I'm not sure what to write tonight.
I could write about what I remember. Waiting for a table at Cheli's Chili Bar in the wooden window seat with the bullet holes catching the cold air, a patch of sunlight grazing the floor. Linking arms with Sarah and Devon, traipsing up the street with Ford Field looming, singing "Sweet Caroline" so loud that people stared. Sitting in the massive football stadium, empty two hours before tip except for our hyped up pocket of red. The signs, posterboard and sharpied letters and construction paper and glue, held high above our heads, waving with abandon. Examining the $8 game program, in which only two pages of about fifty-six mattered, fresh crisp paper with red collars and beaming faces. The murmurs. Growing.
I could write about what I feel, what will still pulse quietly in my bones if I let go and let it. Roaring voices all around me, hands slamming the plastic seats and creating a sound that I know I will never hear again, because it wasn't simply a noise, it was a noise with words and people and history behind it. There was a power in those moments that I never tried to understand, but just let it sweep me up, clear knowledge that nothing else in the world was important except for the life we share and how this expressed that.
I could write about after, kind of. Wanting to stand there forever and wanting to get the hell out. Yelling gratitude and appreciation with a rock in my stomach and a broken rewind button in my brain. Too stunned to pick up the phone when it buzzed with my parents' sympathy. Joe's face as he passed me walking up the stairs. Goose appearing out of nowhere and giving me a hug. Getting on the bus, turning on my iPod, and wishing I was alone so I could start bawling (oh I could hide 'neath the wings of the bluebird as she sings/the six o'clock alarm would never ring). Stopping at a weigh station in Kentucky at 3 in the morning, bleary-eyed in the fluorescent spotlights, two hundred people using two bathrooms. Getting off the bus and going straight to psych, sweaty and starving and stuck in yesterday.
I can write about now.
Seven hundred and thirty days later. I can write about two more years and two more seasons. I can write about Neil Diamond wearing a Davidson tshirt as he serenaded us on a video screen (side note: Jen just came in and read that sentence. "Neil Diamond sang to us?"). I can write about an email from Will that said "A Davidson alum and newspaper writer is in town this week conducting interviews for a book that he's going to write about Davidson basketball and this season. Would you be interested in being interviewed?" (Yes, absolutely I wrote back. Bold and all.) I can write about that claustrophobic summer, staying in one place, and how typing thousands of words about a sports season kept me moving, fresh. I can write about countless friends that I've been given, some because of that day, others because of the days since. I can write about expectation and bright lights and rising and falling and returning from across an ocean. I can write about tears that had roots in other moments (hesleeving? "They lost.") but still have something to do with that night on a bus when I could only shed one. I can write about keeping relationships going through texts, emails, and phone calls about scores, conference records, and pep band songs (and NBA Rookie of the Year speculation, which is kind of ludicrous), about jokes that started behind a basket and post-game conversations that started in a bar, and still matter. I can write about... writing, and learning my voice. I can write about reunions and new history unfolding. I can write about a home that was home then, certainly, strengthened in those days, but is home now deeper because I've left and come back, and now I (uncertainly) have to leave again.
I can write about all that.
I think that the twenty-year-old trying to fall asleep on the bus as it twisted back down south 600 miles with Hitch buzzing on the TV would be pleased, and grateful, as I am.