My Dad’s house is out in the country, about a twenty minute drive from my Mom’s–twenty-five if you drive slow, which we do. Once we pass the Burger King it’s all long, straight, open road. There’s grass–some perfectly manicured, some wild, and cornfields, and houses scattered at a seemingly agreed upon wide but equal distance. The road begs us to keep driving; there are stoplights that stay green until the rare vehicle rolls in from the other direction and hits the sensor.
The air is better here; it’s the one thing this city girl will concede, and tonight, it’s balmy and sweet. It’s around 830pm–we’ve still got our Ray-Bans on because the sun isn’t done–she spent the day out in full force toasting all the driveways and rooftops and now she hangs around as long as she can to admire what she’s created–a perfect warm summer night. We open every window of our pristine white compact rental car and let the breeze carry out all of our busy thoughts. My huge head of hair blows softly in every direction and curls around and whispers in my ear, “why don’t we do this all the time?”
I’m driving, my hubs is my co-pilot and DJ. I gladly concede the captain’s chair and reverse these roles everywhere else we travel, but I always take the wheel in my hometown; there’s something about gliding down familiar streets and dipping through secret neighborhood shortcuts that I’ll never give up.
My guy plays all the right tunes. T.I.’s Whatever You Like is one of the first we hear while we are still in town. I attempt to set the bass to the back and turn it up as we slow into an intersection, knowing the cars next to us will inevitably glance over in envying curiosity.
As we exit suburban civilization the hubs spins How to Love by Lil Wayne and I swoon. This song came out when we first started dating; the warm wind is now awash with the most precious memories–subway rides, falafel, walks to my apartment. I can’t help myself, I grab his head and gently corral him over the center console and plant one right on him.
Finally we make a right, we’ve still got a nice stretch of road in front of us before we make the left into my Dad’s subdivision. My hubs nails it: Young Forever by Jay-Z. We sing along to the intro and as the beat starts our heads begin to bob in unison. Then comes the first verse, our hands fly out the window and we spit along, line by line:
So we livin’ life like a video
Where the sun is always out and you never get old
And the champagne’s always cold and the music is always good
And the pretty girls just happen to stop by in the hood
And they hop they pretty ass up on the hood of that pretty ass car
Without a wrinkle in today, cuz there’s no tomorrow
Just a picture perfect day that last a whole lifetime
And it never ends cause all we have to do is hit rewind
So let’s just stay in the moment, smoke some weed, drink some wine
Reminisce, talk some shit, forever young is in your mind
Leave a mark they can’t erase, neither space nor time
So when the director yells cut, I’ll be fine
I’m forever young
The hook comes in and then the second verse. I peer through my aviators across the car to the passenger seat; I put one eye back on the road and leave the other on the bald guy in his mid-thirties rapping like a teenager. I chuckle to myself as I envision the oversized white tee and baggy jean shorts he would be wearing in a situation like this twenty years ago. I chuckle more when I think how he could never have imagined this moment when he was 16–his black wife driving him through country roads in Michigan listening to Jay-Z. Neither of us could have picked out any of this–and it’s perfect. I drive past my Dad’s, the song’s not over and I won’t be robbed of one single second.
There are times that I look back on and think, wow, that was great, I wish I could do that again. Then there are the moments of pure magic–time slows and I’m completely present in all the joy and wonder, simultaneously I pray that the moment will never end. When I’m right in the middle of it, I know it’s a moment I’ll relive over and over again in my mind, for the rest of my life. It’s that good.
Life, can be so good.