This Week's Topic: What song would you love to see a book based on?
My Answer: "Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are" by Meatloaf
I have been saying since I was a teenager that I wanted this song written as a book. It was my teenage angst song, and somehow fit perfectly into everything I was going through as a kid and made me feel like somewhere out there, someone understood me. I'm not saying that I lost my best friend or made love to an angel in the back seat of a car. It's just...this song spoke to me unlike any other.
Then, I decided I wanted to write the story, so at 4 o'clock this morning, I sat down and wrote. A couple of things you should know:
1.) I switched genders. I'm still not comfortable writing male perspectives.
2.) Isaac is the angel.
3.) Ginny is Kenny.
4.) I know "Bat Out of Hell" came out in the seventies and that OitRvMMACtTA came out in the nineties. It's just Meatloaf will always be eighties to me.
I don't know if you want to read the lyrics, listen to the song, or read what I've written, so I've included all of it. The video and lyrics are at the end. Here's my story:
"And when the sun descended and the night arose, I heard my father cursing everyone he knows. He was dangerous and drunk and defeated and corroded by failure and envy and hate. There were endless winters, and the dreams would freeze. Nowhere to hide and no leaves on the trees, and my father’s eyes were blank as he hit me again and again and again."
Even though I knew I had nowhere to go, I ran. Mom sat there and let me.
But he came. Maybe the bruises weren’t enough. Maybe losing Ginny was too much and he didn’t want to lose me too. I’d like to think the last is true, but really, I don’t know.
I slipped on the stairs and fell. He reached me then, but the ice was too thick and the snow too thin, and he fell too. I got up and nearly dropped again, my knee slamming into the walkway. I scrambled to my feet, but he had my hair and pulled me down again.
He said something then, but the wind or my pulse was too thick, so I didn’t hear it.
This time, I was lucky he was drunk. I wrenched myself away, leaving behind a fistful of hair, but I didn’t care. I just had to get away.
I ran to the shed and grabbed my bike. I didn’t look to see if he was still sprawled on the ground. My foot hit the pedal and I was gone.
The snow whipped my face and made it impossible to see. I was still on the road because my bike almost skidded out a couple times—it wouldn’t have done that on the grass—but even so, the bottom of the hill was steep. Bicycles aren’t meant to be ridden in the snow. I couldn’t stop.
The back tire slid from under me, and I skidded across the T-intersection. It was the tree that finally stopped me. Rather, it was my head against the tree that stopped me. I lay in the darkness in a ditch across from my street, more stunned than anything else.
That’s when I saw the light. And when it crested the top of the hill, I saw them. The 1992 Mazda headlights. He had come after me.
I was too tired.
He was driving faster than weather permitted. Actually, if it had been summertime, he would have still been driving too fast. Now the same weather that had made it impossible for us to leave the hill the day I was supposed to get my license prevented him from leaving it too.
When the Mazda started to spin, the back tires fishtailed first. And then the truck was coming straight towards me.
I couldn’t get to my feet. I scrambled into the woods, putting a tree between me and him.
There weren’t any screeching tires or loud bangs. There wasn’t a moment of clarity, and the world did not slow. I didn’t see my life flash before my eyes. Maybe that’s because I wasn’t going to die.
I felt the impact of the truck. It didn’t hit me. It didn’t even hit my tree, just a nearby tree. I waited for him to get out, but he didn’t. I just stood there and waited. And waited and waited and waited. But there was nothing.
I should have walked to the cab, but I couldn’t. I was rooted in the ground like the tree that maybe killed my father.
Finally, I reached into my pocket and took out my cell phone. Its screen lit up the ditch. I brushed the snow away on my jeans and then dialed.
“Hi, Isaac. It’s Caroline. I know it’s late, but can you come pick me up?”
I told him where to find me, and then I tucked my cell phone into my pocket and climbed from the ditch. I stood at the edge of the road and waited.
Exactly two cars passed before the third slowed. Despite the darkness, I knew it was Isaac’s car. He hadn’t brushed the snow off yet.
He had already rolled down the passenger window by the time he stopped, but I was in his car before he could say anything through it.
“Just drive. Isaac, please. Just drive.”
“What the hell happened?”
“Just go, already. Please.”
So he did, and I told him what happened. I didn’t cry. I just spoke.
By the time I was done, the roads were getting bad. Real bad. He pulled his car into the parking lot of the old motel and shut it off, and we just sat there under the streetlight in silence for a while.
The snow covered the windshield again. Pretty soon we were both in shadow.
I stared out the window, not that I could see anything. The snow covered that too. I shivered.
“Jesus, Caroline,” Isaac said again.
I looked at him. He took his jacket off and put it around my shoulders, covering my sodden pajamas.
“Jesus Christ,” he said.
He leaned over me and rummaged through his glove compartment. He dabbed my face with the napkin. I looked down. There were dark stains on it.
“Can you grab the kit from under your seat?” he asked me. I did.
He cleaned up most of the blood and then covered the largest gash with gauze. We didn’t say anything for a long time after that. I stared unseeingly out the window.
“You look a lot like her,” he finally said.
I looked at him. He was right. I did look a lot like Ginny. I always have.
He touched my cheek and tilted my face towards him. I shivered. He dropped his hand and restarted the car. The dashboard flickered on and music started playing. In a few minutes, heat came pouring from the vents.
“Thank you,” I said. I handed him his jacket.
He shook his head, so I draped it over me again.
“Do you miss her?” I asked.
It was a silly question. Everyone misses Ginny. You can’t be that beautiful a person without being missed. But I still felt a pang of regret. Then I felt a pang of jealousy—jealousy over my dead sister.
He touched the back of my hand. I didn’t look up.
“Caroline,” he said.
Then I did look up, and his lips were on mine. I froze. Then I kissed him back.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew this was wrong. It didn’t matter how long I loved Isaac. Ginny loved him first. And I knew he wasn’t kissing me. He was kissing Ginny.
And then, I didn’t care anymore.
I wound my fingers through his hair and pulled him deeper into the kiss. He came willingly. He unbuckled his seatbelt, and soon the back of my seat had been lowered and he was on top of me.
A song drifted over the stereo. “And I think somebody somewhere must be tolling a bell. And the last thing I see is my heart, still beating.”
Because Isaac would listen to eighties music.
“Breaking out of my body and flying away.”
Isaac’s tongue crashed into my mouth, and I was gone.
Here's a link to the lyrics.
Here's the video:
Your turn: What's your teenage angst song--the one that you feel sings to you and was written especially for you?