Wednesday night I got myself really worked up about Dad. I'd been sad that day, but was excited to have a great distraction that night: Stevie Wonder was in town!
I say that with great enthusiasm, but I had no idea what Stevie Wonder sang or covered, and certainly no idea that he was blind (really? He and Ray Charles in the same era? Seems remarkable.), so I did a little research, meaning I opened the emails B sent me and read them, then headed out to meet the law firm group for our outing to see Stevie.
The night began stressfully-- B came home to get me, but we needed to pick up another summer associate (and our tickets) back at the office, which took an hour to get to, then get out to the amphitheater (another hour). We'd been told that Stevie came on promptly at 8, so we rushed (in 3mph traffic) to get there, only to wait and discover that he wouldn't begin playing until 9:30.
What could've been annoying was actually great. We sat out on our blankets with Cokes and beer and watched the sunlight fade into the horizon while a parade of some of the best people watching I've done in weeks rolled by us. Peaceful, serene bliss.
Finally, the lights went down and Stevie came on to begin playing. He thanked God (his purpose for touring for the first time in 10 years) then introduced the teenager he'd been hanging out with for the past several hours, a cancer patient who ended up sitting on stage with Stevie the entire time. So amazing.
In college, the only time I got homesick was the weekend my parents were actually visiting and we went to New York City to see a play. Sitting in that velvety theater seat, alone with my thoughts for the first time in six weeks, I felt my heart drop. Wednesday night was like a vibrant flashback. I was fine during most of the set (did you know he sang "Signed, Sealed Delivered"?), but then he sang a ballad and my mind wandered to Dad and to the next day's schedule and a tear snuck out of my eye.
For a few minutes, I was fine, tears sneaking out of my left eye which was, thankfully, the eye no one could see. Then the other eye went rogue and suddenly I was sitting very still on this blanket, the corner thank God, with tears silently falling down my face. B hardly knew what to do-- comforting would call attention that he knew I didn't want, but not comforting would eat him up as he sat next to me on that little spot, our corner of the night. He asked if I wanted to go, but I declined, instead rising to walk to the ladies' room for a few minutes. I wish I could remember what song was playing as I cried it out for a few minutes, my tears dotting the bathroom's concrete floor in what I'm sure passerby assumed as some less kind treatment of the Verizon theater. It was something remarkably poetic, with a refrain that called for the audience to "take comfort." God works in mysterious ways, even Stevie Wonder, I suppose.
I gathered myself and headed back to B, who gave me a big hand squeeze and a tender forehead nuzzle asking if I was ok. "Yes," I said, my eyes welling up, "but if we talk about it, I'll cry again!" He quickly got me singing along to "Son of a Preacher Man."
That night, we got home around 1 and, in my exhaustion, I found myself needing to shower before bed to ease the next morning's early trip to Birmingham. I cried putting my clothes away, cried picking out a dress for Thursday, and cried as I got in the shower.
The tears wouldn't be chased by a lesser-important water source, and continued to come, harder and more furiously as I started to shower. Suddenly, my mouth was full of water. Surprised, I spit it out and kept crying, wallowing a little in my sadness and exhaustion. Again, I got choked by water. I finally had to laugh. "Ok God, I get it. You can't sob and stand under a heavy-flow shower head." A time for everything, indeed.
I got in bed and told B that I didn't know why Thursday's plans had me upset. I knew the meetings with the lawyers would be anything but emotional and yet I couldn't lock it up for anything. He held me and let me cry as we both fell asleep, but at least this time, I knew had no fear of drowning.