She was nearly triple-parked in her gold-ish early 90’s toyota Something-or-other. The pink (or was it purple?) hair-die in her unkempt mohawk was faded to the point that I could not tell if it was pink or purple. The back of her car was piled up with what looked like about an apartments worth of belongings; not organized.. just shoved in; the kind of “packing” we do in a hurry of when angry.
She was leaning heavy on her driver side door and smoking so that the ashes would fall to the pavement instead of inside her car… I parked just behind her so that I could get a better look while putting my running shoes on and as I opened my door, I noticed she was listening to the radio quietly and writing. Pink pen. Lined notebook paper, frayed from being ripped out. Despite the pink pen, the note or letter she was writing was comprised of at least 3 other pen styles and colors; as if it were a letter she’d started and stopped several times before.
I got my running shoes tied on and weaved the wire for my earbuds through my shirt before locking my car and walking her way: I’d have to pass her to get to the head of the running trail. Before I reacher her car, I saw her jump slightly and say aloud “O, wow,.. Oh, God, Oh, God, Oh, God!” I though she was noticing me approaching and awoken from some trance.. But no..
She leaned forward and turned up the radio, saying “Yeah, yeah, YEAH!” while pinching her cigarette in the corner of her mouth.
“I’m gonna make a change for once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good
I’m gonna make a difference, gonna make it rii-iiiiight..”
She picked up singing along as the beat dropped…
“As I turn up the collar on my favorite winter coat,
The wind is blowing my mind”
It was quite a moment. I could see tears roll down her cheek beneath her Oakley sunglasses.
Now, this is exactly the kind of scenario I might just as easily make fun of: someone singing along with Michael Jackson in public, with a poorly groomed mohawk,..wearing Oakleys. And perhaps it’s because I just became a father so that everything has a touch more emotional punch to it (this is, of course, greatly aided by not sleeping through the night for a week). But I was reminded once again of the place music takes us to.. the way a song can find us right where we are and in some way, complete the moment.
Before I hit the trail for my run, I paused at her door and asked “are you alright?”
She didn’t even look up.. she just kept her head moving to the beat and said “Yeah, honey.. I’m gonna be fine.”