When I was in 7th grade I listened heavily to classic rock radio stations. My parents didn’t play 70s music in the house so it escaped the uncool parental association it might have otherwise had. I’d hear something like Boston’s “More Than a Feeling”, or any other bombastic guitar-driven love song and daydream about kissing Mr. Henderson, my balding, 40-something math teacher, who in all likelihood listened to the same music when he was a young teenager, daydreaming about putting his hand up the blouse of some age appropriate object of unrequited lust. I’ve wondered a lot in the ensuing years “Why Mr. Henderson? Why Styx, why Foreigner?” I suppose I could put this question to the therapist and we could get to work cracking that particular nut, but no matter— the damage is done. Nothing stirs my blood quite like a mustachioed man 15 to 30 years my senior and 70s radio rock.
Driving home from R’s house this afternoon on that stretch of road where the speed limit is higher, this 38 Special song came on the radio. I cranked it up and picked up speed. I often worry about the controversy surrounding this relationship- I worry that I am living my life wrong. As I cruised down the boulevard with the wind in my hair and a song I’ve loved for the better part of 16 years blasting, I had no worries whatsoever. I have a car stereo that picks up classic rock radio. I have a baby boomer lover. I have everything my 12 year old self daydreamed about; she would be completely stoked on the life I am currently living. So I think the takeaway here is to stop beating my self up about my current behavior, and instead use that energy to envision the 44 year old I want to be.
This morning I drove a car- my car- by myself for the first time. It felt surreal, like a dream or a video game. This incredibly banal act of driving at the speed limit to work, quite legally and with all the appropriate certifying documents, this act that initiates me into a world of normal people, made me feel like I had just committed a crime and gotten away with it. I didn’t notice how nervous I’d been until I’d already opened up the store. My mom called me immediately.
“You took the car!”
“I took the car.”
“I just didn’t think you were quite ready.”
“Mom, if we waited until I was ready it would have never happened.”
The reoccurring fantasy/fear that R’s wife will come into the store persists. I half want her to so I can stop thinking about it. I run possible scripts in my head all night, making it hard to sleep. Like most situations where I “run a script,” most of the elements are unrealistic. Another script, the one where I end it, is more pressing, and more likely. Lately it takes the form of me buying a copy of this Nolo Press book at work called Divorce Over 50 and giving it to him. I can remind him that I did not want to be having an affair for longer than a year, and I can remind him that it doesn’t make sense for me to commit to someone who can’t commit to me, and I can walk away. Perfectly reasonable, succinct, and the book is an actual resource. Just, when? Can I make it like today, when I strode out onto the lawn in the bright white midwinter morning sun, got into the car and drove it, dreamlike, all of it done before I could even realize how scary it was?