats and necessary carbs. She’s going to spin class later and she doesn’t want to get light headed. Measured servings of guacamole- a hundred calorie pack, she’s sure to point out. A baggie of tortilla chips- hand counted and within her macros. God help you if she wants a glass of wine- she’ll tell you how she was “so good during the week,” and that if she wants a glass of wine at night, she’s having a glass of wineat night; if she wants a cheeseburger, she’s having a cheeseburger. She’ll feel confidence in her words despite the rationalizing- something she’s become so accustomed to that it doesn’t stand out as strange.
“I’m breaking through, I’m bending spoons, I’m keeping flowers in full bloom- I’m looking for answers from the great beyond.”
She said she wanted a fairy tale. Not something fairy tale-like, or fairy tale-adjacent; not the kind they sell at Target, or the Magic Kingdom version with the anxious college girl sweating to death in her ballroom gown while telling you about all the books she read before the gnarly beast swept her away. Something where you’d never dream of compromising things with the words good enough to control expectations while still acknowledging the positive. She wanted the real deal.
Where it wasn’t good enough to spend your nights together laughing at jokes that only you’d both understand, between bouts of incredible sex, and looking into her eyes and telling her that she was beautiful and really meaning it. This wasn’t a fairy tale- this was something else- and if it wasn’t good enough to be a fairy tale, what was it?
The waning days of August. After midnight; 2 a.m. about to roll around as inconspicuous as the 80,000th mile on the odometer of an old girl who won’t quit. Not quite ready to bring it down just yet. Miles of quiet. Last man standing. Watching the tide roll in. Everything leading to this feels weighted and opaque- a dull ache only noticeable in moments of stillness. When you’re young, there’s a timelessness to the hours before dawn. They dissipate in the moonlight. The keys to your dad’s old beater will open up the world around you like never before- possibilities expanding beyond the infinite. Everything with a veneer of significance. Sitting at a diner and only ordering coffee. Telling ghost stories on old country roads. Hopping fences and trashing swimming pools. Searchlights in graveyards on Saturday Nights.
Once this is lost, it’s gone for good. You get to an age where late nights just feel late. But you search for little bits and pieces of it. Maybe you drink to forget that the clock is always watching; a grim, invasive specter. If you have anything left to give- any mark left to make- you’re coming up on now or never. This is something an adult can never forget- no matter how many drinks he’s had.