Sunday, April 17, 2016

Stand or Fall

We were coming back from a game, I forget where, and it was late. We'd stopped for In-N-Out along the way, in some town between mountains. Chatter and laughter filled the station wagon. I lay in the way back, where the trunk would be in a regular car, and stared at traffic on the highway and the stars above us. Everything was peaceful and still.

I don't remember any names, have no clue what has become of them 35 years later, but I distinctly recall hearing “Stand or Fall” by the Fixx coming on the radio. The music hit me in a way that music seldom did in those days. I can still lock into that precise moment and see the cars passing us, but names and faces have disappeared.

The entire experience hardly feels real. I sometimes wonder if I imagined it all. That would be a more convenient explanation. I could easily extend that line of thought to my whole childhood. I only have bits and pieces. They're very specific and not always the ones I want, nor the ones I need to complete a picture that remains forever out of focus.

At various times in my life I've been troubled by this notion of not knowing how I got here or, more fundamentally, who the hell I am. At others I've yielded to indifference, either of the sort that wants to give up everything or the sort that has no use for rearview mirrors and is concerned only with continuing forward into the unknowable.

The latter seems a healthier strategy, although not always the obvious one. It becomes a matter of choice to live each moment in that moment. Everything is a matter of choice. And so I must decide whether I wish to stand or fall.

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