40 Snippet #6

Here's another unused portion from my upcoming novel 40 that releases May 4. Thought I'd share some of these bits that didn't make the final "cut."

To Wish Impossible Things

This drive is familiar. My parents drove back and forth when I was in grade school, when we lived in the Chicago area for the first time. My mom and I drove out here on our own with an unsteady car and unsure directions when we moved back up here during my junior year of high school.

I’m heading home for the last time.

As always, as is customary to these thirty-nine years, music accompanies me.

You are seven and listen to your mother loudly declaring her secret love of Elton John while dad is gone.

You are in third grade and “in love” and think of her all summer and play songs that remind you of her. Whatever her name is now.

You are ten and hear your sister cranking out Barry Manilow.

You are in eighth grade trying to understand the meaning of “Mama” by Genesis and “Like A Virgin” by Madonna and “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran.

You are on a ninth grade class trip with a friend named Harry who brings a tape. One side has The Swing by INXS and the other has Some Great Reward by Depeche Mode.

You are insecure and isolated. You are curious and careful. You love and want desperately to feel loved.

The music and the words and the songs speak to you. They immerse you. They distract. They don’t disappoint.

Every move you make with your family is made to the sound of a soundtrack.

The loneliness has a sound.

Your demons haunting you, whispering, laughing, slapping you around—they are held at bay with the cassette tapes and lps.

Why this group or this album?

You don’t know. You just know that it means something, and you really need something you can grasp ahold of.

Your parents preach that God speaks, but you can’t hear Him.

Maybe the music is too loud.

But the music is something you can definitely hear.

The boy is alone and is lonely. These two creatures are not the same bedfellows. They’re distant cousins. Together, they are tragedy.

This is the sound of music.

The voices comfort, the words intrigue. They’re adult, they’re rebellious, they’re foreign, they’re familiar.

They are there.

They drown and defeat the silence.

They are there.

They cripple the lonely stranger.

They ease the mind in a way prayers cannot.

Blasphemous Charles Harrison says.

A teen is just speaking his mind.

Sinner Dad says.

Name another man who isn’t.

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