February 20th, 2020
We only talk in the car. I don’t know why that is, but it is. We might casually greet each other at home, but we only have conversations when we are driving somewhere. Actually, we have these conversations when I am driving. The young woman does not currently have a license, so I am her chauffeur. I take her many places: to see her parole officer, to see her therapist, to attend 12 step meetings, to go to the gym. We are together in my old Ford Focus qute often.
Usually, she plays her music. I don’t know many of the bands. It doesn’t really matter. Her tastes tend toward the dark and moody, as do mine. We talked about that.
She was shocked by one of my selections.
She asked me, “When did you start listening to Five Finger Death Punch?”
“You don’t like it?”
“Well, yeah, I do, but…”
Then she played the “Bartender Song” by Rehab. It’s a wickedly funny (and disturbing) country song about some redneck who violates his parole.
She said, “I’m pretty sure that this guy has been in prison.”
“Uh yeah, it sounds very authentic.”
I told her, “I always liked John Lennon’s work. He was often angry. I think that he was real. McCartney, well, he was always cotton candy.”
The young woman, dead serious, looked at me and said,
“Sometimes you need to have both.”
I thought for a moment. I told her,
“You’re right. Lennon and McCartney balanced each other out.”
Later, we were driving home from one of her visits with her therapist.
I asked her how it went.
She was evasive and obscure in her answers, as she should be. It’s none of my business to know how her therapist appointments went. That’s totally her thing.
Suddenly she said, “She’s good, but not what I expected. She is short, fat, and has long grey hair. She is not somebody that I would have picked for a therapist. She doesn’t look professional.”
I replied, “Looking professional is overrated.”
I asked her, “Is she smart?”
“Oh yeah, she’s smart. She understands my mother.” The young woman said this with conviction, although she never looked at me.
I was waiting for the light to change. I asked her,
“So, does your therapist understand your father?”
The young woman did not miss a beat.
She said, “He also has signs of borderline personality disorder.”
She left it hanging there.
I made a left hand turn. I laughed softly, and I told her,
“Well, we have something in common.”
She did not respond.
We both struggle.
We both survive.
We both love.