Original Release: … Nothing Like the Sun
Definitive Version: None
It’s almost impossible for me to hear anything off Nothing Like the Sun and not think of the Summer of Love in 1988, but this song came to represent a different time and a different woman.
As I mentioned, being physically away from Laurie was a good thing early on. It forced me to keep her in a separate compartment, whereas my natural instinct in a budding relationship is to push it and chase the woman away … unless it’s when I don’t push it enough and chase the woman away.
But it wasn’t easy. Laurie and I had this instant connection when we met and then when I went to visit her in Chicago the first time. We still had a great time at Thanksgiving, as I mentioned, but what she said about uncertainty and whether us getting together was good spooked me.
The problem was when I got back to Torch Lake after the Thanksgiving weekend, I was all alone. I had been looking forward to handing off Maile to Dad and Laura, because now I’d be able to just work all day without having to take her for a walk or to go out and play. The weather was getting nastier—colder and windier—so it was the perfect time to coop up inside and do what I needed to do before I left for home in three weeks.
The reality turned out to be quite different. Within a day, I missed the routines, because they afforded me a break. Soon after, I realized I lost my clock. I never knew what time it was, and I missed my buddy. Just like me and Laurie, Maile was easy. She was never a burden, and we had gotten close in the Fall of 2004.
Not having Maile around meant I had a lot more time to be self-absorbed, which made me think about Laurie more. Maybe it wasn’t happening after all. I wasn’t so wrapped up in her at this point that it would’ve crushed me if we had parted company, but it still wasn’t a pleasant prospect. I liked her, and even though I played it off, I definitely wanted to continue seeing her.
During this time, I did a real smart thing one cold, windy day: I went over to the Big House, which Aunt Amy had taken over, and raided her VHS collection. Who was going to know the difference? But the real issue was the movies I chose—Sixth Sense, Reign of Fire and The Ring. Nothing like a triple-bill of horror and dread to take your mind off things, amirite?
So I was really shook up, and I did something I almost instantly regretted—I called Laurie. We never talked during the day on a weekend, particularly when we had just spoked a day or two before. I thought for certain Laurie would consider this to be an intrusion, and a different movie flashed through my mind—Swingers.
We didn’t talk on the phone long—she was just leaving when I called—and she knew something was wrong. I said I was OK. I didn’t say that I was feeling a bit emotionally needy, and when I got off the phone, I didn’t feel any better.
I decided to console myself by getting the mail up by the road at the top of the hill. I hadn’t gotten it in a couple days. I had a few letters—junk mail, a bill, I think, and … what’s this? Time stood still as I realized it was a card … from Laurie. It had been a complete surprise.
I hiked down the hill and went to a huge rock that’s at the edge of where the lawn drops down, so you could look over the whole lake. It wasn’t much of a note inside the card, but the subject matter was immaterial. The fact was Laurie WAS thinking of me enough to send a card just to say hey.
I sat on that rock for a long time as the sun set over the other side of the lake, reading the card over and over. It was a little thing, but the timing couldn’t have been better. It was a clear signal to stay positive, keeping plugging away and don’t worry about things. Yes, be still my beating heart.
Suddenly feeling much better, I plunged back into my work. And I kept my videotapes of SpongeBob and Fairly Odd Parents running on a constant loop.