The other day at work we spent the nearly all eight hours filing in the conference room, the radio playing the whole time. I'll admit I don't listen to the radio all that much--not because I'm picky about what I'll listen to but just because not having a car means the only music I listen to is on my computer--and so I don't think I'd heard any of the songs before. There was one that kept playing and I swore it was saying 'hey-o, Galileo!' and of course the actual lyrics were something entirely different, something like 'gotta let go,' but I liked my version and I kept singing it that way and the whole thing reminded me so much of high school I don't think I spent an hour of those eight in that room.
My sophomore and junior years the bus came to pick my neighbor Crazy Amy and me up at maybe 6:10 in the morning. I remember I'd head over to her house at a quarter till and we'd sit in her living room and watch MTV or VH1 while she got ready, switching the channel back to the one it was at before she turned it on so she wouldn't get caught having watched it (her mother would be gone in the mornings and I can't remember a time she wasn't grounded).
In the winter it would still be completely dark out that early so after we got ready we'd stand at the end of the driveway in the dark, just talking, looking up at a whole sky still spread out with stars, no sign of morning. Those bus rides were usually quiet before the sun came up, a sleepy, humming kind of quiet. And Amy and I were so different in so many ways but the tensions of growing up in ways that filled that silence to the very brim and no matter what people said, no matter how often they told me to spend my time with people who weren't in trouble, we were the same. We were clasped together by it.
She loved music, I remember. She introduced me to Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe and other bands that made the naysayers crazy. Somewhere around that time she shaved the bottom half of her hair and would alternate dying the top part pink and black. And her family brought me to Florida with them twice, trips that opened my eyes to the possibility of a world outside that I could be a part of, that I could learn.
I think about roots and I think about her and her music and how, sometimes on those dark mornings, our breath coming out like stars washed in streetlights a quarter mile away, she'd talk about her mom and I'd talk about mine. We didn't understand but it helped to say it, to stand on the gravel and listen to each other shift, waiting for the light to come out, hoping then we'd be able to see. Sometimes on the bus I'd borrow her cd player and while the whole sky lit up orange, fast wild sunrises the bus could never keep up with, I'd realize she'd taught me words to the songs that were all wrong. She'd change them when she'd write them out. And I understand now.