It’s freezing outside. Not in a way that a Southern California girl understands freezing. This is seeing your cold breath wrapped in tiny icicles as you “hoff hoff hoff” into the cold air. Where being wrapped in thick Ugg boots, a scarf and layers barely contain the warmth — kind of cold. We’ve been on the road for eight hours of today, with this being our third night’s stop. Our last stop before we hit our destination. I think we are a little punchy from all the driving. He must be tired. The campground is nice. Almost too nice. Too clean. Too manicured. Nothing like the magical rustics of last night’s ground. But it’s exactly what we need. We add more layers with thick California jackets that will soon be replaced, happy to be out of the truck for a moment. We head over to the camp host and buy a bundle or two of wood.
We build a small fire, knowing that the size won’t even begin to touch the icey coldness that we really feel, but we don’t care, because it feels so damn good not to be in the cab of a truck for a change. I pour us a couple of cocktails. We have about 30 minutes of sunshine before we really begin to understand Northern Oregon cold. We finally relax, and let the alcohol sort of warm our insides. Music is playing, and light laughter and conversation follow. I don’t know how the subject or the artist come up, but for the umpteenth time in my life, I realize I’ve been singing the lyrics of another song completely wrong. I quickly go into iTunes and download the song. I hear my obvious blunder, and wonder how I ever could have come up with that version, when it’s glaringly obvious to me now what she is singing. We giggle, until it turns into full roaring laughter.
Damn I loved laughing with him.
It pained me to hear that song all of last year. It’s an old break-up song to boot, so it wasn’t just the memory of the situation, but the words cutting at me too. Tiny stabs aimed at my heart, until like a small number of other songs that created similar pain, I was hurriedly pushing SKIP when they played.
Today I actually sang with the song. Twice. The right words, and I smiled when the line I always got wrong came up. I thought about the above described memory, and I smiled more. I smiled at how amused he would get on my versions, and how more often than not he would adopt the wrong version because it made him laugh. I replayed that scene and realized the song will always take me to Northern Oregon on a very cold camping night.
Then it hit me, and I found myself smiling again, bigger. This was for a different reason. I realized that I don’t have to push SKIP. It’s that simple. Sometime in the night, in the months that turned into seasons, that turned into a year, — I healed. I smiled because it feels so damn good to laugh at a memory instead of running from it.
That is a smile worth celebrating.