This is a rewrite of the original draft, which remains private. This post has been redacted to protect the innocent. I wish I could give you more. Maybe someday.
It was a hard year. I was lost and alone.
Lame, I know. Cut me some slack. I was 22.
“You know I’d rather be alone than be without you…” ~Stevie Nicks
“And the rain comes down; there’s no pain and there’s no doubt…”
When someone says, “I will always love you,” take note: I later sifted that clue and found nothing.
All I wanted was to feel the softness of her hair. Now, in the latter day, I feel my wife’s soft hair every night, and it is everything I imagined and wanted it to be, and more.
Sometimes I look back at it and wonder how I survived. I remember that time, but in a way that I am almost viewing it as a stranger inside myself.
I won’t say it was the loneliest time, but I will say it was my most lost time.
A lot happened to me in 1985, and almost no one except myself witnessed it or knew it happened. I took a trip to New York City, I worked at the daily newspaper at the college, I got kicked out of my rooming house, I worked as a stringer for the Associated Press. In the late fall I got a job at the newspaper in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
That was the Autumn of Ice. I’ll come back to that.
That summer, though, was … well, it was named “The Summer of Private Drama.” It started out like just another summer. School was out and I worked a summer job at the daily newspaper at the college. I wore cut-offs that weren’t very well cut off.
In July, I drove to Missouri to see an ex-girlfriend, and when I left for home after that visit, about as awkwardly and uncomfortably unwelcome as I even felt, I stopped shaving, and have worn a beard from that day to this one.
By November I had my first full-time newspaper job, in Shawnee, Oklahoma. I still lived in Norman, about 50 minutes drive from Shawnee, and commuted for a while in my 1973 VW Beetle.
The heat in that car didn’t really work, and it was cold every day. Several ice and snow events struck during that time, and I remember driving that tiny car all those miles with my only coat zipped all the way up, listening to Dream Academy and Mr. Mister and Tears for Fears … whatever was on the radio.
The song that takes me right back to that cold, lonely November is Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You by Stevie Nicks. That album, Rock a Little, was one of the last vinyl record albums I bought.
Listening to that song brings me all the way back, crashing back, to those lost days all those years ago.
“… it was easy to say
I believed in you every day…”
Yes, The Autumn of Ice. I said I’d come back to that.
Sometimes it all comes down to the weather. In just my second week at The Shawnee News-Star, I was assigned to shoot the Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State football game in Stillwater, a contest that turned out to be one of the most memorable in college football history, the “Ice Bowl.” I wore a yellow rain suit I borrowed from Michael, and used a 600mm borrowed from the Associated Press. The rain came down, turning to ice as it landed on the field, on my equipment, on me. Between quarters, we walked up to the Lewis Field press box and thawed our cameras with blow dryers.
She was there that night, and I tried to talk to her, but she was eager to sit with her friends, and didn’t really want anything to do with me…
I try to look at it from different angles, but it still looks the same. I wrote and rewrote this entry dozens of times, and it still isn’t coming out right. When I read it and listen to the music, it all comes back to me as clearly as if I were there. I know when you read it, it doesn’t. Maybe someday.