Tag Archives: driving at night

For The Nights Spent Singing In Your Closet

Some nights, I zip up my knee-high riding books or slip on my Target moccasins and lock my front door. I tumble, yes tumble, there is an awkward falling quality to it, down the flight of stairs and press the key fob to unlock my car door.

I turn the ignition and wait for music, wait for something that might keep me from feeling alone. I wait for another voice to fill the hollow space inside this car that’s mine but not yet mine. This car that doesn’t yet smell like me.

Sometimes, just stuffing my feet into those shoes and closing that door and smelling that leather and hearing those first few notes are enough to calm me from whatever I’m inevitably trying to avoid.

In another life, I’d be a singer.

I’m not terrible, can pick up a melody and learn it, but I have no illusions about someday earning myself a record deal. Nashville will never hold my heart.

Maybe, in the far-off-don’t-think-about-it-or-you’ll-only-be-sorry future, I’ll feel comfortable enough to sing for some boy (man?) who doesn’t make me feel like I’m in a room full of strangers who would rather a juke box accompany their next round of beers.

It’s not something I think about.

Kind of like the reason I’m sitting in the car, putting it in reverse, shifting to first and cutting the wheel hard, squeezing it till my fingertips are white because I’m sure that will stop me from scraping the back of the Kia Soul that yes, does have a stuffed hamster on the dashboard to match the dancing ones on the commercials.

John Green - The Fault In Our Stars - "I was thinking about the word 'handle,' and all the unholdable things that get handled."

Loneliness. That’s what lingers in those lyrics that the other tenets are bound to know over tooth brushing and flossing, shower shaving and tea brewing.

They are bound to hear my good days, my bad ones, as I sit in front of the computer and try to pretend I am alone, on an island, with soundproof walls and no one around for miles.

That doesn’t help the loneliness.

And probably the only thing that does is knowing that someday my once-broken, twice-broken, gosh-how-many-times-can-you-break-a-heart-before-you’re-twenty-three heart will come in handy when I want to master a melody about the things that chisel away at us.


And dying without goodbyes.


For boys who never became men.


For girls who always break first, before he has the chance.

Getting stood up.

For divorce and disease and forgetting the name of your own family. Forgetting where you live. For growing old and wishing you didn’t have to wake up anymore. For goodbyes that take too long and aren’t long enough.

Maybe that’s why I’m sitting in my closet on the floor, trying to find lyrics and notes to hold all those things we, as humans, are inevitably going to have to handle.

Maybe that’s why we have driver’s licenses at sixteen—there are nights when the car will always need to hold melodies for us, when we will need to remember that sometimes, all we know how to do is stop at the red light and use our turn signals and wipe the rain away when it comes.

Because it will come. If not today, then another day.

And there will be a song on the radio and you will wonder why every single country star knows somebody who died of cancer and why must every single commute feel like the world has ended and put itself back together in just the span of 15 minutes while you sit in traffic?

It will happen. Maybe you won’t sit in your closet. Maybe you won’t be alone. Maybe the music will fill the spaces you don’t want to deal with right now.

“I was thinking about the word ‘handle,’ and all the unholdable things that get handled.” – John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

We have become the best version of ourselves.

via weheartit.com

“I want to be sixteen.”

I can see myself at 12, 13, 14, squeezing my eyes and waiting to turn into a princess overnight. A girl the world might love a little bit more.

Other kids threw pennies into fountains. I thought there was something magical in birthdays. I thought I would wake up at 16 and my whole life would be better overnight.

No more awkward preteen with chalk-covered legs and untamed curly hair. I thought I’d wake up in a few years and be beautiful.

I guess I didn’t learn my lesson, because at 16 I wished to turn 18.

“Yes,” I thought. “I’ll have it all together by 18.”

18 came and went. I wasn’t best dressed and my hair never stayed straight in the summer heat. My skin revolted against my decision to bake in the sun until I was a shade of deep brown and I conquered a mess of acne from all that torture.

I still didn’t have it together.

It took me 21 years to figure out that some things change but some things stay the same.

Like the feel of an old trampoline under my feet on a humid summer night in my best friend’s backyard. Or the roads leading to the house in the middle of nowhere. Or the ache in my ankle when it twists the wrong way.

21 years to decipher that small fact: you are who you are and all that is imperfect and all that you remember and all that you love will not disappear in the seconds it takes to cross another birthday finish line.

I don’t know if any of us ever change or if we all just evolve into a more real version of our true self, the one we’ve been haggling with since we were 12. The one who wanted to be 16.

I can see myself now at 30, lying on my back, head-to-head with my best friends on that trampoline. Waiting for the stars in the sky to turn into a sign from above that we have made it. We have become the best version of ourselves.

I know it probably won’t happen, that life doesn’t work like that. I know we’ll split across two cities in two states separated by a three-hour time difference and I pray for the only thing I can: that the time zones won’t kill us.

And maybe that we’ll sleep as little as we do now and love as hard as we always have and that being knocked down one too many times will only make standing up easier.

I wonder if the world will try to win us over with structure and stability. If at 35, I’ll be praying to wake up at 16 again. That little girl with the wavy mess of hair and the skinny legs and the dry hands from all that chalk.

If you could go back to one birthday—just one—which would you choose?