Good God, Simon. What is it about this night. This endless, ageless, limitless night. This night here, right here smack in at the bleak end of December, in this winter of my 32nd year, this night is Avery’s field, ’97 after the ballgame. And I could close my eyes and smell the grass, and the nachos and hear the chatter from the outfield… Rook was pitching and we hadn’t missed a game all season. He was amazing. And maybe it was just that everything was amazing that year.
They won, of course, and Rook invited us out with the team to celebrate, but we decided to decline, and we went rambling instead. How many of my greatest moments have started out as rambles with you. So we ended up finding that place out by Chapman’s Mill, the old cabin on that creek. It was dry that day. And we sat on the rotting porch and played stupid games we made up, and we wrote poems about the cabin – the homestead, we called it. Do you remember? – in the voice of whatever came into our head. This rock, that weed, yonder sunning lizard… and invented a whole life story for the people who had lived there. I can still remember the feel of those weathered boards and the hoo-ing of the light wind in the chinks in the roof, and your hand, warm and familiar playing with the woven bracelet I wore around my ankle. It had a little bell tied to the end of the strings, and I used to love the jingle of it when I walked. Ah, for the love of foolish things.
We walked the creek bed that night, do you remember? And there was a moon then that was the twin brother of this one. Huge and yellow and wavering. Like it was its own reflection on a midnight lake. And the stars were out in droves. A billion glowing freckles on the face of the universe. We lay down on our jackets in the meadow grass and stared out into them, thinking how amazing it was that we were here, on our tiny little backyard planet, not in the center of anything, and yet here was all of this. Just for us. And how many people, (‘couples’ we said, looking at each other on that word, suddenly shy) had lain under how many skies full of the same starred magic, and felt rocked by it. And we didn’t have ipods back then, but we shared the headphones to your discman (oh, those days) and listened to something sweet. You always had good things, billie holiday, tom waits, john fogarty,
And you found my ear and in that voice that always covers me in chills, said, “every single song that has ever been written – they’ve all been about you.”
And I remember thinking, “ALL of them? What about I am the Walrus, or Bad Bad Leroy brown?” but I held my smart-ass tongue and nestled down into that space that was miraculously me-shaped beside you, and sighed. And I closed my eyes and felt the world spinning underneath us and the stars streaking across this perfect hour, and how we must look to them, two tiny specks, all spoony, and what kind of light must we be giving off just then. Something beautiful. Warm and bright and full. And what the colors you and me might make when mixed together.