We moved to Duloc. We heard things are looking up there. While Simon and I are still loyal to Hamilton, it feels good to take a break from history. So we decided to hit the road, my little buddy and me because all we need "is a path and a pal and a song" and Shrek, which takes place in the Lordship of Duloc, is the next middle school musical at my son’s school and auditions were a couple of weeks ago.
It seemed the world was singing along with us at the time as we drove up to the window to pick up our lunch from Panera and the girl giving us our order belted out a song from Hamilton when she saw us. Or maybe that is just a sign that we go through the Panera drive-thru way too often? I guess she did not get the memo that Simon was auditioning to move to Duloc.
It’s a sign of progress I think to move onto a different soundtrack. It’s how I felt after we watched every single Good Luck Charlie last year more than once and then we started the Goldbergs. It’s how I felt in the 80’s when I memorized every word to Endless Love, and I moved onto Time After Time. And as we move from year one into year two, things are looking up a little.
Over spring break, we looked up at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. We were lucky to be in the area at a time when the fog lifted and the view was clear. It seemed to mirror the more clear view outside of my two windows that Jay once referred to as brown, but are hazel, and this led to a fight because I thought he should know the color of my eyes a few months into being newlyweds. In his defense, he was color blind, although at the time I was definitely not seeing his side.
It was harder to look up a few months ago when I floated in the liminal space between what was and what will come and was surrounded by a fog that at times kept me warm like the heavy blanket Jay would cover me up with when I was in bed before him. A friend shared an article with me by a widow who wrote that her grieving was a final honeymoon and I understood. As I sat writing so much of the first year, it allowed me time to have one last long dance with Jay into the night as my words became the beat of our imperfect love song with lyrics I had to write down because that is how I memorized every love song in the 80's.
I am typing my way to understand what they were and I heard Jay beside me so many times in the first year, but in the second year, his voice is more of an accompaniment to mine. He was fast to answer because he immediately knew the lyrics to songs without any effort at all. I asked him so much when we listened to music together, "what were those words?" And no matter how mumbled and jumbled it sounded to me, it always seemed so clear to him, and I was confused in the presence of his certainty.
I heard him over the past year reply to a conversation in my head or singing with the blue birds in the back yard or making me smile just when I needed it most. A few months ago, I was at a restaurant with Simon. We were waiting for our order and noticed on the white board it said "JAY" at the very top and was the only name written in all capital letters. Under JAY, it said "Jessie." When they called JAY, a man picked up his food and stood right beside us unpacking his order to make sure it was correct while talking under his breath. It took longer than it felt it should and seemed a little odd, and I said in my head "Jay, if this a sign from you, let me know." Within seconds, Simon turned to me and completely out of the blue said, "Mom, are your eyes brown or hazel?" It was a fight that we had never spoken about in front of the kids and was insignificant in the scope of our relationship, but it was one he knew I would remember and unlike some fights we had, the memory of this one made me laugh.
My son moved from 5th to 6th grade and my daughter from 7th to 8th grade, and we crawled onto the shore of 2017. With the waves hitting the sand time after time, I see the fog moving carrying the echo of Jay and his music into the distance and leaving a light that has been there all along like the sun in the sky over the Golden Gate bridge on the foggiest day. My kids spotted two wooden inscribed pocket knives right next to each other in a novelty store last week that said "Jessica" and "Jay," and I saw the three of us walking the streets close by one another's side and this time, I heard joy in our voices and laughter. I know it was Jay's heart that we found in San Francisco and while the fog and waves will continue to roll in and out, reflected in the still bay of the Golden Gate last week were new lyrics written for us. I am writing them down so I remember.
Iron & Wine, Time After Time