This is a series of stories inspired by background music. My clearest memories are often tied to the music playing nearby. Like mile markers or souvenirs from a road trip, there are songs that point directly to certain moments. Life is a highway and these are the loudest billboards.
This is a story about the first time my wife heard Nothing Matters When We're Dancing by The Magnetic Fields, the last song we danced to at our wedding.
"Do you think we'll ever leave Illinois?"
"I think so."
I take a bite of the liquefying $3.89 Blizzard perched on the armrest between us.
She nods and sighs, "Growing up is different than I expected. It's a lot more waiting around than I wanted."
She takes a bite of the same mushy $3.89 Blizzard and turns to watch the rain pummel the parking lot.
"I like this song."
She doesn't usually like songs the first time they're played. Always needs to hear them more than once before she can say that.
I whip my head around, clumsily finishing the chorus in a weak baritone that sounds like Tom Waits with his mouth full, "Nothing matters when we're dancing"
I hold the note out long enough to be funny, but not long enough to get old. I know when to stop, my comedic intuition is strong.
I check my email for a response about a possible job. It's 3:45 on a Sunday. I know this too.
"I'm glad I met you." She says.
"I'm glad I met you too" I reply, impressed by my own words.
I turn the key in the ignition, the car shudders to life. The wipers start their frenzied dance across the windshield.
"We can do this. Whatever the next step ends up being, we'll take it, even if it's a small step. Like a curb or something." I say as I pull out of the parking lot, "There's better ways to say that, but you know what I mean."
She picks up the 12-ounce cup of Blizzard soup and puts it to her lips. She smiles, puts her head back and finishes the last of the ice cream in one gulp.
And I know I'll never love anyone as much as I do now.