I used to go out with this guy who, at the time, was everything. Whether or not he should’ve been, or deserved to be everything is another matter entirely, but he was.
We started going out in the summer. We were working together on the night shift and I was living with my sister and her boyfriend during the uni break and things were simple. I went to work at 3 or 4 in the afternoon, leaving at midnight or later. I’d drive home with the windows open, music pumping and stay up til 2 or 3 in the morning, eating cheese on toast and watching whatever shows my sister had taped for me while I was gone. I’d sleep til 11 or 12 and get up in time to head back into work again.
That summer I had just discovered The Darkness and I remember driving to work one afternoon, later than usual, the sunlight slanting through the trees, the car half in and half out of the shadows on the road. This song was playing and I can’t hear it today without remembering the big stupid grin I had on my face. Everything felt new. Anything was possible.
We’d spend our days off hanging out listening to music (always his, never mine – this should’ve been a sign) or going for long drives in the bush. We’d go fishing, rarely catching anything, and camp by the river and drink beer and watch for shooting stars. One night the sky was so clear that we counted seventeen – a record by anybody’s standards.
Everything was good for a while but gradually things turned sour, the way things often do when two perfectly nice but very different people get together, realise things aren’t working and are too kind or too scared to wound or too afraid of being alone to call it off when they know they should. We dragged it out over a year longer than we should have, we reconciled when we shouldn’t have, we said things we didn’t mean and meant things we didn’t say. We tried to be friends and when that didn’t work we suddenly stopped speaking entirely.
So I was driving home from work today, a completely different place of work in a completely different town, down a road surrounded completely by the bush and huge brown paddocks and something about the sunlight reminded me of that first summer and our drives and my ipod (which I swear can sense my mood sometimes) suddenly threw on that Darkness track, and then followed it up with this:
I downloaded this song from who knows where almost exactly a year ago and I don’t remember ever hearing it until now but it sounded hopeless and nostalgic and as I hopped out of the car to take this quick snap it just felt like the perfect song to come on at that particular moment.
There are walls and words and towns and time between us now, and today I remembered him fondly for the first time in a long time. But it’s time to move on now. Way past time, frankly. It’s time to stop hiding away. It’s time to start driving again.