PRETTYFAKES

Polaroids by the Artist
David McCarty
of Jackson, Mississippi
Twenty years ago we were still teenagers, still going home once a month and cruising down the streets we grew up on, still building death traps out of rusting Detroit steel.  We were riding in that Trans Am you bolted together in high school, an engine big as a St. Bernard jammed under the hood, half a dozen clearcoats gleaming over silver paint.  The first girl I ever loved was nestled in the back seat, and we were taking her around Birmingham and Forestdale and all the old places we grew up, and let’s be honest, we weren’t listening to the Pixies or even Nirvana, we were listening to Counting Crows and Stone Temple Pilots, playing driving-around-music with the windows down.  
I loved that Trans Am.  I loved that it could actually get fast enough that it was scary, that you could feel the heft of it beneath you as it roared, even though I could never get the dang door shut on my side, those bafflingly heavy metal wings that had sagged over the years, wouldn’t latch good.
I suppose that machine had retractable seatbelts—unlike my Camaro or the El Camino, which only had lap belts—but there’s no way we would have been wearing them back then, cloaked in the invincibility of the still-young, babies with hair down to our shoulders.  My major remained undeclared and I still dreamed of being a painter.  
So when you floored it and jerked hard pulling out of the Arby’s parking lot, going into a heavy U on the sleepy four-lane, and my passenger side door shot open, there was nothing to hold me back from the rushing pavement, scraping Pontiac steel spitting sparks in my face as it sanded down the Alabama asphalt.  
A scream from the back seat mingled with “Plush” as your right hand shot out and grabbed my shirt—you put the TA in a muscular left jag and whipped me back into the cabin using a precise mathematical formula known to anybody that’s ever been on a Tilt-A-Whirl—and I did my part by using the same inertia to pull that tricky door shut on my way back in.  
Your eyes were locked on the road.  There was still screaming from the backseat.  I realized that I was calm.  The Trans Am growled.  
We turned on the road to my grandparents’ house, the same road they’d lived on since our fathers were friends twenty years before, since they’d cobbled together deathtraps and screamed them up and down Highway 78.
At breakfast today we laughed and talked about small things and big things, tornados and water meters, breakfast talk.  Your daughter chanted “daddy daddy daddy,” her blues eyes flashing in the fluorescent lights of the diner.  When we got up to leave you put out that same right hand for her—that sure hand, that quick and strong hand—and she put her tiny little version in yours.  Then you lifted her up, and we walked out into the morning light.

Twenty years ago we were still teenagers, still going home once a month and cruising down the streets we grew up on, still building death traps out of rusting Detroit steel.  We were riding in that Trans Am you bolted together in high school, an engine big as a St. Bernard jammed under the hood, half a dozen clearcoats gleaming over silver paint.  The first girl I ever loved was nestled in the back seat, and we were taking her around Birmingham and Forestdale and all the old places we grew up, and let’s be honest, we weren’t listening to the Pixies or even Nirvana, we were listening to Counting Crows and Stone Temple Pilots, playing driving-around-music with the windows down. 

I loved that Trans Am.  I loved that it could actually get fast enough that it was scary, that you could feel the heft of it beneath you as it roared, even though I could never get the dang door shut on my side, those bafflingly heavy metal wings that had sagged over the years, wouldn’t latch good.

I suppose that machine had retractable seatbelts—unlike my Camaro or the El Camino, which only had lap belts—but there’s no way we would have been wearing them back then, cloaked in the invincibility of the still-young, babies with hair down to our shoulders.  My major remained undeclared and I still dreamed of being a painter. 

So when you floored it and jerked hard pulling out of the Arby’s parking lot, going into a heavy U on the sleepy four-lane, and my passenger side door shot open, there was nothing to hold me back from the rushing pavement, scraping Pontiac steel spitting sparks in my face as it sanded down the Alabama asphalt. 

A scream from the back seat mingled with “Plush” as your right hand shot out and grabbed my shirt—you put the TA in a muscular left jag and whipped me back into the cabin using a precise mathematical formula known to anybody that’s ever been on a Tilt-A-Whirl—and I did my part by using the same inertia to pull that tricky door shut on my way back in. 

Your eyes were locked on the road.  There was still screaming from the backseat.  I realized that I was calm.  The Trans Am growled. 

We turned on the road to my grandparents’ house, the same road they’d lived on since our fathers were friends twenty years before, since they’d cobbled together deathtraps and screamed them up and down Highway 78.

At breakfast today we laughed and talked about small things and big things, tornados and water meters, breakfast talk.  Your daughter chanted “daddy daddy daddy,” her blues eyes flashing in the fluorescent lights of the diner.  When we got up to leave you put out that same right hand for her—that sure hand, that quick and strong hand—and she put her tiny little version in yours.  Then you lifted her up, and we walked out into the morning light.

Scattered, smothered, covered, & peppered // Jackson, Miss. // Polaroid 600 B&W

Scattered, smothered, covered, & peppered // Jackson, Miss. // Polaroid 600 B&W

Caitlin McAnally Cox + Cody Cox // Jackson, Miss. // Polaroid 600 B&W
Today I lured the duo known as Liver Mousse over to my apartment for pizza and Polaroids.  I’ve been talking about taking photos of the matching Mississippis on their arms for weeks.  The duality is comforting to me—his points to his wrist, hers to heart, mirroring yet somehow completely different, just as their music can veer from the soft folk of a 1950s country song to a busted-speaker garage stomper.
We got Domino’s and listened to a Fleetwood Mac bootleg from today’s date in 1977 and then some Gene Clark and Caitlin talked about mowing their yard in a zig zag and Cody talked about writing his name in the snow on a New Year’s Eve in north Mississippi.  They put up with me running around the room trying to light them a certain way for the Polaroid, and then turning the lights on and off and moving them around so I could take photos of the Polaroids to post on Instagram. 
Here are two things that capture the essence of both of them, and how kind they both are:  when I began to furrow my brow or worry about an angle, Caitlin would say “you’re doing great!” in the most sincere way, and I couldn’t help but smile.  And Cody brought me a mix cd with handwritten liner notes, stuffed with Pixies and Paul Simon and Nick Cave and Jay-Z and Tom Waits and Pavement.
There was also a lot of love expressed for Muppets Take Manhattan.

Caitlin McAnally Cox + Cody Cox // Jackson, Miss. // Polaroid 600 B&W

Today I lured the duo known as Liver Mousse over to my apartment for pizza and Polaroids.  I’ve been talking about taking photos of the matching Mississippis on their arms for weeks.  The duality is comforting to me—his points to his wrist, hers to heart, mirroring yet somehow completely different, just as their music can veer from the soft folk of a 1950s country song to a busted-speaker garage stomper.

We got Domino’s and listened to a Fleetwood Mac bootleg from today’s date in 1977 and then some Gene Clark and Caitlin talked about mowing their yard in a zig zag and Cody talked about writing his name in the snow on a New Year’s Eve in north Mississippi.  They put up with me running around the room trying to light them a certain way for the Polaroid, and then turning the lights on and off and moving them around so I could take photos of the Polaroids to post on Instagram. 

Here are two things that capture the essence of both of them, and how kind they both are:  when I began to furrow my brow or worry about an angle, Caitlin would say “you’re doing great!” in the most sincere way, and I couldn’t help but smile.  And Cody brought me a mix cd with handwritten liner notes, stuffed with Pixies and Paul Simon and Nick Cave and Jay-Z and Tom Waits and Pavement.

There was also a lot of love expressed for Muppets Take Manhattan.

When he was little, the New York writer Willie Morris would ride the bus down from his home in Yazoo to see his grandparents.  (Like many Mississippi artists, he was melded both to the South and that great City).  “Sometimes in the summer I wouldn’t even let them know I was coming,” he wrote in Good Old Boy, sneaking in their house and pulling pranks so they’d think the house was haunted.  The young writer carved his name into the magnolia tree in his grandparents’ front yard, the one facing the Jitney-Jungle’s new 14th store, which was air-conditioned.  
The house where the grandparents of Willie Morris lived is long gone, and the tree now gnarled and misshapen, and a vandal scratched out the name of the writer from the trunk of the tree.  Yet the magnolia still flowers in the spring, still has wide leaves as green as those seen by the young writer of Yazoo and New York all those decades ago.

When he was little, the New York writer Willie Morris would ride the bus down from his home in Yazoo to see his grandparents.  (Like many Mississippi artists, he was melded both to the South and that great City).  “Sometimes in the summer I wouldn’t even let them know I was coming,” he wrote in Good Old Boy, sneaking in their house and pulling pranks so they’d think the house was haunted.  The young writer carved his name into the magnolia tree in his grandparents’ front yard, the one facing the Jitney-Jungle’s new 14th store, which was air-conditioned. 

The house where the grandparents of Willie Morris lived is long gone, and the tree now gnarled and misshapen, and a vandal scratched out the name of the writer from the trunk of the tree.  Yet the magnolia still flowers in the spring, still has wide leaves as green as those seen by the young writer of Yazoo and New York all those decades ago.

At the beginning of Spring I met the writer Mary Miller for coffee, and asked her about her novel Last Days of California.  Having grown up in an evangelical home in Alabama, it was achingly familiar.  My family never packed up everything and drove to the edge of America to wait on the Lord to break through the clouds, but plenty of summers to visit grandparents in Tennessee echoed the road trip life in her book—Moon Pies and gas station bathrooms and vaguely dangerous, half-deserted motor courts. 

It was the kind of book you loaned out after you finished it, after you’d stayed up a little too late on a Wednesday night reading it, chewing on phrases and texting friends the little jewels scattered throughout—shining, tiny valuables betraying Mary’s origin in short stories and flash fiction, where every word counts.

We talked about writing and how creating can be so hard sometimes, contemplated the lonely, yawning gap between The Secret History and The Little Friend, and about the people we cared for and wished were closer to us.  We hopped in the car and listened to Abbey Road during a trip down the street, and then we stood in the garden of the artist Eudora Welty and took a clutch of Polaroids just as daylight was running away.

Selected Google Searches from the Past Two Weeks:
where is walker percy buriedrevolving toothbrush holdertoad the wet sprocket walk on the ocean lyricsyoung and the restless themewhy are flags at half mast todayhow long is flash fictionhow long is a short storythe owls are not what they seemgun street girl lyricspink quartz meaningorange calcite propertiesbest kitten photo evermaude claythe band the night they drove old dixie downcardinalblue jaydrive all night springsteen lyricsis there a word that means sadness after returning home from a tripdefine grace
Polaroid 669 film // Polaroid 420 Land Camera // New Orleans, Louisiana // November, 2008

Selected Google Searches from the Past Two Weeks:

where is walker percy buried
revolving toothbrush holder
toad the wet sprocket walk on the ocean lyrics
young and the restless theme
why are flags at half mast today
how long is flash fiction
how long is a short story
the owls are not what they seem
gun street girl lyrics
pink quartz meaning
orange calcite properties
best kitten photo ever
maude clay
the band the night they drove old dixie down
cardinal
blue jay
drive all night springsteen lyrics
is there a word that means sadness after returning home from a trip
define grace

Polaroid 669 film // Polaroid 420 Land Camera // New Orleans, Louisiana // November, 2008

Your Town, That One Night You Swore You’d Never Forget // You Forgot // Polaroid 600, 20xx

Your Town, That One Night You Swore You’d Never Forget // You Forgot // Polaroid 600, 20xx

So Friday night it was really late and Cosmopsis and I had been working on Polaroid transfers all day and eaten fantastic Mexican takeout and I was pretty tired, but I had this new black & white film, and there was an idea kicking around in my head all day.

So I asked her “do you want to go to Times Square and take pictures?” Without hesitation she said “yes!” And so we did, and we took these photos, plus she got a Brooklyn Nets hat
.

May 2014 // Polaroid 600 B&W

In 1917 an artist named Jacob Kurtzberg was born in this building on the Lower East Side of New York City. Twenty three years later he drew a picture of a man clothed in the flag of the United States punching a person named Adolf Hitler in the face, a full year before the U.S. would go to war against Germany, but after folks had heard murmurs of what was happening.
The artist got death threats for the picture, which was published on the cover of a newsprint magazine filled with lots of other color drawings he did as well. It sold almost a million copies. The Mayor of the City, Fiorella La Guardia, called the artist to tell him that he supported him and his drawing.
In 1943 the artist was drafted into the Army, where he served as a reconnaissance scout, because he could draw maps and other useful things. He also saw things other people didn’t see, or would never see; maybe couldn’t see, or shouldn’t see. Private First Class Kurtzberg came back to the U.S. with a bronze medal shaped like a star, just like the one on the chest of the man who punched Hitler in the face.
The artist kept drawing; drew until his body stopped being able to draw. He drew the world, he drew a universe! He drew the man in the flag, named Captain America; he gave him friends named Thor and Iron Man, made them a team, called the Avengers. He drew another team of New Yorkers named the Fantastic Four, another team of New Yorkers named the X-Men, who were hunted and feared because they were born different, even though they looked just like you and me. The Black Panther, genius king of Wakanda. So many new gods, so many New Gods!
When I say the artist “drew” these characters, I mean “dreamed.” Until he drew them, they weren’t real yet; the artist dreamed them into being, pulled these myths into our world from deep inside.
The man born in this building in 1917 as Jacob Kurtzberg had other names. Children by the billion called him “Jack Kirby.” I call him “KING.” There’s no plaque on the brick of 147 Essex Street with any of these names. There doesn’t need to be. Don’t you know why? Didn’t you see the clerk at the Strand wearing the shield of Captain America on her shirt, see a graffitied and fading billboard for the Avengers in the Union Square station, see the baby in the stroller yesterday in an Iron Man onesie? New York City itself in the 21st century is a plaque to Jack Kirby.
Plus like acorns falling from an oak there are millions more plaques to Jack Kirby printed every month, billions printed since 1943. We call the dreams he drew “comic books,” call the people he drew “heroes,” all these dreams are brighter than the star on the chest of that soldier punching Hitler in the face.

In 1917 an artist named Jacob Kurtzberg was born in this building on the Lower East Side of New York City. Twenty three years later he drew a picture of a man clothed in the flag of the United States punching a person named Adolf Hitler in the face, a full year before the U.S. would go to war against Germany, but after folks had heard murmurs of what was happening.

The artist got death threats for the picture, which was published on the cover of a newsprint magazine filled with lots of other color drawings he did as well. It sold almost a million copies. The Mayor of the City, Fiorella La Guardia, called the artist to tell him that he supported him and his drawing.

In 1943 the artist was drafted into the Army, where he served as a reconnaissance scout, because he could draw maps and other useful things. He also saw things other people didn’t see, or would never see; maybe couldn’t see, or shouldn’t see. Private First Class Kurtzberg came back to the U.S. with a bronze medal shaped like a star, just like the one on the chest of the man who punched Hitler in the face.

The artist kept drawing; drew until his body stopped being able to draw. He drew the world, he drew a universe! He drew the man in the flag, named Captain America; he gave him friends named Thor and Iron Man, made them a team, called the Avengers. He drew another team of New Yorkers named the Fantastic Four, another team of New Yorkers named the X-Men, who were hunted and feared because they were born different, even though they looked just like you and me. The Black Panther, genius king of Wakanda. So many new gods, so many New Gods!

When I say the artist “drew” these characters, I mean “dreamed.” Until he drew them, they weren’t real yet; the artist dreamed them into being, pulled these myths into our world from deep inside.

The man born in this building in 1917 as Jacob Kurtzberg had other names. Children by the billion called him “Jack Kirby.” I call him “KING.” There’s no plaque on the brick of 147 Essex Street with any of these names. There doesn’t need to be. Don’t you know why? Didn’t you see the clerk at the Strand wearing the shield of Captain America on her shirt, see a graffitied and fading billboard for the Avengers in the Union Square station, see the baby in the stroller yesterday in an Iron Man onesie? New York City itself in the 21st century is a plaque to Jack Kirby.

Plus like acorns falling from an oak there are millions more
plaques to Jack Kirby printed every month, billions printed since 1943. We call the dreams he drew “comic books,” call the people he drew “heroes,” all these dreams are brighter than the star on the chest of that soldier punching Hitler in the face.

Coney Island // April 2014

Coney Island // April 2014

Polaroid 600 // Memphis, Tennessee // March 2014
We ate a lot of takeout for dinner growing up, mostly fast food—Captain D’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Krystal.  After nearly twenty years as a vegetarian it all seems kind of hilarious, maybe even abusive, constantly jamming these bizarre processed shapes into our bodies.  I loved it all at the time, though.  My favorite of all of them was Sunday afternoons, when my dad would clamor for his favorite, and we’d get Chinese at the nice Chinese restaurant, the Dragon, over by Century Plaza.  
I remember the crunchy noodles the best—that, and the placemats, my sister perpetually beating me in a game of Who Was Born in a Cooler Year because her ‘76 Dragon would always beat my Rabbit, or so we thought in 1985. 
I think the Dragon still exists in one form or another, just by a different mall.

Polaroid 600 // Memphis, Tennessee // March 2014

We ate a lot of takeout for dinner growing up, mostly fast food—Captain D’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Krystal.  After nearly twenty years as a vegetarian it all seems kind of hilarious, maybe even abusive, constantly jamming these bizarre processed shapes into our bodies.  I loved it all at the time, though.  My favorite of all of them was Sunday afternoons, when my dad would clamor for his favorite, and we’d get Chinese at the nice Chinese restaurant, the Dragon, over by Century Plaza. 

I remember the crunchy noodles the best—that, and the placemats, my sister perpetually beating me in a game of Who Was Born in a Cooler Year because her ‘76 Dragon would always beat my Rabbit, or so we thought in 1985. 

I think the Dragon still exists in one form or another, just by a different mall.

Yesterday I went to the store to buy some pistachios and grapes and maybe some gummi worms. At the check-out there was one line with like nobody in it, just an elderly person who looked like they’d already paid, bags already full. I looked over, and the person I thought was checked out was staring intently at the debit card thingy. She anxiously looked at the cashier. “I told you, I don’t know what my PIN number is. I don’t even know WHAT a PIN number even is, in the first place,” she said, pleadingly.

I realized they’d been standing there a while like this, locked in a quiet struggle.
The woman frowned at the machine. The cashier said “we will all just wait a minute. You’ll remember. It’s okay. Nobody’s in a hurry.”
So we all stood there. I tried to make a face that said, I am not in a hurry. I counted my breaths. I tried to pretend it was okay.
Suddenly the lady’s face brightened, and she quickly punched in her code: “I remembered!” The cashier said “of course you did, honey.”
The human body doesn’t always work that great. At the end of the day we’re just a bag of water with a dash of chemicals. A holy bag of water.
April 2014: had my faith in humanity restored by the patience and kindness of a Target cashier

Yesterday I went to the store to buy some pistachios and grapes and maybe some gummi worms. At the check-out there was one line with like nobody in it, just an elderly person who looked like they’d already paid, bags already full. I looked over, and the person I thought was checked out was staring intently at the debit card thingy. She anxiously looked at the cashier. “I told you, I don’t know what my PIN number is. I don’t even know WHAT a PIN number even is, in the first place,” she said, pleadingly.

I realized they’d been standing there a while like this, locked in a quiet struggle.

The woman frowned at the machine. The cashier said “we will all just wait a minute. You’ll remember. It’s okay. Nobody’s in a hurry.”

So we all stood there. I tried to make a face that said, I am not in a hurry. I counted my breaths. I tried to pretend it was okay.

Suddenly the lady’s face brightened, and she quickly punched in her code: “I remembered!” The cashier said “of course you did, honey.”

The human body doesn’t always work that great. At the end of the day we’re just a bag of water with a dash of chemicals. A holy bag of water.

April 2014: had my faith in humanity restored by the patience and kindness of a Target cashier

In July of 1954, a person named Dewey Phillips was playing records and broadcasting live on the radio from the Hotel Chisca in downtown Memphis.  People were still playing music like they always had, but they’d figured out how to contain the vibrations in the air made when fingers plucked metal strings, wooden sticks hit drum, a larynx warbled.  They captured the sounds and carved them into a flat piece of sturdy circular plastic.  This was called a record.  You could play a record by running a tiny piece of metal over it at a certain speed.  When you did that, you could hear the music etched into the record, even if it had been sung five months ago or fifty or a hundred miles away.  It was magic.
You could also let other people hear the record if you had the ability to transmit signals.  There were machines that could modify electromagnetic waves, the kind that vibrate lower than you can see with your eyes, the kind that maybe people on Mars can see, but not us, not yet.  You would play the record on an electrical-type machine that would make the air move in a certain way, and it would spit the shaped air out in a way that other people could listen to it, if they had machines that could taste the spit right.  People that played records for other people were called disc jockeys, or DJs.  Dewey Phillips was a DJ.  He spit music into the night.  This was also magic.
That summer night in 1954 the DJ spit a song sung by a nineteen year old.  The teenager didn’t write the song.  He was from somewhere nobody cared about.  He wore shirts that were dyed bright colors and had lace cuffs and liked to put a cosmetic device on his eyelashes called mascara.  In another city named the same as the city the teenager lived in, people would mix a powdered copper rock with honey and smear it around their eyes to ward off evil and protect their souls.  Maybe the teenager did it for the same reason.  This, too, is a type of magic.
People in Memphis who had air-spit machines loved the song the teenager sang.  The DJ ended up spitting it fourteen times into the smoldering night.  People will go just crazy for a song that they like.  It makes them feel good and they want more of it.  There is a juice in human bodies called serotonin.  It is like a radio that only spits out your favorite songs.  Music can induce feelings of euphoria, possibly through triggering higher discharges of serotonin.  This is most certainly magic.
In the 20th and 21st centuries, scientists spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get human bodies to make more spit like this, or not to get rid of it as fast if their bodies could actually made it in the first place.  The scientists tried to determine how to replicate the spit in the same way that records could play back a song.  This was a holy mission in search of the rarest of magics.
The concern some expressed at the time is that there is never enough of this spit.  There was only the first time that Dewey Phillips played the record by the teenager; and certainly by the fourteenth time it felt differently.  There was only the one time where you kissed your first kiss ever in the back of your best friend’s dad’s Buick.  There was only the one time you stood at the wall of the teenager’s house and pressed your hand onto the sharp-edged rock.  There was only the one time you held hands in the back of a cab on a January night when it felt like nineteen degrees outside.  There was only the one time when you pressed your cheek to the cold brick of the Hotel Chisca, ruined and empty.  There was only the one time when you buried your face in your hands on the banks of the Mississippi River.  Not all records can be played twice.  
That’s all right.  That is the magic of life. 

In July of 1954, a person named Dewey Phillips was playing records and broadcasting live on the radio from the Hotel Chisca in downtown Memphis.  People were still playing music like they always had, but they’d figured out how to contain the vibrations in the air made when fingers plucked metal strings, wooden sticks hit drum, a larynx warbled.  They captured the sounds and carved them into a flat piece of sturdy circular plastic.  This was called a record.  You could play a record by running a tiny piece of metal over it at a certain speed.  When you did that, you could hear the music etched into the record, even if it had been sung five months ago or fifty or a hundred miles away.  It was magic.

You could also let other people hear the record if you had the ability to transmit signals.  There were machines that could modify electromagnetic waves, the kind that vibrate lower than you can see with your eyes, the kind that maybe people on Mars can see, but not us, not yet.  You would play the record on an electrical-type machine that would make the air move in a certain way, and it would spit the shaped air out in a way that other people could listen to it, if they had machines that could taste the spit right.  People that played records for other people were called disc jockeys, or DJs.  Dewey Phillips was a DJ.  He spit music into the night.  This was also magic.

That summer night in 1954 the DJ spit a song sung by a nineteen year old.  The teenager didn’t write the song.  He was from somewhere nobody cared about.  He wore shirts that were dyed bright colors and had lace cuffs and liked to put a cosmetic device on his eyelashes called mascara.  In another city named the same as the city the teenager lived in, people would mix a powdered copper rock with honey and smear it around their eyes to ward off evil and protect their souls.  Maybe the teenager did it for the same reason.  This, too, is a type of magic.

People in Memphis who had air-spit machines loved the song the teenager sang.  The DJ ended up spitting it fourteen times into the smoldering night.  People will go just crazy for a song that they like.  It makes them feel good and they want more of it.  There is a juice in human bodies called serotonin.  It is like a radio that only spits out your favorite songs.  Music can induce feelings of euphoria, possibly through triggering higher discharges of serotonin.  This is most certainly magic.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, scientists spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get human bodies to make more spit like this, or not to get rid of it as fast if their bodies could actually made it in the first place.  The scientists tried to determine how to replicate the spit in the same way that records could play back a song.  This was a holy mission in search of the rarest of magics.

The concern some expressed at the time is that there is never enough of this spit.  There was only the first time that Dewey Phillips played the record by the teenager; and certainly by the fourteenth time it felt differently.  There was only the one time where you kissed your first kiss ever in the back of your best friend’s dad’s Buick.  There was only the one time you stood at the wall of the teenager’s house and pressed your hand onto the sharp-edged rock.  There was only the one time you held hands in the back of a cab on a January night when it felt like nineteen degrees outside.  There was only the one time when you pressed your cheek to the cold brick of the Hotel Chisca, ruined and empty.  There was only the one time when you buried your face in your hands on the banks of the Mississippi River.  Not all records can be played twice. 

That’s all right.  That is the magic of life.