If I Had the Time

by Joseph Grant

As Neil drove his Beemer down the empty rode leading back to his inescapable past, an old Bangles song, Dover Beach, sparked on his Sirius radio and the first line came flowing in like a warm, soothing wave of memory reaching a long forgotten rocky shore, "If I had the time, I would run away with you." It was a finely crafted pop song, the kind people just didn't make any more, and this buried jewel stayed that way in his collective consciousness until now and it totally drew him back to his first year of college and he remembered how it had always attracted him with its opening of jangly, Byrds-like guitar chords, the stunning, siren-like harmonies and of course, the singer, the one with the alluring eyes, whom he and every other red-blooded American male had a crush on back then and he recalled Pamela, his girlfriend at the time, his first ex-wife presently, dressing at first like Madonna and then, Cyndi Lauper and then for him, as that Bangle girl. Neil's father-in-law, Charles Smith now lay dead, but in life had been a brilliant lawyer whom he greatly respected and had gotten him his start in the law firm, someone he hunted with, drank with and took place of the father he had never known, but was one with whom he had since fallen out of touch with, as a result of his discordant divorce from Pamela ten years before and he had regretted the loss of his ex-father-in-law sometimes more so than that of his moody ex-wife ever since. Coming back for his father-in-law's funeral was difficult but he felt he owed the guy, as the guy was a prince among a den of thieves and if it wasn't for him and to collect some long overdue belongings, Neil knew he would never have found himself driving his Beemer back this way ever again. Pulling into his old driveway reminded him of how once there had been many things he had meant to do with his life but was sidetracked by the constant realities that intervened; whether it was his academia and degree, his marriage and first born, the many hours he put in until he made junior partner that also ended up costing him that marriage weighted against the dusky corridors where memories of his playing in a band, hanging out with his eclectic, actor friends and dreaming of living and writing in Paris were not distantly behind, but on the bright road ahead of him and it raised a long, forgotten smile to his face. After the lovely celebration of the old man's life, while everyone was back in the house, Neil wandered into his ex-garage with a generous buzz, found his old ex-Rickenbacker, sat down next to his ex-car, reflected back and dusted off an ex-dream for awhile as he hit the opening paisley chords and started to sing a familiar song that took on a whole new meaning: "If I Had the Time."


Joseph Grant, whose full catalog is here, is the first featured author in our "Six Sixes" series.