“So you’re saying that you’re ready to start dating now?” It was asked innocently enough. By someone well acquainted with the practice.
“Dating…” I hesitated. “That’s a funny word. And I’ve never been all that fond of it.” I took another sip of the Kentucky Mule. “Let’s just say that I’m open.”
“You’re open to exploring a relationship, then?” he asked.
“Yeah, that sounds about right.”
S p a c e is being made.
Eight days later, I sold my guitar. I remember distinctly that day in 1995, when I walked around a music store in Atlanta, surveying guitars. Row after row of dreadnoughts hung from the ceiling overhead. The Guild was mounted on the wall. It had been my first choice, but that was Sue’s fault. What did I know about guitars? Not very much. She had played a 12-string Guild, and had done it brilliantly. She used to tell me that I had “thonky” fingers. After all, my true instrument was always my voice. The guitar was just accompaniment. In the sound room, I plugged them in, one after the other. The Guild was dear, but it had the only bass sound that resonated in that deep space inside of me. More than the Martin. Certainly more than the Taylor and the much cheaper Ovation. What were they but names anyway?
The richness of the Guild was astonishing. Not at all “tinny” like the round-bodied Ovation I would leave behind that day. Inside a molded black case, complete with strap and tuner, I carried my 6-string with me for 33 years. One of my favorite pictures was of me standing behind my guitar. Midnight jam sessions, beer and Bible studies, and the last day spent with my sister are just a few of the memories we shared. I never forgot that it was handcrafted. I always knew that it was beautiful. At one time, its music defined me. Now I have no instrument to hide behind. But then, I’ve lost the need for accompaniment.
My guitar case has been closed for the better part of three years, yet it still felt strange letting it go. The man who bought it played it for me. He told an endless stream of stories of guitars owned, lost, and sold, and then he insisted I would miss it. I have only ever owned three guitars; only ever loved one. Now space is being made.
Seven days from now, my first novel will be available for purchase. It sat open on my desktop almost every day for a good 3-1/2 years, begging to be closed. It feels strange to let it go. Even before I have done it, really. The question, “What now?” keeps coming up. A marriage and a lifetime of music are behind me. Now the novel is too – almost. It feels like I am making lots of space. But, for what? I have no clue. All part of the adventure, I suppose. The new normal that is my life on the fly.
I may not know what is coming next, but I’m open.