I have my hands on the steering wheel, flying up highway 44, driving in and out of the past and present. I am feeling the wind on my face, seeing sunflowers and laughing out loud at hearing Afro Man for the first (and possibly the last) time. In reality, the windows are rolled up, the fields are green and the news is on. On this road I battled my fear of traffic, shed tears in pouring rain, snailed through blowing snow and endured the vertigo of newly paved asphalt and an equally black sky.
I drove up and down this stretch of highway hundreds of time because,
I was in love.
My first love.
My first for almost everything – my first time getting drunk, my first time to lie about where exactly I was spending the night, my first cross country road trip complete with food poisoning from gas station food... but, as with most great first loves, this one was followed by equally great first heart break. The only cure for which, I admit with embarrassment, was sitting in the shower, crying, while eating vanilla yogurt. If I had had my umbrella at the time, I would have taken it into the shower with me (for dramatic effect), but then I didn't get the umbrella until my honeymoon.
When I finally decided to get out of the shower, dry off and leave my self pity and lost dreams behind, I had found an unexplainable confidence in love. A confidence that carried me through the summer, from work to play, passing on one boy after the other, because my confidence in love did not by any means imply a confidence in men.
When I did find love, I found a boy, who is now sitting in the car beside me flying up highway 44 because,
he is in love.
My first skipped class. My first music festival. My first cup of coffee. My first late night study partner (and no, late night studying is not a euphemism for anything else). My first back packing trip. My first and only terrifying jaunt in a tiny boat on the giant ocean. My first for so many more things, and as with all great loves, this one has great heart aches. Love isn't a destination anymore waiting for me at the end of a highway, love is the highway. Sometimes there is unnerving traffic, rain, snow and a touch of vertigo, but more often there is wind in my face, flowers on the side of the road and I am belting along to the silliest song I can find on the radio.