Burn the Mandolin
I fell in love forever the weekend after Mother’s Day 1996. It started as a spur-of-the-moment decision to drive to the ocean with a girl I had no serious chance with. Twenty years and two kids later, I watched from bed as she got dressed for church and I asked what she remembered about why we didn’t sleep for 48 hours when we got to the beach.
The short version is this: We stayed on a boat. We literally threw off our watches. We drank Molson Golden (because that was exotic to two Alabama kids in the 90s). We talked forever. The sun burned our backs. We ignored the sleepy darkness because we realized that every tiny detail would decide if this new love would float or sink. And since morning brings fresh minds that overanalyze and try to argue with the heart … By God, there’d be no sleeping.
Somewhere in the journey, she asked if my guitar had a name. It had never crossed my mind. So I carved her middle name on its back with a butcher knife. (it’s in the details y’all :)
This little movie, of course, had it’s own soundtrack too. The tracks I can't forget are:
- America, Sister Golden Hair
- George Huntley (of the Connells) Catch Fire
- Grateful Dead, Brokedown Palace
- Bread, Everything I Own
When I hear them now, there’s joy and so much appreciation for the bravery, and stubborn belief in true love, that helped us seize OUR TIME. That told us, without watches, that it was exactly the second to sink or swim. And so, powered by adrenaline, endorphins, beer, God and good music, we didn't dare close our eyes.
We were right on the same page, but I sometimes wonder how it could have gone horribly wrong. “I’m tired, I’m going to bed,” she’d say. And what if I let her go without staring into half-open eyes and telling all the stories I knew up until then? What if the music stopped? What if we didn’t see the sun rise together and know that it was everything?
We’re more tired now. And, with way more than the sun and moon and each other’s faces vying for our attention, it’s so hard to remember that the details of today are just as important as they were when we knew to fight at staying woke.
Let’s love like it’s all on the line. Like tomorrow we might wake up as just friends. And every now and then, lets burn the candle at both ends so we never know the longing David Gates warned us about: "I would give everything I own, just to have you back again.”