Living With Ghosts - Traveling Alone

In which our hero considers the prospect of living alone...
  |   Comments

It's a Jason Isbell day on Hathaway's iPod as I lament getting shut out of his four-night run at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. I'm disappointed but am wondering if it's just as well. I cannot be held responsible for the possible epic come part likely to happen should he choose to play "Songs That She Sang In The Shower."

That's the power of a life's soundtrack, dear readers. The only songs worth remembering are the ones that tell your story, describe your hopes and dreams, or take you revive those most important moments of your life. Jason's Southeastern record stands on its own as a masterpiece but will also be inextricably linked to the best year and most devastating hurt of my life.

Isbell described the surreal feeling of having Bruce Springsteen sing "Traveling Alone" to him backstage at the New Orleans Jazz Festival last year. I have my own moment with that song. We sang it together as we listened one night, just as Jason and his bride, Amanda, sing it on record. I still see her smile and remember the warmth from her soft eyes embracing me. Our lonely journeys had come to an end.

There was also the summer night we sat on her patio watching the doggies play and staring at the swimming pool where we sat talking about those hopes and dreams where she told me she was tired of traveling alone. I didn't know if she already knew then I wouldn't be the one to take that ride with her or if it came later, but my life changed forever when she decided she needed to continue the search.

It changed first and foremost because that was the adventure my heart desires more than anything. The aftershocks of that trauma are still reverberating because the end of us has caused the end of "us."

This was never the plan. I was supposed to find my Dear Someone (gorgeous song by Gillian Welch, by the way) and those days as Table For One would be history. Then I did. I found her and when you find what you're looking for, you stop searching. To do otherwise seems an alternate definition to insanity wherein one does repeats the same action expecting different results.

One of my least favorite songs in the history of recorded music is "If You Can't Be With The One You Love (Love The One You're With)." It's catchy but the sentiment horrifies me. There are only two women in my world: her and everyone else. Friends tell me I need to move on by which they mean renew the search (a sentiment expressed in terms both sweet and vulgar) but that is the only thing I want to do less than what I'm facing right now because no one else can again launch me high enough into orbit to again show me the stars. I didn't choose retirement, it chose me, and I'm still struggling to figure out how to make a life out of traveling alone.