Last night, at 6:14 p.m., I pulled on my hoodie and headed out the door, headed towards anything besides my apartment, A.J. and the choking cloak of impending panic that almost always follows a disagreement.
I opened the door and stepped out into the part of the world that wasn't heavy and the openness and freedom and air were so welcoming that I almost forgot where I'd just come from. Fat drops of rain were just beginning to paint the deck with dark and the smell of wet earth teased me, like fresh-ground coffee; elusive smells you want to taste and hold and cradle but can't ever hold on to.
I tell you this story because I want to hold on to a moment.
The storm was slightly to the north and close enough to offer a sense of tragedy; upset, alone and rain-soaked compliment self pity nicely. Overhead, giant black thunderheads slid over one another and veils of cloud resisted the pull of the falling rain, only to lose out and whisp toward the ground. Everything seeks Earth during tumult.
I walked past a girl and her mother on their front porch. The girl, maybe half my age, was strumming an acoustic guitar. The melody was in the minor; low and sweet and folky. The sound of the guitar pulled me into a half memory, the kind where you're visually in the same space but emotionally in a time past. I wanted to sit on the steps of the porch with the women and soak in the music. It so perfectly matched my mood that I was sure it would permeate me with no resistance. But alone, upset and rain-soaked people aren't the types you allow near your daughter so I kept on.
A little further down the road, a set of wind chimes hung from a porch. As I walked by, the wind picked up and the thunder rumbled overhead and the wind chimes began to sing. I don't know how to describe the feeling it invoked without using some kind of cliche...but for a moment, the world felt like it was gaping wide open and that if possible, I would break into bits of light and get sucked into its maw. I felt wholly myself - like the sound of the wind chimes knew me as nobody and nothing else did and I felt entirely unalone.
I returned home when the storm passed. A.J. and I fought some more and I lost control of myself, like I used to do before I stopped trying to shoot happiness up my nose and down my throat, for the first time in years. I punched the fridge and I cried and I paced furiously back and forth. I struggled to have control and I lost it, over and over.
In the end, I told him that I needed a hug and that if he wouldn't give me one, I would have to go find a friend. And he gave me one, because he loves me. And I asked for one because beneath all the ego and pride and wanting to be right, I knew I was terrified of and enraged with myself, not him.