You listen to a song, at just the right moment, and everything crashes down. It could be a night in college. Perhaps a long walk on the beach where the light of the stars is the only thing worth watching. And everything you ever hoped for comes to mind: the book you have tried to write comes out perfectly, in short breaths, unedited, wholly unique; that poem that got away roots itself on to paper, takes hold of you in handcuffs and tells you the key will come when the writing is done. You search every inch of your soul and come out dripping with the words you have always meant to say. And all you want is a memory pen to ink down the perfection, so you can wake with the words and continue the journey in and out of your life, headlights showing you the path to take, leaves flattened into mud as you run over the circular frames of nights you never wanted to end, sitting with your guitar voice and listening to the strums it comes up with, while your forever girl plays with her hair on the red brick fireplace, fanning the smoke to create a brighter flame for you to write to, as the music within you finds its dancing feet and choreographs a twirl meant for the stage of the world.
A lonely night again with your song. Couch pillows tossed to the floor, a candle burning down to a wick that eats the flame. Wine bottles decorate the kitchen table, empty, the liquid tussling your imagination as if someone took a feather and tickled your curiosity until it came out like a laugh you never thought you had. Your body misses the touchstone indentations the girl once kissed into your skin. You play with the thought of another first date and the way you would never miss the mark again. She might give you a medal for the way you shoot your way into her heart.
The journal in front of you becomes the friend you can tell all your secrets to. Honesty flows from your lips, exhaling victorious enlightenment, and you figure out the answers to the questions you never asked, so remarkably content in the mood that has overtaken you. The television muted. The refrigerator humming in the kitchen. The solitary car horn at midnight makes you think she came back for more, so you open the door and find disappointment waiting for you on the curb. So typical: the daily highs and sub-zero lows you ride. One moment everything is fine, and you realize where your life must go; and then the shadow comes with its cryptic music, the second-guessing, your fears materializing into tears you refuse to cry so you shower and walk with wet feet down the hall to get the towel you forgot to hang on the door, soggy footprints slowly erased by the heat of the empty apartment that wonders why all its space has gone so poorly unused.
A girl approaches you at the bar and asks to take you home. Her front door creaks. She says her roommate is sleeping. So quietly she undresses you. But she’s not the same: her dark hair doesn’t play with her shoulders the right way, her lips not as competent as the other girl whose kiss spins like a record in your mind, stuck on the repeat you so desperately wish to skip past. And the song you thought you knew changes its lyrics and you forget the words so you let your jeans fall to your ankles, and think what the hell while this other girl figures you out in the dark. You wait for her to say I need you. But she already dismantled you on this night she will never give back. And your apartment lets you in at 3am, and your bed wonders why you smell like a foreigner, and the toothbrush just won’t let you forget the girl you wish you never went home with.
If only for a night, you hope the sad Leonard Cohen song you have fallen in love with would have a happy ending, so that you wouldn’t have to tread into that blizzard of ice the sometimes girl left for you to figure out. And you listen and listen and listen to Leonard’s song so many times that the lyrics become a lullaby you fall asleep with, so you can dream all your mighty dreams that can cure the broken palpitations your chest sends out into the expansive darkness, wondering if someone who understands acoustic tomography can measure your frozen temperature while you sit on the ocean floor of your miscalculations, lost in milky white dream thoughts that always end with girl welcoming you back into the perfect storm she conjured for your tornado chasing heart.