Me and Savannah were driving home from her orchestra competition the other day when we passed an apartment complex where we used to live back when Savannah was in 6th grade. She insisted we stop so she could take a stroll down memory lane, to which I agreed because Savannah doesn’t get enough exercise.
She hoisted herself up on a railing she used to sit on to wait for the school bus. She sat there smiling and the afternoon slid away to wherever they go when they’re gone. She stooped and crawled into some low bushes and happily declared she still fits inside her old secret hideout. The wind stole across the cold grass and I stared for awhile as the bushes shivered and the cool cotton clouds bobbed in the blue sky. Maybe I hoped if I looked long enough the past would come back, just for a little while. So Savannah could be little again and I could have a little Savannah again. Time is a funny thing. It’s so funny you can’t stop crying.
I was Savannah’s age on flat, raw winter afternoons a long time ago. Biting wind would rush through enormous pines swaying on the wooded slopes of the butte behind our house. It always smelled cold and the wind sounded all alone up there tangled in the trees.
I drove up the butte with a girl on a bitter day, December probably. We talked a little. Forgettable things. The pines moaned outside. I wondered how the sun could be so cold. There was a disc in the CD player, Urge Overkill was singing about mistakes. “Find someone or you’ll be lost,” they said. We climbed the butte toward the colorless sun, and I looked over at the girl in the passenger seat and then, deep down, I remember feeling just a little lost.
I’m sitting next to Savannah on the railing at her old bus stop, she’s telling me how things used to be when she was younger. The day is cool but the sun is trying. It’s throwing gold. I look at Savannah, all color and life. My wife and I didn’t plan when we married to have kids right away. We were going to live a little first, travel, see the world. Savannah came nine months after the wedding. At the time, she could’ve been called an accident, a mistake.
We have all lived a little since then, traveled, seen the world. Together. Find someone or you’ll be lost, they say. I suppose that’s true, I think as I sit on this rail at this old bus stop beneath this airy sky with my best mistake, my Someone.