The way things go
Listen to this, he says, and he puts it in. The CD changer grinds a dry grinding sound and for a moment there's nothing. The CD is in and there's nothing but the sound of driving, traffic and the hush of air, the interior of the closed car, compression, the windows up and the suck of sound the trees make as you pass them on the road. This isn't the first time he's done this. This isn't the first time he's done this for me or probably even for others with this CD and we drive, an afternoon indistinguishable and blue, and we drive, it's winter and the countryside, and we drive, and the digits of time on the dash are gone, blinked out. The first song on the CD registers 01, registers 00:00.
The promise is that this could be a beginning. This could be when I see. This could be enlightenment, ecstasy, when I see and see as if for the first time, time from this moment, hear now, from here now when we were in the car and in the pause, as the final zero goes to one and the silence fills up everything, when I would find the words which were someone else's words and then need words no more.
I really think you might like this, he says, and searches for a second for something to say about it, some fact, some factoid, some detail from the making-of or something from the linear notes, not really because I need to know or even, after all, because he does think in fact I'll like it, but just in case I don't. It's his safety line out of the suspense of the promise and the seconds it takes for the song to start. I say nothing though. I say nothing and make no move to shift away from the center of suspense, nothing to save myself from the full force of anticipation. I act as if I do not hear, focusing instead on the first of the sounds that has yet to come, not accepting the way out, the alternative, casual conversation, not accepting anything that would modify of modulate this waiting. Everything is heightened. Every detail sharp as frost. Every scent like the last scent forever. The CD dash time registers two, and then three, zero-zero-colon-zero-three, and then we know I'll know immediately, and either I will wonder what he was thinking and if he even knows who I am, sinking into isolation in my seatbelt, on my side of the car, or otherwise I will be transported, transfixed, transformed. Everything will be beautiful. Everything changed. And I will say damn.
Then there's the first note, a base note, a line. And there I am.