"message keeps getting clearer,
radios on and i'm moving round the place.
i check myself out in the mirror,
i wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face.
man i aint getting nowhere,
just sitting in a dump like this.
theres something happening somewhere baby,
i just know that there is."
it was the end of the summer after high school was over and i was overwhelmed with restlessness, and that feeling of not really knowing who i was anymore. everywhere i turned was a door, a pathway, an avenue, a choice. i worked at a record store where i spent most of my paychecks on the same product i put out on the floor everyday. i kept in contact with a few of my friends from school, but most of us had already started wavering and fleeing the scene; most of the doorways led in different directions for the lot of us.
next i knew fall had arrived. i was wasting time at a community college, taking classes more for the interest they sparked then any curriculum, or plan. it was the first time in my young life i hadn't given school my all. i really did not know what i wanted to do, and i had no desire to pretend that i did. i was lonely, and i was more than a little lost. music was the only place i felt myself in, and i flipped the vinyl over, listening for the tell-tale scratch of the needle hitting the surface, while i filled stacks of composition books with something i thought could one day be a book.
a not-really-a-friend called one night. we had an acting class together and had exchanged numbers to work on a scene that we'd been assigned. i don't remember what it was, only that it required bags of groceries and a knife. she asked me to come see a movie, a late night showing of rocky horror. it was another spin of 'some great reward' and ink stains on my fingertips, or actually leaving my room. the night was warm, unseasonable for october, and the still air made me itch to go somewhere, anywhere. i had my ticket in my hand, pressed tightly in the palm of my hand, when i saw him. what i remember most was his eyes, wide and questioning, as if he was asking me something already.
we seemed so different. he was from money, from a set of parents that were still together, and he exuded this confidence when he told me about all the plans he had for his life. he wrote screenplays, good ones, even now i half-expect to see his name scroll by in the credits when i sit in a dark theatre. he lived for music in the same way i did, it was like fuel he would say, and i'd say it was more like oxygen. our tastes was as different as our upbringing was, but we both were willing to hear the others favorites. bruce springsteen was one of his, not mine.
he told me one afternoon, as we drove down pacific coast highway, that i had to listen to the best song ever. he played 'dancing in the dark', the original of course, and sang along with the kind of passion and abandon that most of us save for when we are alone. i knew for him it was the best song ever, and that he felt it, every single word and phrase. watching him like that made me smile.
it was never my best song ever, and i'm sure it never will be. but i think i appreciate it in a way that i wouldn't have had i never known him. it will forever remind me of that time in my life, and the boy who for a few months shared his music, his writing, and exploits in the backseat with me. i'd say he was my first boyfriend, but i'm not sure he ever was. we were too different, and we never quite fit into each other's lives. but we shared a certain restlessness, and we exchanged a great deal of our desires with each other. we spent a few weeks worth of evenings dancing in the dark.