20080328

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."

6S

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

16 comments:

Adam J. Whitlatch said...

Marvelous and fantastic! There aren't enough words in my vocabulary to describe it, but that's because my vocabulary's not as vast as Joe's. ;)

Well-written, oh Word Weaver. A great story and the perfect way to end the evening, and now... off to bed!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Brilliant, as ever.

Kevin Michaels said...

I think Joe has put together another excellent six - he weaves a really strong story packed with a vividness of detail. In a few sentences you know who this character is/where he's been/ and can identify with what he's got going on inside. Some of us have been Neil and Joe does an incredibly strong job of bringing out the things inside him! Great (as always)

Catherine said...

"If I had the time..." Lovely!! Cat

Madam Z said...

If I had the time, I'd try to express my admiration for Joe and his ability to come up with so many well-written, detailed, believable stories and get the ideas across in just six sentences.

Rick said...

Great story, brother. ...Rick

Liz said...

This is a beautifully written story. Reading it took me back to many people and places. It put a smile on my face as it made me think of all that I could do, or could have done, if only I had the time.

Baby Island said...

Joe, this is really nice. Your words have left me in another place and that is always an aspect of good writing that I love.

Anonymous said...

Stunning and riveting. ~Jennifer W.

Joe said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. They are appreciated. Comments like these are what keeps me writing! :)

Harry said...

Joseph, this is an excellent portrait of loss, regret and reassessment. I like the use of all the exes. Particularly the ex-guitar and ex-dream that while melancholy, offer hope that for Neil there may still be time.

Joe said...

Thank you, Harry. I'm glad you liked the story. I heard the song again one day a few months ago and it had been ages and then the story grew around it in my head.

Anonymous said...

JG rules.

Joe said...

Thank you anonymous, as well!

Anonymous said...

Joe - You put the Jo in my MoJo! You never disappoint.
caccy46

G & G said...

Brilliant! Just brilliant!