I know that today’s the day you drive West, but there are hours left yet in this city and you want to drive me home. Wooden doors with brass handles swing behind me and I’m leaving you at the corner of State and Adams, but something takes me with you and I swallow good intentions, spat out by a workday without reservation, and I’m at your car and coming. I play with your radio dial and you tell me this is far from home for you. You’re far from home for me.
I’m giving the directions; you’re calling the shots. We veer off the freeway to the grid of suburban streets. I know the turns you’ve never seen and we’re not ready to go home. Tonight in the sports store, my expertise was in rock climbing and water skiing and I wanted to teach you both. Like kids, we tore equipment off the walls to play in the aisles. No one ever showed me how to hold a stick before, or measured the right one for me. I saw a name I knew and it was a Penguin from your city. I spent all my tips and we ate sour patch kids on the way to the game.
The game was just an empty parking lot. And just us and our new gear. A thunderstorm brewing chased us out after a while, but left us time. Enough time for passes to hit the plastic end of the stick with a slap, for your tricks to blow by me on a break-away, for the light posts to be goals, and my body to block yours which pressed into me from stealing our puck off my stick. It poured and we ran, all out of breath, me out of shape, leaning and reaching, slapping sticks, laughing, shouting, and breathing the raindrops right out of their pattern to the ground.
In from the rain, you took me home and I wished we were what we appeared to be as you tuned my guitar and talked sports with my dad. Mom knew I never played, but she didn’t let on, just invited you in under the pretense and listened to you strum for me from inside. We sat on the porch, like we often talk of doing, you playing for me all the songs that I love, while lightening hid in the clouds and my mom dried your clothes.
As you left to go pack and pick up your pal, we forgot almost everything we came to the house for. The hockey pucks stayed and the cooler should’ve gone but your hoodie was warm right out of the dryer. And you’d never forget to love me, ‘cause you embraced me for a long time and then drove West.