“Well the sun is surely sinking down, but the moon is slowly rising. So this old world must still be spinning around, and I still love you.”
I hit up the James Taylor concert at Jones Beach on Saturday night. This is the third time I’ve seen him perform and it was his best concert ever. After his first song, he stood alone, blue button-down shirt and dark jeans and said “This is what I’d call a perfect summer night.” And it was. James Taylor on a stage out in the open air, with the boats in the bay to the left and the Atlantic ocean on the right. During the concert, the sky was slashed with pink and it reflected on the water, rippling the waves below a hazy purple.
He played all the good ones and my FAVORITE obscure tunes as well including “Never Die Young”, “On The 4th Of July”, “The Water Is Wide” (with Andrea Zonn on violin, INCREDIBLE!!!) and the Dixie Chicks’ “Some Days You Gotta Dance.” He ended his first set sitting alone on a stool singing “Fire and Rain” and the tears fell steadily from my eyes as the sun set behind him. His very last song was “You Can Close Your Eyes”. Three back up singers and James Taylor, in perfect harmony, singing, singing, “You can sing this song when I’m gone…” It could be in my Top 5 songs of all time.
It was the kind of evening that filled my soul with purity and peace, the kind of night that will carry me through the hard ones to come. I just need to close my eyes and will myself back to that place, listening to the music, the violin, the guitar, the flute, the breeze, the smell of saltwater, the company of close friends. Afterwards, we had a reverse-tailgate party in order to avoid being in the steady line of cars waiting to depart the parking lot. We stood around with James Taylor blaring from the car, drinking coffee and tea and eating strawberries and Milano cookies. Ah. Perfection.
I barely saw any fireworks today. I spent the day/evening at my Tommy’s house, where everyone was having fun except Tom who remains in California on a beach somewhere, getting sunburned. Missing Tom is not like a huge gaping whole in my heart but rather a tiny persistent nagging in my ear. There is always something I want to tell him, always a question I want to ask him, always a story he could tell better. I feel inadequate in his absence. We are a comic duo and I am not funny when he is not around.
I lounged in the hammock today, watched the cousins in the pool. I bounced with 5 year-old Clare on the trampoline, she screamed with delight and had chocolate sauce around her lips. I migrated from group to group, talking in a chair, slapping mosquitos on my shins. We joked and laughed and then got serious for awhile…until something erupted us into laughter again.
I sang at the piano while the men played guitars. We sang “Across The Universe” and I thought of Gus James and smiled. We sang “Sweet Baby James” and “Yesterday” and “Teach Your Children” and “In The Palm Of Your Hand”. Sweetly harmonizing, I had forgotten how much fun it is just to sing. To sing for the joy of it, not for anyone else to hear.
I feel vulnerable now with no steady job and no set schedule. I want to be taken care of and I want someone to lean on. There is pressure on me from every angle that tells me that I am getting older and soon my time will run out. If I don’t find a boy to marry soon, the world will collapse and my ovaries will stop working. This is the kind of pressure that I succumb to. I find myself in an anxious state, wondering if I should just commit to someone, anyone, just to be sure I don’t lose out in the long run. I am screaming in my head that I AM NOT READY but nobody hears me.
Nobody seems to understand why, at 22, I don’t want to be committed. I don’t feel the need to commit to anyone and yet at the same time, I’m terrified that when I’m 38, I’ll turn around and no one will be there. No one will want me. No one to rub my back and make me waffles for breakfast. What kind of life is there for me if I run away from men who love me? Why do I run? Where am I going? In a circle I think. Around and around. Where I stop, nobody knows!
Someone spoke today about how much easier it is to have kids when you are young. You have more energy, a smoother delivery, a quicker recovery. This is not the kind of advice I need to hear. I need to hear that I CAN take all the time I need in this life. Why, so young, do I feel that time is whizzing by and I only have a few years left to go. Is this true? Maybe in a few years I will meet a tragic demise and never ever know a husband or a child.
My, this is getting to be a bleak piece of writing. And it started off so upbeat! And why is my life now all about men and relationships? Since when did that become the focus of my writing and my thoughts? The subject needs to be replaced. I need to focus on a career (what career!?) or SOMETHING that gives my life meaning. I feel like I’m wasting too much energy on things that shouldn’t matter, questions that get too philosophical, themes that are subject to over-analysis. It’s not healthy, don’t you think?
I want to stop turning somersaults in my head over boys. I want to have some sort of career path lined up. I want a steady paycheck so that I can stop worrying and crying over the bills I have to pay. I want to take ballet regularly or at least have enough money so that when the leaves begin to change color, I can buy a pair of corduroy pants. I have always loved those.
Last night, I pulled a pair of sweatpants out of the dresser that haven’t been worn since I spent last fall in Buffalo. They smelled of my apartment. In a flash, I was back there, taking a late afternoon walk and bypassing all the houses and their Halloween decorations. The memory startled me and I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. My first very-own-place in a very safe town, at a tumultuous time in my life.
I hope in a year, the memory of my current apartment in Queens will smack me across the face as I’m somewhere else, doing something unimportant. Perhaps I will sigh and think, “Wow. That was so long ago and I miss it so very much.” Even better, I hope I will think, “I have come so far since then.” Progress. Moving forward. Changing little by little every day. I can own that. I can do it. So can you. Peace.