To the man next to me at the red light on Pico and Barrington this morning, I really, really apologize. The town I used to live in was small.
You see, in 2007, she was a scared freshman with brand new shoes and a little eyeliner, and I was an apathetic senior with my brand new parking pass for the high school lot slapped on the windshield. She had stars in her eyes, I had a bag packed at the foot of my bed. We stood firmly on either side of the big High School Experience, neither sure of exactly how sibling instigators would handle the front lines of the same battle.
Then dad asked "You're not going to make your sister take the bus, right?" and all but decreed, as fathers do, that 180 days together in the front seat would be a good start.
The only CD I had in my glove compartment was a cracked-plastic copy of the Rent movie soundtrack. Hers, in fact - I'm pretty sure I had stolen it from her room. Show tunes are a universal language. And so, La Vie Boheme became our favorite song. Even as we wiped the sleep from our eyes, we couldn't help but sing along.
Sisters? We're close.
By October, we knew all the words. By November, we had even picked harmonies. By December, we could have identified which trees we would pass when we sang a certain line. If you stood out front of the Sunnyside Ford on Main St around 7:50am, you would just catch a teal Oldsmobile zipping through the green light, two girls screaming TO MARIJUANA into the winter air. On days that we were busy, or arguing about weekend plans, they would be the only words we would say to each other all day.
Our town was small, and the drive was short, but when you rolled down the windows, your singing could echo for miles.
We had other favorites after a while, sure - Boston and Tim McGraw, an entire playlist that remained solely ours. We drove to gymnastics meets with a specific order of songs that we will both swear, to this day, won us every meet. But those early weekday mornings were always built from the same song.
To days of inspiration, playing hooky, making something out of nothing, the need to express, to communicate. To going against the grain, going insane, going maaaaaaaaaaaddddddddd...
When I left and went to college, she kept the car, and I filled my iPod with playlists better suited to solo missions. The torch had been passed.
So, again, sir, I'm sorry to have frightened you on your early morning commute. It was pretty early, and I had just found this old playlist buried in my computer, so I was trying it back on for size. You see, the town I lived in was small, but together our voices were pretty big and some mornings, if I roll down the windows and sing loud enough, I can almost hear them echo back.