Words For the Moment


I was driving the eastern fringe of Springdale, heading toward an even darker sky above the city. It was either 4:30 in the afternoon or 1959. Rainy January evenings magnify the monochrome world. Unlike most, I love rainy days and the unstated premise that they are authors of introspection. The drive seemed interminable and as if my car wasn’t advancing on the rain-slicked road. 412 was both busy and barren, much like the landscape on this side of town. It is not a place that welcomes vividness or easy admiration. Most of the inhabitants of Springdale instinctively know this, even as they uneasily attempt an explanation. I had driven way out of town in service to family. During the drive, I felt as if I were in a place outside of time. The rain obscured everything in my path and the landscape looked as it might have forty years ago when even the road was two digits. Honestly, my heart was a little heavy. I had witnessed a flash of loneliness in someone that was so profound that I wasn’t sure how to sidestep it. That recognition of the abyss in someone else is always a little destabilizing. It surprises me we don’t all succumb to the depths with a greater frequency. We’re supposed to bridge those gaps and help one another as these moments arise. Often, though, the paralysis of saying the wrong thing immobilizes us. Sometimes the momentary misery of life must be endured without expectations of a quick resolution. I changed the input on the radio and brought up a song on the USB drive plugged into the dashboard. As the chosen song filled the car, the fog of memory washed me away to only a place where good music can grant us entry. I turned the volume up even higher, as I turned down Friendship Road and let myself swim in the melody. Soon enough, I was once again at home, where the abyss faded into the background. I hoped that the loneliness I had witnessed had subsided in the person who owned it. While my words failed, I hoped that my presence at the moment had sufficed. It’s all we can hope for, as the moments continue to wash over us, a slow tide that advances despite our insistence that we might be immortal.

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