This is the situation, and I get a sort of twisted pleasure every time I dream about it: I'm driving, and I must be on my way to Stout, for the railroad tracks are an exact likeness to the ones that cross that particular path.
I'm listening, loudly, to "Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl." This is a particularly important song to me, for it evokes a memory inside of me, a memory both sweet and heart-crushingly sad in nature. It's the day after Luke's funeral, and Missy and I are in Sam's bedroom, just about to drive back to school. Sam puts this song on, and we lay back on his bed, holding hands, with Missy in the middle, as usual. And this song plays, mixing the emotion of the lyrics and rhythm of the music with the emotion of our hearts and the rhythm of our breathing. Looking back on this moment, it's surprising how much I felt and how much I remember, for the moment ended with the last breath of the song. I remember a deep sense of calm, a true calm, not like the facade I'd been putting on all weekend. And I remember thinking about Luke, of course. Thinking about his goofy giggle and his startling, profound presence. I think it was easier to think about him, with Missy and Sam right beside me, instead of alone. That's what that one song means to me. That's why it is so important that it's the song that's playing. I just thought you should know that.
As I near the tracks, I notice three seemingly important, but rather unsignificant, things. I notice that a train is coming, so close I could probably see the conductor's panic-stricken face, if I had wanted. I notice that I'm wearing the simple, blue bracelet Sam's mom made for me. I notice that my brakes are out. How symbolic. And then, in true McWatt fashion, as I realize I'm fucked, I'm thinking, "Oh well, what the hell."
It's a fantasy of my own death, written and choreographed by me. It's almost amusing: the brakes on my car have a habit of stopping only when they feel like, so it's even plausible. My dad keeps planning on fixing them, saying, "Oh sure, hon, first priority when you're home for the summer." As he cracks open a cold one and sinks into the couch to watch highlights of some already-forgotten basketball or football or whatsitball game. I wonder if I should tell him not to fix my brakes, tell him I need them to go out, tell him it's my time, tell him how poetic that death would be. But no, he wouldn't understand. I don't even understand. I wonder how that conversation would go. He would probably look at me like I was crazy, like my family often does, yell something incoherent about baseball and the American Dream, and run off, leaving me to fix the brakes myself. Thanks, dad.
But, really, I don't want my life to end quite yet. As of late, I've been strangely happy. Even though I am discontent with my location, will soon be swarmed with bills, and I'm missing someone terribly. Yeah, I'm still happy. No sarcasm.
And it's not like I'm going to drive about hoping for a train to cross my path. I'm not going to drive without a particular reason. Gas is too expensive.