It's always a pleasure when my cousins come up, especially the one my sister's age who works in IT for an evil tween clothing company and has to work a 12-hour shift tomorrow for 9/11, which is also his birthday, though he's not the most social of people by any means. Just in case, you know, terrorists try to bring down the glittery pink site of Tweenage Western Decadent Strumpetry Bieberland, or something.
The conversation gets spirited as the wine flows freely though we don't delve into politics this time, which is probably good. My teenage cousins discuss their favorite bands earnestly in a way I remember doing, getting mad at the kids in school who like the one song they heard on the radio and saying that's the best band ever. I remember when it mattered so much, and now it doesn't. I don't say much because I'm losing touch with the pulse of the youth, and soon I'll be like their teachers that they make fun of for wanting to be in touch with POPULAR CULTURE.
My dad is tired from working all day and ends up sleeping on the couch in the other room, but I go back to get my laundry and we end up hanging out, playing guitar, listening to music. He's been going through his hundreds of cassette tapes recorded with friends on a double-tape deck with a microphone hanging from the ceiling and found one that had songs he wrote for my mom, twenty years into their marriage, played on three chords on the amp we got when I first decided I really liked making noise.
His voice is wavering, the words simple, the sentiments deep, the uncomplicated thoughts of first impressions and insecurities of questions of himself and God, the guitar swirling with the flange, fading out as he runs out of words. I ask him if he's ever played this for her and he says no and for some reason this moment moves me in a way I can't explain.
I drive home through the dark streets, considering trying to catch the last half of Studio-A-Rama but by then Scrawl will be done and the night is beautiful and for some reason 80's thrash on the radio sounds like the best thing ever, so I drive with the windows down, the greasy rain on my shoulders, my hair wild, missing late night drives of spilling words, knowing that there just isn't time or words to say what's there.