Every so often, my brain likes to play a trick on me. I call it having “movie moments.”
A movie moment is similar in many ways to ‘deja-vu,’ which I have experienced about a million times in my life, but movie moments are very rare. It’s the sudden sensation that you’re actually watching the scene that you are in play out on a screen… almost an out of body experience, but my mind’s eye pulls back on the surroundings and things become hyper-focused. It seems to occur when just the right combination of music, scenery, and dialogue makes things seem unreal and scripted.
The first one that comes to mind takes place in the time period of the Record Contract Series, actually right about now in the chronology of the story (Part XIV).
It was Hoss’ birthday. I want to say it was his 33rd, but I can’t recall exactly. I know it was the end of May, and it had so far been an incredibly warm and beautiful spring in Nashville.
Hoss’ friend Jack lived on a large (100+acres) piece of property in southern Tennessee, and invited us all out for the weekend. There would be a mountain of mind-altering substances and naked people running around in the woods.
I was a little bit terrified of the idea, but I agreed to go along.
Hoss, Mama Sharon, Rique’, and I piled into Hoss’ convertible Sebring and took off early in the afternoon and made the hour and a half trip to literally the middle of no-where. We turned off the paved road and continued driving for several miles before Jack met us in an ATV on the path and led us back to his house.
There’s a complete story to this evening that I will write about soon, but for now (and to remind myself of this story) suffice it to say there was quite a cast of characters, including a couple from New Orleans who definitely made the weekend unforgettable.
However, I’m digressing from the point of this post… remember… the movie moment…
Not long after we arrived, Hoss realized that he had left the house without grabbing his medicine bag. He would be due for his next dosage of HIV meds in less than four hours. For those of you who don’t know, it is vitally important that you take your dosages at the same time every day. He was quite upset. Since the party favors had already been passed around, he was in no state to go after them.
I offered to drive back to Nashville to retrieve them. Hoss gave me his car keys, his cell phone with Jack’s number programmed into it, and rudimentary directions and I headed back to town.
Along the way, Hoss’s phone rang, and I recognized the number as Matt’s. I answered, surprised, “Uh, Hi!? When did Hoss give you his number?”
“About 3 seconds ago. I tracked you down through Mama Sharon’s salon. They knew where she was, and so I looked up this Jack guy and called looking for you.”
I was concerned, he hadn’t made quite that level of effort to find me before. “Is everything ok?” I asked.
“Well…” he proceeded to tell me how he had been having difficulties with his on again, off again asshole of an older boyfriend who was not thrilled about Matt getting a record deal. He had just come out to his parents, and you know how well that went. He was just feeling pretty low in general.
I invited him to meet me at Hoss’ and to come along with me back to Jack’s. He was pretty hesitant at first, thinking that he didn’t really feel like meeting any new people and putting on a happy face. I talked him into it. Promising him plenty of alcohol, and time to ourselves wandering around the woods if we wanted.
He finally agreed, and when I arrived at Hoss’ house he was waiting for me.
“Are you sure they’re going to be cool with me coming along?” as though he were looking for a reason to change his mind.
“I’m positive. I called and talked to Jack and Hoss. They would love for you to come. Rique’ is planning to stay there a couple extra days, so there will be room for you to ride back with us. No problem. Get in the car.”
I collected the medicines and we headed out of town. The sun was just setting, and the full moon was already visible.
“Hey, why’d you put the top back up?” Matt asked, referring to the Chrysler.
“I was afraid you’d be cold,” I responded.
“Hell no, it’s nice out. Put the top down!”
So I pulled over and put the top down. While we were stopped I pulled out my travel cd case and handed it to Matt to pick something to listen to.
We got back on the road, and Matt buzzed through at least 4 cds, picking and choosing songs and singing along. We got way out of town on the interstate, and were virtually the only car on the road, the cruise control set at a brisk 75 miles per hour.
And then it happened.
The interstate made a slight curve to the south, bringing the full moon around directly in front of us. It was hanging low in the sky, enormous and bright, almost as though we could hope to eventually drive straight into it. The brisk wind was circulating around us, our hair flying in all directions, and stars shining overhead. And the latest cd that Matt had popped in the player started, blaring against the road noise. We sang our damn fool heads off, and waved our arms in the air and laughed until we couldn’t breathe. We looked at each other and the camera panned back and circulated the car in a helicopter doing an overhead shot, zooming back into the car and moved to a tight shot of the moon.
“You are a Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only seventeen…”*
It was at that moment, just as the sensation of the movie moment passed, that I knew that Matt was supposed to be in my life, and we were going to be forever linked in some way that was bigger than both of us.
It was clear that Matt felt something happen then, too. He suddenly looked at me, all serious like, and said, “You know, no matter how the rest of this weekend goes, it was all worth it just for this car ride. Thank you. I needed this.”
“Anytime, Matt.” And I meant it.