My Story in Song: Part 5
“Okay, time for round two.”
Another day, another challenge for New Kid, who was once again in the passenger seat of my car, blue iPod in hand.
“This time, try to figure out what my favourite song is.”
He was doomed to fail right from the start. My bubbly, cheerful mood, and my polka-dot skirt, sneakers, and pink jean jacket – a look that he teasingly referred to as my sock-hop outfit – definitely read more “Top 40's” than “Punk Princess.”
After three pitiful attempts to peg me as a pop, rap, or boy band aficionado, I had mercy on the poor boy and directed him to Newfound Glory’s remake of the classic song, Kiss Me.
The timing couldn’t have been better. I was taking a turn onto a quiet country road, and we were perched on the edge of a steep incline. With the music turned up as high as our ears could tolerate, the car dipped low and careened down the hill to the rhythmic pounding of the double bass. The rush of wind through the open windows made it feel like we were flying, and I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt so free.
But however pleasant the car ride may have been, it wasn’t the source of my newfound freedom. No, that had come after stepping out in faith and leaving my boyfriend. Freed from the burden of needing to fight tooth and nail to “make it work” with someone who was so clearly wrong for me, I felt like I could breathe again.
I was finally free to just be me – the me that I was before my ill-advised attempt to force love’s hand.
I wasn’t exactly sure of where I was going or what I was doing, but that was okay. Better than okay. In fact, for a wannabe nomad like myself, it was great.
“Does your boyfriend like punk too?”
I internally winced. And not just because my ex and I had rarely agreed on anything.
New Kid didn’t know about the breakup yet. To be fair, it had only happened a few hours ago. I hadn’t said anything, not wanting to make things weird, but I was going to have to tell him about it sooner or later. I steeled myself, lowered the volume and stated plainly,
“We broke up this morning.”
“But I’m fine,” I immediately amended.
And I was. That didn’t surprise me. My ex had never been my type, was never the kind of man I needed. I wasn’t right for him, either. I knew this early on, but I ignored it, first out of pride - ‘What will people think if things end so soon?’ - then guilt - ‘If I leave him now, he’ll be a wreck’ - then finally, fear - ‘Who’s going to want me now?’
In truth, I had gotten to the end of my rope years ago, but today was the day I finally made the decision to let it go.
New Kid didn’t seem to believe me, however, at least not if the well-intentioned but very awkward consolation speech he launched into was anything to go by. For the next few minutes, I let him talk, worrying that this would change things all the while. My ex had been a great buffer between myself and the romance-phobic man beside me. But now he was gone, and I had no idea of how New Kid would react.
Once he wrapped up the monologue, I again insisted that I was fine. He was quiet for a moment, and my heart began to sink.
He doesn’t believe me.
But then, as though making a decision, he suddenly seemed to shake it off, returning to his usual self – which, for the record, was still guarded, but also quirky, funny, and adventurous.
Whew! That was a close one.
By the time our day had come to an end – one torrential downpour and several thrift store fashion faux pas later – everything was back to normal. And I was beyond grateful.
“You look good,” my mom commented as I walked through the door that night.
“Thanks. I feel good.”
And I really did. As I washed up for dinner, I smiled to myself as I recalled the events of the day. My favourite moment had been when we had stopped for ice cream, and I’d inadvertently quoted New Kid’s favourite author. The way he fell over onto the table, he might as well have been shot through the heart, save for the smile of pure contentment on his lips.
“Ah, you can’t quote Chesterton to me,” he purred languidly, hand outstretched, mere inches from my face.
“Why?” I quipped with a wry smirk. “Are we bound for life now?”
Standing over my sink, I chuckled to myself. Best friends for life. That wouldn’t be so bad. But that’s when my heart was suddenly gripped with fear, a dread so powerful that it felt like a physical blow. It stole my breath and left me weak, grasping the edge of the sink for support.
What if something happens to him? What happens when he leaves?
I took a deep breath and prayed, leaving his safety in God's hands. Another breath, another prayer, this time one of gratitude for our friendship. In time, my racing heart slowed to its normal pace. But...
What was that?
Maybe it was an aftershock from panic.
Maybe New Kid was different. Maybe he was special. Maybe I was getting accustomed to the bright light he shone in my life, and maybe I was terrified of losing it.
Listen to Kiss Me here