As the summer approaches, the windows of my red Saturn are rolled down, with cool air warmed slightly by the glowing sun as it shimmers to the horizon. My hair performs arabesques in the wind, lifting off and turning in spiraling rotations.
As the summer approaches, the sounds of Kris Allen’s Live Like You’re Dying fill up the enclosed space, vibrations of the base greeting my back, chest, and tingling in my fingertips at the wheel. Joyful beats, strings, and piano chords swell up as first one shoulder then another joins my chest to hit with the beat.
As the summer approaches, trees stand crisply from the twilight, their dark arms grasping openly at the dusky sky. The Michigan heart deep inside me drinks in the sight, eyesight 60/20, scalp tingling from the rush of blood. I am struck with a longing to pull to the side of the highway, hop the edge of the bridge, and disappear into the deep grass to lie pondering the beauty of tree and sky.
As the summer approaches, I think of that long, life-changing drive with my dear sister. The beauty of a road trip, punctuated by shards of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know or old school New Kids on the Block. Walking from a Holiday Inn in Nashville, half a mile to the replica of the Parthenon. Embracing the pain and beauty of leaving behind a negative life and choosing to breathe deeply for the first time in years.
As the summer approaches, I recall the solitude of the early morning. I relish the images of white columns, placed in even spaces all around the replica. Each step a cautious choice, sunlight streaming, touched by the hand of heaven. My sandals were slippery, covered in the dew still resting on the freshly mown grass.
As the summer approaches, I consider the choice I made. The very first hard choice I had gotten right, shimmering almost a mirage in the middle of all the poor choices I had made. The smell of early morning coffee brewers and breakfast hawkers filled my nostrils as I strolled the pavement.
As the summer approaches, I recollect the hope in Heather’s eyes, a hope I had seen so many times before. The joy was palpable, resonating from where the music always hides inside me, a tiny upbeat living thing. The long drive home merely punctuated my resolve, a fierce and protective creature rising in my chest.
As the summer approaches, I can almost feel my eyelids heavy with exhaustion, brain wired with determination. I ignored tears, said few words, left with shock. Following through had never been my strong suit. I took in deep warm gulps of FREE summer air. FREE.