Today’s the day you drive West and so I woke up early so I could try and wear my hair in a way that isn’t your favorite to wash away the fantasy that you’ll miss me and you’re mine. Even in my advocate efforts, I thought all morning about what I might bring for you, you know, to see you off. Something small for you to have in your car while you drive. Everything was trivial, childish. But what, then, is the wind-up panda bear that hangs from my rear-view mirror? You gave it to me at the zoo while we sipped slurpees through whistling straws.
I feel young this week. Much younger than you, maybe even my full thirteen years behind with all the ways you’ve been dating your music and television lately. You sometimes try to separate us like that, but you left me your sweatshirt the other day at the zoo and I wore until it didn’t smell like you anymore. When I gave it back, I’m sure it smelled like me. I hope you’ll take it with you to the West coast, where the sun beats down hard, and your black sweatshirt will melt in the car.
I saw your face light up while you traced your drive through the Rockies as you told me where you’d stop on the way. Denver after too many hours with no sleep and a place called Tombstone where there’s movies and music. You said it’s certain, no Las Vegas, and I was glad. There’s a lot to do and you’re afraid it will be chaotic, but I know it will be relaxing and exciting. I just hope you don’t drag too much over missing the Stanley Cup, watching your home team play in the finals. I know you love it, and I only do because of you. Everyone wonders why I care about the Penguins, I grew up in Chicago. I don’t tell then that it’s easier to pour into loving your team, than to complicate things and get any more involved with you.
I’ll love the Penguins for you while you’re away. But as I pin back my hair, I decide not to bring you anything for the trip. I’ll spend something like ten dollars once you start texting me and I’ll update you on the hockey games while you drive through the night. You’ll love me for that, and there’s still nothing between us but miles and miles of road for this one week.