“I Wish I Had A River I Could Skate Away On”

Preamble: I’ve mentioned in earlier segments that I spend a bit of time finding the songs for each post. It’s not only choosing an appropriate song, but it’s choosing the rendition of that song. In some cases, I have gone away from the tried and true, because there’s a new one that sounds inviting and fresh. In others, like today’s and Monday’s, sometimes the original just can’t be improved upon, even by some of the best singers you could imagine. If you have never heard Joni Mitchell sing “River,” listen. Her voice is a crystalline instrument of musical joy.


Part 17 in Thurmount Holiday (see the category  “Thurmount Holiday” for the other entries).

Megan slides in behind the steering wheel, sending me an amazed gaze. “What is this? Why are you crying? Why aren’t you with Will? That was an amazing video!”

Can you cry with enthusiasm? I think I am. The more she asks the harder I cry.

“What’s with you?”

“I love him,” I say.

“Yeah, and?”

“He could have died yesterday.”

I don’t need to look at her to know she’s rolled her eyes. I think they swirled around so hard in the sockets it was audible.

“And?”

“I could have lost him.”

“But you didn’t.”

“I know. But it could have happened. I love him and I could have lost him and then I would have been alone and then what? What if I lost him? We have known each other since I was an inch tall.”

“Don’t think that’s possible or if it was, kind of gross to think about.”

“But, Megan, don’t you see?”

“No. I can honestly admit I don’t.”

“What if we start living together and I drive him crazy? What if he never wants to see me again? What if . . .” I trail off. I know there was another one.

“I thought you were the smart sister. Wrong.”

“Don’t you see?”

“No. Will you stop? If you keep on like this, I am going to violate the sister code and seduce him myself and then you’ll have something to cry about.”

I grin.

“Why are you smiling? You don’t think I can seduce Will?”

I dab the tissue on my eyes. I probably look at least like a raccoon or worse, well, let’s not consider worse.

“For argument’s sake, let’s say, ‘sure.’”

“My god, you really don’t think I could do it.”

“It’s not you. It’s Will. Will is probably the best guy who has ever walked this planet…you know, next to the Dalai Lama and Ghandi and . . .”

“Got it. Let’s not list them all.”

“When I woke up this morning, I felt weird, like I want him for my entire life, but I am so crazy about him that if something happened to him I don’t know what would happen to me.”

Megan nods. “Okay. I think I understand that. But, crap, Kay, that’s life. You just make the most of what you have.”

“I know. I realized that last night. But when I woke this morning all I could think of is pushing him away because I don’t want to lose him. And, that sounds crazy to my ears even as I’m saying it.”

“I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks it sounds crazy,” Megan says and then laughs.

I half-heartedly laugh too and dab some more at my eyes.

“Kay?”

“Hmm?”

“He’s over there, standing by the door.”

I look toward the outside door of the school just north of the auditorium. He’s there leaning on his crutches, watching us from under the brim of his baseball cap. My heart flipflops.

“Can you drive us to his house?” I ask.

“Sure thing.”

He looks at me warily as I approach, but those aquamarine eyes of his never leave my face. I wrap my arms around his waist, inside of his coat, and he leans his chin down on my head.

“What’s it mean, Kay?”

“Megan’s going to drive us to your place. Is that okay?”

“Yeah,” he says, his voice, quiet, low. That single word makes my body ache with want.

Yes, I press my cheek to his chest, against the soft flannel of his shirt, inhale the scent of him, that I’ve known for so many years. I hear his heartbeat. His heartbeat. The steady rhythm that is Will. I won’t curse for the days I’ve missed. I will no longer prattle about what may. I have right now.

end 12/21/2016

S. Darlington

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