Love is a piano dropped from a fourth story window, and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Ani Difranco
There’s a tiredness that comes after a good cry. Maybe it’s the way the sinuses feel like pinched, old sea-beds or your cheeks crack with salt or that impossible way your limbs fold inwards as if to wrap themselves around you again and again. And it had been a good cry. The kind of cry that makes you think 17 is the most brutal year to have your heart broken. I’m sure the other years suck, too, but at any rate, it was a January night. A January night and freezing, when the 15-passenger van began to spin out of control and directly into oncoming traffic. They warn you about black ice but until you experience it on a dark Idaho highway in the middle of the night…well, it’s hard to explain the sleepy, slow motion feeling of sitting up and staring out at the semi-truck that’s about to hit you. A wide-eyed second where you think if the van doesn’t move in the next 2 seconds, you will be dead. But that cry made you so good and tired that for a moment you actually think, go ahead and smash me into smithereens. I can’t possibly feel worse. By the way, I turned out to be very, very wrong. And no, that semi-truck did not hit the van. Metaphorically, though…Well, let’s just say until you’re almost hit by a semi-truck, you’ll go on thinking that little Chevy pick-up is the real deal. You’d be wrong.
Two days after I survived near-oblivion by way of semi, I walked into the theatre building at my college. It was a first read-through for a play called Our Town. I am not even kind of exaggerating when I say that Thornton Wilder is responsible for all of this. It was at that read-through that I first saw Kyle.
Sometimes I imagine there were fireworks or explosions or dancing beams of light haloing around his head while The Bangles sang “Eternal Flame” and a choir of heavenly angels announced, ELIZABETH, BEHOLD, YOUR SOULMATE DOTH ARRIVE AND LO, HE IS WEARING A GREEN BEANIE!
That did not happen.
In fact, it was days, weeks even, before I would really notice the shy skateboarder with the long green hair who hadn’t really wanted to be an actor but was there, all the same. It would take longer than that even to know what I know now. That I was a goner the second I walked into that first rehearsal. I didn’t need a semi-truck to smash me to smithereens. I was about to go humpty-dumpty all over the place. And if you think comparing falling in love to being hit by a truck is a little melodramatic…you ain’t seen nothing yet.
To Be Continued