By the time we got to Saturday I’d run out of things to complain about. Leonard Cohen was dead and Donald Trump President Elect—and it looked like rain the rest of the week, but that’s what you expect from November.
Anthony got a new record player I wanted, and with my birthday a few weeks away I thought I could get one too, but Dawn acted coy in the car and I thought fine, I’ll just buy it myself—and we crossed the bridge, I looked back, and the dog stared off at the lights across the water and Charlotte, passed out in her seat—and I thought isn’t this great, I said so much to Dawn and she smiled, she knew it too, we both did.
I checked the dimensions and Dawn was right, the book shelf in our garage is deep enough you could fit albums in it, and I have several hundred from my stepdad in the upper loft I’ve kept wanting to bring in and go through, but my record player sounds bad so I just keep putting it off.
Charlotte had her last soccer game and we got a sunbreak they call it, and though it was windy as hell and the sky kind of trippy, that mid-November effect with the light a volcanic orange, pink and yellow: we cheered them on but they got their asses kicked, and they’re at an age (we all are) it doesn’t matter a bit, and Dawn reserved the back room for us at the brewhouse for a celebration afterwards to thank our coach and hand out pictures, and when we got home we tried to nap but had to get up and on to the next thing—and later the moon was out, I went down in the den and turned the lights out and sat down to write, remembered some things about our day, the way the kids were and how we talked, our friends, and it seemed for once to be true, nothing matters much, the good or the bad, you choose to opt in or out, it depends on how much you want to feel about things, how much you’re willing to live.
I switched out the amp with a different one Mike gave me, and the record player worked great. I put on a Miles Davis album from ’72 and jacked the volume, and had to laugh. All those albums from my stepdad John, he kept them in some built-in cabinetry in their place in Pennsylvania and not once can I remember him playing even one of those albums. He played guitar and other instruments, didn’t have to play records. And when he couldn’t play anymore and it was time for him to go, he knew it, and that was it.
I grabbed more records from the loft (Sonny and Cher, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens: it goes on and on). I lit a candle and listened to the space between the sides, with the clock ticking and the sound the dog makes, between dreams. It’s so gray here and damp, everything outside bent over, drooping. Nick Cave said about Leonard Cohen he was dark, but good-natured about it. It’s like that darkness is something we have to accept and understand we’re a part of too, it’s a part of us, no different than the light.