Ray and I were in Ruby heading back to Sister #2’s house, when he reached over and grabbed Kathleen Turner Overdrive from the cupholder between our seats.
“There’s a song I just need to hear,” he said.
“What?” I asked.
“You’ll see.” His non-iPod-owning fingers fumbled around the dials. “Okay, okay. Here it is.”
I held my breath, eager to see what he had plucked out of KTO. From Ruby’s speakers came a few drum beats. I started to sing. Ray played the air drums.
“On the way, on the way down to destruction, there are places where I find my rest. Make no mistake. Make no mistake of my intentions.”
We flew toward the Minnesota River, each lost in our own worlds.
“It’s such an amazing song,” he said as it ended and he pressed the back button to make it start again.
“It’s the lyrics,” I said. “I remember the first time I heard this song. I was driving back from dinner and it came on the radio. I chanted the lyrics over and over in my head until I got home so I could find it immediately.”
“Yeah.” He turned his face to me and smiled.
Ray is in the process of getting over his last a serious relationship, which ended because he found the woman he loved in bed with another man. When he first told me the story a few months ago, I sent him this song.
“Your arms are the place I like the best. I cannot lie to your face, your lips, your skin, your hips, or your waist. I have tried to run away, but I am so unhappy when I am alone. So here we lie, another night. I am a fool when I walk back through your door.”
“It’s like this song found me. I had just been wrecked by someone I really liked,” I told him. “The song said all the things I wanted to hear from him that he couldn’t say to me.”
“I know exactly what you mean.” He turned his head away from me and watched the Minnesota as we crossed over it.
I sang a little louder because I didn’t know what else to say. You could have wiped the melancholy from the windows of my tiny truck. I gripped the wheel tighter, pressed my foot on the gas figuring if we could only get somewhere else a little faster we’d outrun the sadness that was filling the cab. It’s the kind of sadness shared by single people in their 30s who have been battered by love, who are unsure of what to do next, and wonder what they’ve done wrong, how everyone else has seemed to figure it out but them.