I did not think of these things as I left Virginia, one year after that fateful day. I did not think of these things as I left Maryland. I did not think of these things as I left Pennsylvania. I did not think of these things until I was in the state of Ohio, after I had been pulled over for speeding for going 90mph in a 65mph zone. After this fiasco, I pulled Death Cab for Cutie’s, The Photo Album out of my CD booklet and slid it into my car’s CD player. As I heard it being swallowed, the opening notes to the first track ‘Steadier Footing’ began and my heart swelled with longing, much like one’s lungs do when they are filled up with what makes a sigh. This had been our album. I took a deep breath and called Evan to let him know I was in Ohio, that I was not all that far away, and that I was crying.
Driving through Pennsylvania had been slow. Everything I had seen in front of me had looked like it was housed inside a recently shaken snow-globe. Visibility was at an all-time low for me. I could barely see a thing. I remember thinking that if I should die that night, what would happen to my records? I contemplated pulling over, but it was getting late and I did not have enough money to stay at a hotel. The thought of sleeping in my car, on the side of the road in the mountains, made me shudder, so I kept my foot on the gas. My trusty 1998 black Honda Accord trudged along through the ice and snow like a bulldozer might, although once in awhile a slip would cause me to hold my breath. My albums kept me company like any good passenger would. By the time I got to Toledo, I had listened to half of the CDs that I had brought: all the old favorites, and a few new friends. Some of these friends I brought with me were ones you had introduced me to, in those two fabulous mixtapes that you made for me before we had even met. These friends didn’t make me think of you though.
On the long drive, I thought about a lot of other things. I wondered if I was driving to Toledo to escape my most recent romantic disaster, which had ended abruptly and without much explanation. I thought about the boys that I had kissed since I last kissed you. I ran through the list of the boys who wanted to kiss me this past year that I did not want to kiss. I thought about how much my life had changed in the past year and how little I had changed as a person. I thought about Evan, the friend I was going to stay with in Toledo, who I had never met in person before, but had known for almost two years online. I thought about the friends I had lost in the past year. I thought about the new friends I had made.
Only after looking at the ticket the police officer issued me, with the word Ohio boldly jumping out at me, did I realize how close I was to Evan’s – and it was then that I noticed the day’s date. I glanced down at my fingers and quickly counted out how long I would be in the Midwest. January 6th until…wait, why was that date so familiar? When the synapses in my brain screamed out – the day he left – all of the memories of that day fluttered in quickly and messily, like unexpected flurries when one is driving through darkness. I had not thought specifically about that day in a great while. I became bleary-eyed, which decreased my visibility to none. I had finally reached the point where I no longer thought about it anymore, where it was simply accepted that you would always somehow be a part of my life, like points on a snowflake. So, when I thought back to the day you left for your Washington (the wrong Washington), I invited The Photo Album to join me there on the highway and it saved me. Though I ended up shedding a few of my own brand of flurries to celebrate the anniversary of our ending, I no longer felt alone.
ps. this is my final draft for essay #1 - a personal essay using telling details for my english 302 [for the humanities] class.
pss. what should the title be? dustin ddrase just suggested 'driven to heartbreak'. is that better than 'memories made of snow'? any other ideas? help!