Five Years Ago.
I Remember Everything;
I Remember Every Little Thing
As If It Happened Only Yesterday...
In 2002, the Eighth of May was a Wednesday when I discovered that the exhaust on my ol' black Pure Stock had been sawed off without much thought being put in as to where the ends ended up -- blowin' out right where they'd cook the floor under my feet. Stuff like that happened a lot back then; I had a hard time convincing Dave (and his crew) to take a minute and think things through first because he was always in a rush to do-do-do-get-it-done-now-now-now 'cause thinkin' about it first would take too much time -- and I had no idea how short that time was.
A little irritated, but calm because I knew to expect such things, I hopped in the truck to run down to the ol' race car barn (eh, storage unit) to grab the other set of manifolds & pipes we'd stashed away for later. Knowing full well that it would probably be the start of a shitstorm, I was as calm & careful as I could be, I parked the truck and walked right in there where Dave was workin' on the Outlaw Stock for his kid and picked up my manifolds so My Dad & My Brothers could attempt to fix what he'd done the night before.
The near-argument that followed didn't last as long as some had in the past; mainly because it wasn't closing time yet and I had to get back to the shop. Over the years, I've learned that when I'm agitated, I can only hold back and be calm for a certain amount of time; from there it edges over into crazy-ranting and then it's only a short slip into out-of-control-crying-like-a-little-bitch, ie, the part I don't really like to let people see.
I was reasonably agitated when I left... I vividly remember feeling myself slip over that edge as I was driving around the back side of the building to leave. Vividly. "Seven Bridges Road" was on the radio (it still seems rare for Tulsa radio), but it didn't seem to slow me down much -- I was just rowin' gears and tryin' to figure out where to try to go hide before I lost my composure completely. The harder I tried not to be mad, the madder I got. That sky-blue '98 F-250 had to take a lot of my wrath that summer; between my temper and the 5.4, I have no idea how that clutch ever survived. More on the magic of sellin' cars in a small town: I still see that truck runnin' around here; same guy who bought it later that year is still drivin' it right now.
I took the manifolds back to the shop and laid 'em down beside the car to make a break for the bathroom as quick as I could, and then finished out the day wondering if he'd come by when he headed home. I remember him standin' in the doorway askin' if I was still mad, and I remember thinkin' that I hadn't started out mad 'cause I'd seen it all comin' the night before and he was the one who'd blew up all mad 'cause I didn't want to leave the short pipes on there; but I didn't tell him that.
I remember standin' there in the cool sunshine between the wrecker and the North door talking; I told him that I couldn't see any reason to be all mad about it; he wanted things his way and I wanted things my way, so we're not so different, see? We're a lot alike and it can't be so bad for you to let me have a little say in some stuff, huh? And I finally got the feeling he understood me; he was so sweet and so calm and I just felt like I'd finally got my point across and everything got a little easier just like that. When he asked if I was comin' home with him that night, all I could think about was wanting to be close to him and wanting to get all I could get of basking in the new-found calm between us.
Curled up on the couch watchin' TV with my head in his lap, I really felt like we'd turned a corner and were headed in the right direction. I even talked to his mom on the phone that night, chattin' about gettin' ready for the wedding; and he had calls from both kids that night too. We just had a real nice evening; I met him in the doorway headed for the shower as he was gettin' out and kissed me soakin' wet; and he was waitin' up for me when I got out of the shower, his arm was stretched out across my pillow. I remember waking up cold in the middle of the night and snuggling up to him, pressing my back to his and feeling his warmth all through me...
The next morning in the glow of the sunshine streaming through the window, he woke me up to tell me he was headin' off to work. He leaned down to kiss me and he stayed just a bit instead of hurrying like he usually did. I've never been a "morning person," but looking into his eyes that day, I felt like I was right where I wanted to be and I could go right out and conquer anything. As he left, I rolled over onto his pillow and listened to the creaks and rattles as he eased the ol' six-cylinder down the hill toward the gate; and then I took my time getting up and going to work, not worried about a thing.
Looking back, I still wonder if I might have blocked out the idea that there might be somethin' about to happen.
Tomorrow, I think I'll go to the park, sit and write a while, and see what comes out... Maybe I'll publish that too...
More later. _\,,/