Shattered Windshield

We pulled up to the house and my friend jumped out of the truck declaring she was going to puke and ran into her house and slammed her door. Jake and I looked at each other and laughed. “She had a few  more than I did” I said.

“It doesn’t take much for you though” he smiled, looking down. Then he looked back up at my face. “So why do you think we keep running into each other? Do you think it means something?”

I thought about this and shook my head, dismissing his remark. “I think it means that you came to town for the game and I came here to dance.”

He nodded. “What if it is more? What if someone is trying to tell us something?” He looked unusually ernest and worried.

“Like what? And who? God, an angel? And what are they trying to tell us…that we are meant to be together? I seriously doubt it.”

“Maybe its a test” he said.

“That we keep failing” I smirked.

“We haven’t failed anything yet he said and looked over with that look that I knew very well and my heart started to beat fast.”And we are not going to,” He said.

“Do you want to fail?”

He shook his head. “No, I’m good. Rissa is my whole world now.” He leaned back and put his hands behind his head. I was thinking about asking her to marry me.

I immediately felt sick. “Marry you?” I sputtered. I couldn’t contain my disgust.

“I want to, and I’m going to,” he said. “But I worry sometimes about, how can you marry someone when you are still in love with someone else? I don’t want to be an asshole to her in any way at all.”

I thought it was very strange how he threw the love word around.  If he thought that what we had was love, then he had no idea what love was.  “Listen,” I said. “If you love someone, that never goes away, even if that person isn’t right for you. Love means that the person has changed who you are for the rest of your life. They have become a part of your soul. So even when they are gone, weather it be a breakup or a death, they will always be a part of you. So you can’t NOT marry someone because you love someone else,  because, well, then you’ll never get married.” I pulled my hand away and rubbed it slowly. He took it back into his and cupped it with his other hand.

“You have definitely changed me,” he said. “But, I don’t know about Rissa. She makes me feel really good and I laugh all the time with her. But I don’t’ talk to her like I do with you. With you, our conversations feel more important, more intense and real. I can say anything and you won’t just laugh. You think about what I said and figure out a meaningful answer, rather than a witty joke. You ‘get’ me. Isn’t that just what anyone wants, to be understood? I mean, I don’t want you back, of course, but I miss…just fuckin talking to you.”

It was strange to see him like this, so vulnerable and trusting. Was this girl changing him?His softness for her was starting to wear on me. “I’m sorry but the truth is that marriage is not all its cracked up to be. In the end It just restricts you from doing what you want to do…makes you feel guilty for being human. Like, imagine if I wasn’t married right now, we could totally make out and not have to worry about the repercussions.” I laughed.

“It wasn’t long ago that you were married and we totally made out all the time anyway, remember.”

“I remember” I said, looking at him, remembering. I bit my lip and smiled, and he shook his head and looked down. I could tell this was killing him and I wanted to push him even further. Would he cheat on Rissa? I said, quietly, “No one would know”

“Know what?”

“Know if we made out right now.” I flickered my eyes up to his and was a little surprised at the anguish I saw.

He shook his head. He was silent and his face started to turn a bit red. “Jesus, Odette. How many times are yo going to fuck over Chris?”

“What are you talking about? Why do you suddenly care about what Chris thinks?”

“Ok,” he ran his hands through his hair, exasperated. “You are right. I don’t give a fuck about Chris. But I do care about about Rissa more than I care about you and your fucking tempting bullshit.”

“Then what was all this stuff about how you can talk to me about more important things than with her? That I ‘get’ you and she doesn’t?”

He shrugged. I stared hard at him. He was trying to control himself. I was in awe at his conflicting emotions. It was like a science experiment watching him. He folded his arms and was breathing heavily. “No one would know” I whispered. “We are completely alone.” I wasn’t even sure if I wanted him to kiss me at this point, or if I just was dying to see if he would.

I would know” he said.

I stared at him and he said louder. “I would know, Odette. I would!” He pointed his finger at his ribcage with anger.

I felt a deep ache in my chest. He had always been so easy before and now he was the one fending me off. I could feel my breathing getting heavier, the back of my head was stinging a little and was almost surprised to hear myself hiss at him, “I’m starting to hate you.”

That seemed to relax him for some weird Jake-reason. Maybe he knew that you don’t hate someone unless you care about them a little too much. He unfolded his arms and laughed and shook his head. “Well I still love you, Odette, but I’m not going to fuck up my life again because of you. I finally have something good going.” Then he said, “Fuck it” and leaned over and kissed me.

His lips were soft, even sweet like his last whisky and Coke. I could feel his smooth shaved chin and smell the smoky club in his hair. I wanted to run my fingers through it but all I could see was Chris and Zoe playing on the beach. Through my gin and tonic haze, I knew that this was the wrong direction, this was not what I wanted or what he wanted, and I wasn’t going to risk losing everything again by making stupid decisions after a few drinks.

I pushed him away. “You were right” I said.

“About what?” he gasped quietly, still hovering near me caught up in our moment.

“About knowing.  The reality of it all is that every time I think that Chris isn’t going to find out, he does. He can feel my guilt from 10 feet away, as soon as I walk in the door. There is no keeping anything from him. We are too close.”

Jake shook his head, as if to shake my words away. “You’ll be fine this time” he said quickly and pulled me in closer, his lips were practically touching mine, I could feel their warmth. But I was pulling away against his hands wrapped tightly around my arms. He murmured, “Its too late. There’s no going back or fixing this. You may as well kiss me again, right? Don’t waste this, Odette.”

He put his lips on mine again. They didn’t seem sweet or soft this time and I pushed him away hard and held him at bay with my hand forceful against his chest. “You’re wrong. It’s not too late for me. You kissed me and I didn’t even kiss you back.”

He let go of me abruptly and watched me move away. His expression changed to utter disbelief. “What? You didn’t what?” He was slowly realizing my plan was to try to absolve myself from any wrong doing here. “Are you serious Odette? Are you seriously going to pretend like this is all me? Are you seriously going to fucking do this to me?”

I didn’t know what else to do but nod, my heart was beating, his anger was exhilarating to soak in. Anyway, it was true. I could even tell Chris about this…Jake kissed me, but I pushed him away and told him I wasn’t going to ruin things again.

Jake was getting redder in the face, a vein was popping out of his neck a little. His anger was more than I had seen before in him and it made me nervous so I laughed a little. Then he punched his windshield so hard it shattered from end to end.

I screamed and he looked at me incredulously.

“Get out of my truck” he said.

I grabbed the handle for a quick exit but turned and looked at him, seething with anger that he scared me with breaking his windshield. “I can’t believe you tried to cheat on Rissa with me” I hissed at him.

“Get the fuck out.”

“You cheated on Clarissa with me!” I shouted at him. “You can’t marry her now that you’ve done that to her. If I didn’t stop you, I wonder how far you would have taken things? How far would you have gone Jake?”

I thought he was going to yell back, or do something drastic but instead he sat there and calmly said, “I forgot about this side to you, Odette. It isn’t pretty.”

“Everybody has a side to them that isn’t pretty, even you.”

“Yeah well I don’t fucking pretend do I? Now do I have to throw you out of my truck? Because I will.”

I knew he wouldn’t. But I was starting to panic. This was really bad. With his unexpected calmness, I was instantly regretting all the dumb things I had just said and turned and held onto his arm. “I’m sorry. I’ve had too much to drink. I get very emotional around you and make bad decisions. I was trying to hurt you because you love someone besides me. I’m sorry, I’m horrible sometimes.”

“No shit.”

We sat there silent for a minute, looking at his shattered windshield as I held on to his arm. “Rissa doesn’t to this shit to me,” he said.

“Then she’s perfect for you.”

He nodded “I know.” Then he looked over at me and said, “And when you do this to me I can’t help but think of Chris and feel sorry for him that he has to deal with this for the rest of his life.”

“I don’t do this shit to Chris” I said.

“Ohhh…..yes you do.” He laughed cynically.  I was quiet. I guessed I did put Chris through some stress sometimes.

“Are you staying at this zombie girls house tonight? How do you even know her?”

“I’ll tell you that story another day” I said, finally opening his truck door and sliding out. “Can you see through this window?”

He nodded, and shrugged. I looked down at his fist that was bleeding a little. Oh well, he did that to himself, idiot. I slammed the door and walked towards the front door of the little house. The door was unlocked and the couch still had neat piles of her laundry stacked up on one of the cushions. There was a blanket and a pillow there now too.  I didn’t look back at Jake. I just walked in and shut the door quietly behind me and hoped I hadn’t ruined too much of my life in 10 minutes.

Goodnight My Love

I took off the smokey blue dress in the dark and slowly put on my clothes from the day before, then curled up on the couch and pulled the blanket up to my neck. I held the bright light of my phone in front of my face, then called Chris’s number, put it to my ear and waited breathlessly for him to answer.

“Are you OK?” he said into the phone.


“Then why are you calling me at 2:30am?”

“I just wanted to hear your voice,” I whispered.

He was quiet for a minute. Then he said, “why?”

“Because I love you and I wanted to make sure you knew that.”

“I love you too, Odette. Are you enjoying your….break?”

“It’s not as fun as I had hoped. I wish you and Zoe were here with me.”

“I thought the point was to get away.”

I looked around the stranger’s dark living room. “You don’t miss your water” I whispered,

“Till your well runs dry,” he finished for me.

“I’m going to see Kat tomorrow morning.”

“Where are you tonight? When I tracked your phone it looked like you were at her house.”

“Its a long story, you are going to laugh at me when I tell you.”

“You’re not at a guy’s house?”

“Of course not” I whispered harshly, annoyed. “Why would you say something like that?”

“I really hope not.” He said.

I was quiet. He still didn’t trust me. I supposed I needed to earn that back…well, at some point anyway.

“Goodnight my love” I said. “Don’t be mad at me. I’ll be home soon, in a couple of days for the closing.”

“Goodnight, Odette. Just come back to me safe.” He hung up.

When I hung my arm back so that my phone dropped gently onto my purse on the floor, the tears ran down the side of my face into my ears and my hair, soaking this girls pillow. Chris was my everything. But Jake was right about how we ‘got’ each other, when I wasn’t torturing him I suppose. But isn’t that what everyone wants…to be understood in that deep, magical way? I thought about his bloody fist and wished I had at least brought him out a bandaid. Would he ever think favorably of me again? Probably not. I looked at my phone again. He was only about ten minutes away from me by now. A quick phone call could bring him right back. “Have some self control” I whispered at myself. I closed my eyes, furious with myself for being so weak and drifted off to sleep with images of Jake and me under white sheets, laughing because we were in my room at the beach with the breeze coming through the windows…the only two people in the universe, no commitments, no cleaning the house, no grief… like a freed pearl tossing around at the bottom of the ocean.

By, Kat: Coffee Shop

“Hey Ian, what’s up?” I plopped my ass down on the counter stool and fiddled with the straws as I waited for my bud to begin to fill my coffee cup.

Ian came over to the counter smiling, “Hey gorgeous, ready for some decaf?” we both laughed at that thought and I reminded him that I’ve only had three cups this morning, but who’s counting?

“Hey, so listen. My friend is coming to town. You are going to love her. Odette. Did I tell you about her before? She’s really cute and sweet and everybody loves her. Does my ass look big to you? I want a chocolate shake but I shouldn’t. I am going to totally go anorexic after Odette leaves.”

Ian laughed, “Listen girl, you have got to slow down. No, your ass isn’t any bigger than when you asked me yesterday, and it still looks pretty damn good in those shorty shorts. So have your damn chocolate breakfast-shake and relax. And by the way, this better not be some kind of weird fix-up. I don’t need to meet any more of your psycho friends.”

“Shut up. No, Odette is married and has a kid. She’s totally off the market. I want to get her drunk tonight. Where should we go? Oh God this is a good shake. Did you put Slim Fast in it for me again this time? She’s like a really good dancer. Or, she was. Do people with kids still go dancing? Oh my God, did I tell you that Paul called me again? This sugar-caffine overload is blowing my mind.”

Ian signed as he took my shake away from me and placed a glass of water down in its’ place. “Kat, lets just do water for now. Did you work an all-nighter again? I can’t believe the way you nurses destroy your own bodies….. So, do you want to come to a party with Shelby and me? It’s out in the woods, should be fun. Would your friend like that? What is she like?”

I started to think about the last time I saw Odette and wondered if she has changed much. Would she even like to go out? Maybe she just wanted to sit up all night and talk? Should I be taking time off work while she was here?

Just then I heard a loud bang causing me to nearly fall off my stool. “Fuck, Ian what was that?” We both saw it at once and after I got over the shock of seeing a VW bus in working order come barreling towards the coffee shop, I realized who the blonde was behind the wheel.

Ian began to clear the customers away from the window seats for fear that she would crash right through the window and I started to laugh hysterically as I realized that Odette was still as weird and fabulous as ever.

“Ian, this is going to be a fucking brilliant weekend”

By, Odette: Meeting Kat

It was one of those morning where the birds were singing so loudly that you wake up and realize that other creatures live in this world besides yourself.

I snapped out of my trance to the buzzing of my phone and I grabbed it from the floor and silenced it quickly. I really wanted to just sneak out of that house and disappear. My host(ess) would think I was just a dream except for the solid proof of her clean house. I immediately thought about Jake, remembering last night with a wave of dismay. Well, I mused,  there was nothing that could be done about that now so there was no point in wasting a good day by worrying about it.

I clicked the door shut as quietly as I could behind me and hurried to the van. I stood and looked at it. This cute, old blue thing was so loud, there was no way that starting it wouldn’t wake up Zombie Girl. She was so lovely, why did Jake call her that? I hopped in and slammed the clunky old door. I started up the engine and it immediately misfired with a terrible bang. “Stupid car” I muttered as I heaved it into first gear, revved it up and puttered out of there, careful not to look over at the house incase she was peering out of a window or a door. I probably woke up the whole street. I looked only at the road in front of me and smiled that I had managed to escape from that whole business with little damage.

I was suddenly completely famished and when I remembered I was going to see Kat in just a few minutes and probably get some breakfast too, I suddenly felt completely rejuvenated. The excitement that I had taken this trip in hope of finding, was finally filling me up. I grinned and popped in the next secret cassette, hoping this one wouldn’t be eaten too. Bob was going to kill me when I brought his VW back with all his beloved music in a pile of old black tape. “Happy Together” came on and I sang it as loudly as I could until I got the coffee shop. There was a spot right in front of the window so I pulled up right there, not quite finding the break right away but then stomping on it just in time as I hit the wheel-stop, which lifted and scraped up the bottom of the van. “Shit” I whispered. I backed up and it ground with an agonizing creek and squeak then the van thudded back down to the ground. “Shit” I whispered again.

I hopped out and slammed the door then lay on the ground to check if I had ruined the underside of Bob’s van. It all looked a mess under there. There was no way of telling that I had contributed to any of that. I got back up, brushed off my dirty clothes and pulled a leaf out of my hair, and saw Kat grinning at me through the window and people sitting down slowly, almost gingerly at the tables in front of the window. Had I scared them off with the van? Surely not. Gosh it was amazing to see Kat’s face. I hurried inside and hugged her. “Please tell me they serve eggs at this place…and hopefully bacon and home fries!!”

“We are at a coffee shop, Odette.” Kat said. “They sell COFFEE here. You could probably get a stale muffin or something if you are starving.”

“I am starving. Let’s go to Waffle House!!” I said. “I seriously need some cheese-grits like, right now.”

“OK, come on then.” She grabbed her bag, waved to her friend behind the coffee bar, “But they are not going to be organic or local at Waffle House, you do realize that, right?”

I laughed and we headed happily together out into the sunshine and the clunker, arm in arm.


The thing about Kat is that I knew I could tell her all of my indiscretions and she wouldn’t leave the room deciding she needed to de-freind me in the name of loyalty to Chris. She didn’t care about my mistakes. In fact, I got the weird feeling she actually enjoyed them a little.

“Girl, first I can’t believe you stayed at a strangers house last night. Secondly, you have no self control when it comes to that Jake guy!” she said, then laughed, spitting some egg out onto her lip them sucking it back in again.


“Sorry! But you seriously, self control, on a one to ten with you is like, ZERO. You crack me up. And I can’t believe you just left him out there in his truck with a busted windshield and a freeking bloody fist. Jesus!” She laughed again, stuffing more egg in her mouth. She spoke loudly, announcing my indiscretions to the whole of Waffle House as if she thought her words made us the exciting ones in there instead of the idiots who couldn’t keep their shit together.

I looked outside the greesy windows. Trucks lined the parking lot, lots of GATOR stickers plastered all over dented bumpers. A couple smoked outside of the door, leaning that relaxed way that smokers do with their cigarettes dangling…just about to fall from their fingers, but not quite.

“Odette!” She said.

“Huh? Oh yeah, my indiscretions crack you up and I’m a horrible person for ditching Jake like that.” I took a sip of my orange juice.

She held up her coffee, “cheers” she said.  I wasn’t sure what we were cheering but I clinked plastic cups with her anyway. “It is so good to see you friend. You do realize I’m coming to the beach like, next weekend, right?”

“I’d love that” I said, whith a mouth full of grits. “You would be amazed at what Zoe can do now. She knows all the captials and all the states when we do her United States puzzle.” I pulled out my phone and held it over the table to show her a picture of Zoe, sitting on the wooden floor of Luna’s living room, working on the puzzle.

“She’s so beautiful  like her Mama. And she’s like a little autistic genius. Like a little Rain Man.”

I felt a bit of a sting in my gut. “She’s not like Rain Man,” I said. “She is completely her own little person. And don’t call her autistic, I hate that, as if she were a ‘type’ of something. She is not autistic, she is Zoe, and she happens to have autism too.” I took a big gulp of orange juice then looked over the plastic cup at Kat who was open-mouthed.

“Sorry” she said. “I was joking around a little, since you know, Rain Man was a genius. He was pretty cool. It’s not like an insult or anything. I said she was beautiful.”

“I know,” I said, shaking my head. “I’m not mad or anything. It is just everything gets confusing sometimes. I just don’t want her to be stuck in a box becuase of her diagnosis. I worry about her so much. I don’t know what her future is goning to be like, if she will ever make friends or ever, you know, drive or have a boyfriend…get married or even ever have a job. I just don’t know.” I gulped some more juice and realized that was the first time I had ever said that outloud. “Sometimes I have to get away to clear my head, so I can get back to her fresh and be a good mom.” I had to fight back tears.

I looked up at Kat who was enthusiastically finishing her eggs. She nodded. “These are really good eggs. They slather so much butter on here. How do they do it? How do they make EGGS taste so good?”

I looked at her with wonder. Hadn’t she heard anything I just said?

Then she put her fork down and looked at me inquisitively. “Sometimes I’m really glad I don’t have kids. It seems like way to much emotional crap for everyone. My brother is freaking out because his son is biting anything that moves and got kicked out of preschool. The parents there actually signed a petition to get rid of him! And now my brother has to stay home from work for two weeks while they find another preschool. I don’t know how you all deal with all that crap.”

I sighed a big sigh. “Your poor brother. That really sucks but it will be a story to laugh about in a couple of Christmas’s. Mine won’t be.” I felt a bit solemn.

“Maybe he’ll be done with biting, but he’ll probably being doing something else by then to terrorize his family.”

I nodded. “Everyone has kid issues I suppose.” I sighed. “I miss Zoe.”

“What about Chris, do you miss him?”


“Even though you are still lusting over college boy.”

I gave her a hard stare, but simply said, “Yeah.” Then I smiled. “I should introduce Jake to you…get you guys together. Then he would be even more inaccessible because he would be yours.”

“As if I would do that. Anyway, isn’t he getting engaged?”

“I seriously doubt that’s going to happen” I said, finishing up my grits. “Damn it, you are going to make my stomach hurt.”

Kat laughed. “Haven’t you heard the phrase, you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Well its because when you do eat it, your stomach hurts..”

I put my fork down and nodded. “I’ve had enough.”

“Let’s go see some alligators at Paynes Prarie. You can practically touch them there.”

“Really? I don’t know about that. I’d like to make it home alive, not all chewed up.”

“No, they are totally used to people. It is amazing to see them out in the wild and not all caged up like that Gator World of yours down in St. Augustine.”

“OK” I grinned while pulling out my wallet. “Let’s go.”

17 Years Later

Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, CA

Chris and I made it. He and the band wrote their next album that year with secret help from me. Chris would play some chords while I scribbled lyrics and hummed out melodies in our bedroom. Then he would take my ideas and his harmonies over to the guys. I had to help with writing, if only to move things along time-wise with the band. There was a 6-month deadline for creating the album and we needed that album money to keep up with payments for the extravagant new beach house. Chris stayed there with the band, and I stayed 4 houses down the beach at Luna’s beautiful little beach shack, just us 3 girls. After the album came out we made enough that Chris and I and Zoe could have our own tour bus separate from the rest of the band, and it became the family bus tour.

So basically the past 15 years have been made up of touring and writing songs. Chris, Zoe and I are inseparable. We take excursions to go camping in Yosemite or the Redwoods, and write songs by the campfire. I homeschooled Zoe until she was about 12 Then she needed more structure and did virtual school on the bus. Now she does virtual college classes. She has online friends that are also on the autism spectrum and they do role play stories together and write Anime fan fiction. We plan tours around CosPlay conventions so she can meet up with them throughout the year.

Our home base is St. Augustine Beach. But we mostly Vrbo our house out, and tour. Northern California parks are our home away from home. Chris and I have found that if we are on the move and discovering new places together, that we are happy. Things crumble when I’m left at home.

We travel well together, we write music well together. I love writing melodies and lyrics, he loves turning them into rock and pop songs and performing them on stage with the guys.

On long bus rides, he plays video games for hours with whomever is touring with us that week, while I write us new songs in our back tiny bedroom that I decorated to look like my room at Luna’s. I have natural linen curtains, soft white duvet and some seashells from outside my beachfront bedroom at Luna’s, hanging from the curtain rod on strings. They clink together quietly when the bus is in motion.

So Jake, I heard that he didn’t marry Rissa, but joined the Peace Corps about a week after our final conversation where he smashed in his windshield. Why does this make me laugh? As far as I know, he has been living in Africa the past 15 years. He has abandoned his Facebook so I don’t know for sure. When I look up Jake Nead, there is a picture of him on a mountain top from many years ago, and that’s it, nothing else.

Evan moved in with Aunt Luna and helped fix up her beach house, thank God. He has a boyfriend, Gus, in Carmel, California, that he goes and visits sometimes. Luna often tags along and has established a community there of her own. She is a beach girl through and through and loves the town. These days she is into pottery and natural dies, and sells her mugs and fabrics at the St. Augustine Saturday Farmers Market. I think she just does that because she is friends with all the vendors and musicians there. She has a student sit in for her when it gets too hot out, and for when she is in Carmel. She also sells her wares online and and has a store section in the back of an artists studio in Carmel.

Great American Music Hall

I’m typing this on my laptop on the bus. The guys just played a show in San Francisco and they are staying in the City. Chris, Zoe and I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge over to Marin, and are visiting Kat. The bus is parked in her giant driveway and plugged into her house. She is living in San Rafael and has a son going into college. He and Zoe have been jumping on his trampoline this afternoon, like when they were little. I can’t wait to get out to Point Reyes Seashore and hike over the meadowy cliffs of bright yellow and violet flowers, and look for whales.

Outside of the Great American Music Hall,

SanFrancisco, CA

When I go back and read bout all those times that Chris and I lost and found each other over and over again. I realize now that my indecisions and searching helped me to learn how to hang on to our relationship and never let go again. When we are angry with each other, we go for walks and then talk about it calmly later. But we know that no one is going to leave. No one is going to look for Jake, or for a groupie. Yes, Chris does still have groupies. It is infuriating that he aged in that way where his hair just got a bit silver and his smiles got more rugged and charming. But age has also brought us gifts of love that can never be replaced. Security is no longer scary. And we don’t really take life too seriously anymore, we are just kind to each other and we find our magic and excitement in the the strong winds of Point Reyes, the grumbling of road underneath our bus, and through connecting with friends over art, good food, and music. It is enough. It is more than enough. I don’t need Jake anymore. But I do wonder where he is.

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