Magic

I remember being a teenager, eating dinner with my family, and dancing in the kitchen afterwards. My Dad would wash the dishes, my Mom and I would dry them, we’d turn up the radio, she’d be giggling after her evening glass of wine, and we’d dance. Jim would scoop ice cream out of the container and into his mouth in between the pots and pans. Do you believe in magic, in a young girl’s heart… Jim would complain the music was too loud, we’d laugh and turn it up, Mom would be dancing with the dog, and it really was magic. I wish I could put those moments inside of a snow globe and look at it when I miss my old life; I wonder if passerby’s in cars outside would look up at our illuminated house and think what a perfect life. There we were in our galley kitchen, dancing on outdated linoleum floors, without a care in the world. Do you believe in magic? Come along with me, we’ll dance until morning just you and me.

When I was a teenager, my Dad and I had a Sunday morning tradition. We would get in the car just the two of us, early in the morning, and we would go to a little, old-timey grocery store; Jim was in charge of the music and I was his copilot. He would pull the Lincoln out of the garage and would open my car door for me. His Dad had a Lincoln too. On a summer’s morning, we’d open the sun roof and he’d turn the radio all the way up, well I remember, I remember, don’t worry, how could I ever forget, it’s the first time, the last time we ever met. We would pick out Danishes for breakfast; Jim would give me his wallet and he would smoke outside, while I paid. The little store had antique toy cars all over, and played Jim’s favorite music. A father and son worked behind the deli, and they would sing too, well I’ve been waiting for this moment for all of my life.

On Jim’s birthday, we went to a little restaurant that reminds Jim of the time he was in Germany. I wore my pompom sweater, Ab had two glasses of Chardonnay, and Jim drank a beer. We laughed and ate, and ate some more. It was such a good night. Darren teased Jim, and Ab flirted and laughed, and we were all so happy, that was only a few months ago. On the way home, we listened to songs that reminded me of when I was little. Ab and Jim sat in the back seat, and we sang. But they’re so spaced out, BBBBBBBennie and the jets, oh but they’re weird and they’re wonderful. We got stopped at a routine traffic stop and Ab couldn’t help but uncontrollably giggle when he asked if I’d been drinking. I smiled and said, “No, but they have been.”

We’re driving home from a day full of appointments. I put on a playlist that I named “Jim and Ab.” I listen to it on my way home from work on nights when they’ll be asleep when I come in. Jim is sleeping in the back seat now, his wheelchair is in my trunk, and I feel faint with hunger; I forgot to eat. I hit play. Do me wrong, do me right, tell me lies, but hold me tight. Save your goodbyes for the morning light, but don’t let me be lonely tonight.  I look in the rear-view mirror and I see silent tears drip down Ab’s face.

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