We’re On Our Way

Written on October 17th, 2014

Inspired by lyrics from On My Way by Phil Collins.

Tell everybody I’m on my way,
New friends and new places to see

I think I could tell you the exact moment that I fell in love. Sophomore year as spring rolled in, I was rolling out of the senior high parking lot in the passenger seat of a Toyota Solara I would one day come to call The Blue Bullet. At the time, all I knew was that it was his. We were on our way to Checkers, which on account of it having just opened, not everyone was completely disgusted with yet. We came to realize the truth about this particular establishment when I stole one of his chicken bites and had the good fortune to pick the only one in the package that had a bone inside it. That was the start of me protecting him, or so I like to think. It was more of a joke than anything; we waltzed out of the restaurant with our laughter still ringing in the employees’ ears, but I could feel something more than comedy beginning to blossom in my chest.

We had sat together at the variety show through the flood of talented performances, laughing at the heck of a house band and especially at the fact that I can’t clap on beat. The whole time the entire girls’ soccer team was craning their necks to see who their manager was bringing to social events, whispering back and forth to find out if anyone could tell if he was holding my hand. (He wasn’t, by the way. I wished). I smiled as we got back into his car, remembering the joy I’d felt looking over during the show to share some funny comment with this boy who was now driving me around town. As far as I was concerned, life could go on like this forever, just perfect moments extending one right after the other.

With blue skies ahead, yes, I’m on my way
And there’s nowhere else that I’d rather be

I fall in love with places so easily, and this happened to be one of those nights where everything about Weston made me want to sing. The reflection of the lights in the window and the faint outline of the stars through the open sunroof filled me with this sense of freedom that I’ve since become addicted to. The windows were open, my hair was flying, and all the while a certain song from the Brother Bear soundtrack filled the cracks in the space that our two bodies didn’t quite take up by themselves. He was whistling effortlessly and grinning at the fact that despite constant attempts on my part, all I could produce was a sad little blowing sound. My superb musical ability hasn’t changed, despite everything else that has.

And I can’t keep this smile off my face

He dropped me off at home all too early, pulling me into a hug before retreating down my driveway in that car I’ve come to know so well. The windows were still down. I remember the way the music faded up the street before it was gone altogether, and I smiled to myself until the moment I fell asleep. Two days later he came over to watch Brother Bear, and we sang the entire montage scene as loudly as we could. I liked the way his arm felt around my shoulders, and I liked the way he looked at me, and I liked how he knew every line to the same song I’d had stuck in my head for days. He kissed me on my front porch before he left, and I think I liked that more than anything.

I was caught up in a whirlwind of high school and first love and the smell of spring rain, and I thought it was all going to be perfect. I thought it would be like singing a song with the windows down, second nature, effortless, beautiful in the way simple things are. But love isn’t exactly a simple thing, and I’ve come to realize that despite the plethora of happy endings in our culture, perfection isn’t a reality.

But that doesn’t mean the happy endings can’t be real.

Cause there’s nothing like seeing each other again
No matter what the distance between

Those first few weeks were flawless, but the ones that followed certainly haven’t been. My feelings towards long distance relationships comprise too many swear words to be appropriate, and I can assert the fact that insecurity is a fanged monster waiting to fracture everything you hold dear. I know that tears birth the absolute best poetry, and that sometimes I want to throw my hands up in the air and admit defeat, or maybe crawl underneath a pile of blankets and refuse to move until the sun swallows the earth. But I also know with much more confidence that I still have nights where I fall in love with everything about him. We still sing with the windows down, and when we go out I’m proud to show every last member of the girls’ soccer team that he is holding my hand. There are still days where I can’t keep that smile off my face. Nothing stays perfect, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t perfect moments. Don’t ever let the world convince you otherwise.

That May evening my sophomore year was the start of more than just Haley and Matt. I’d been growing up all my life, but that was the beginning of understanding exactly how great of an impact we have on the people around us. It was the start of learning how to be a better friend and a more determined teammate. I stepped into a Toyota expecting to go on a drive around town, but in the process I embarked on the greatest adventure I’ve been lucky enough to experience. I’ve discovered more about family, and trust, and obscure videogames than I ever thought possible. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve forgiven mistakes and I’ve found out who I am. I may not know exactly where I want to end up, but I do know who I want to be when I get there.

And more than anything, I know that we’re all still on our way – new friends and new places to see.

Not the snow not the rain can change my mind
The sun will come out, wait and see