California Dreaming and Other Lifeboats

California Dreaming and Other Lifeboats
May 5, 2017 Brandon
Laid up in my friend’s jeep, humming along to 93.5 tracks that bring you back: hip-hop and freestyle mixtures that stand as place holders for those hot summer days, riding on your best friend’s pegs as youth of the 90s.
And now, I am here–crispy from the sun and ocean salt, ass chaffing from the sand, singing Biggie’s “Juicy.” And not quite relating to the lyrics but remembering with an ache the whose and the what’s and the where’s that only a song like that can stir– “it was all a dream!” The words, living beyond Notorious B.I.G.’s probably personally meaning, flapping in the air as if that phrase belonged to anyone who had ears and a mouth to sing.
And how one song can open you up to a past, to a time, an era–Tupac, Selena–my favorites.
And releases every locked in fantasy from that phase of life to present tense, from there to here–blurring. Rushing over me, mixing me up like the hot air from the open window and the AC pouring straight down my face.
And a boy from Michigan, calling Los Angeles home, loving the west coast, learning daily that life won’t turn out “that” way, and it also won’t turn out that “other” way, but if I’m lucky enough, the space of a Sunday afternoon drive is filled with stand-still moments that extend into the rest of my life.
It’s the golden thread of living.
The fact that songs can weave together our stories from every corner of our lives–our childhood home, teenage-shattered-heart, and young adult visions of grandeur–into a present-tense masterpiece of chuckles and ice-coffee dripping onto my sunburnt thighs, isn’t what I imagined as the culmination of my life of stories. Nor is it perfect. But it’s what was delivered to me on the waves of a beach-day, radio-blaring afternoon. And it is whole and complete.


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