Erin Lyndal Martin
Officer, I heard all the storm warnings. I knew that you were ticketing people who went out without it being altogether necessary. Clearly, it was necessary to go to Wal-Mart at 4 AM to buy U2's "War" cd. Why else would I even be at Wal-Mart? I had to hear "New Year's Day" right away. I know it's not even Christmas, but I was just thinking about New Year's, how I don't do anything then because that's the day Jeremy died. Everywhere I go that day, that song is on the radio. Have you ever listened to the lyrics? Nothing changes on New Year's Day. Nothing changes, but everything can change. You can be getting back from Providence, where you and your friends rang in the new year drinking wine and watching Secretary, which one friend called "disappointingly Jane Austen-esque." You can come home, drop your bags, pet your cat, check your email disinterestedly, and then everything is different. In my case, I looked around my barely furnished apartment and let out a cry that echoed in the mostly empty room. And then I made a gash in my arm because I wanted the moment of impact to change me. I guess that's the sky described as "blood red" in the song. What am I supposed to do with that? Back to the idea of nothing changing. I haven't been to Jeremy's grave yet—how could I go there—but I can guess that nothing changes there. Stone is stone, plus it's in Alabama, where the seasons barely exist at all. And I know he knew I loved him, but the best part of loving someone is that it's dynamic. I don't want a love where nothing changes. Now I'm sitting by the side of the road and I'm thinking that there was a time I might have called Jeremy to tell him I got a ticket for going out in the snow. But mostly I'm thinking about the line that gets me every time. Officer, if you only listen to one line of the damn song, make it I will be with you again. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. I stopped writing this plea and wrote that line several times in the margin while you were in your car checking my license and writing out my ticket. I watched the snow collect on my windshield and wanted to turn on my wipers, but I wasn't sure if that was proper etiquette. Then I thought about that line some more—I will be with you again—and how I don't know if I believe I'll be with Jeremy again. I guess we'll all end up there, that place where nothing changes, even if we're ashes scattered or our bodies are somewhere that seasons haven't forgotten yet. And we both know that one day that email or phone call will be about you or me. I shouldn't be telling you what you already know, Officer; when you pulled me over, you could've been dealing with some psycho cop-killer, for all you knew. But I'm not. I'm just an insomniac grieving in the snow even though it's been two years, even though Jeremy wouldn't want me to cry. I don't even care whether you give me a ticket or not. There's this part in the song where the chorus switches lyrics, and it goes I will begin again, I will begin again. I'm turning my wipers on now.