Broken Hearts, Blue Skies….. Next 12 Exits

You told me that you loved me I started tearing down those walls – The Ataris

During a late night in early fall of 2000, my 1986 Mazda Rx-7 sat under a street light surrounded by dozens of sports cars waiting their turn to hit the make shift drag strip located in a lonely industrial street. All of a sudden I heard the distinct tone from my two way radio “cops coming your way”our spotter had seen two squads rolling into the area. As two cars started setting up for a race I gave out the warning “5-0!!”. Like roaches scattering when the kitchen lights are turned on, a heard of teens made their way to there perspective getaway vehicle, the cops would be on us in about 1 minute. I made my way toward my Rx-7. I began to pull out into the madness, when I saw her, wearing a face of confusion she tried desperately to make her escape. I knew who she was, her crummy boyfriend had brought her with to the races and now, fearing police arrival, he abandoned her. Now, this girl was beautiful and I mean beautiful, my voice still cracks thinking about it. I yelled for her to ride with me, to my amazement she jumped in. Many thoughts went through my head, first was “holy shit, she’s in my car”, the passenger seat of my Rx-7 was a stranger to riders of the opposite sex. She thanked me, and I secretly thanked her. As we drove out the cops whizzed passed us. Success. We talked about how shitty her boyfriend was, not that it would change anything for awhile, but to my amazement she seemed to liked talking to me. A week later fate would strike again when her 91 Ford Taurus station wagon and my Rx-7 were towed from the lot across from our high school. That day I got a phone number.

Let me start this from the day we met, you looked so beautiful, I never will forget – The Ataris

This 16 year old girl that climbed into my sun faded Rx-7 would one day be my wife, the mother of my children and the core of everything that has happened to me since 17. Now, it wasn’t easy to win her over, it took work. Still connected to a horrible boyfriend, I stayed in the “friend zone” for nearly 1 year. But, I knew it had to be done, she was it. I chose to fight for her and made it my mission. I drove around countless nights listening to The Ataris’ album “Broken Hearts, Blue Skies…… Next 12 Miles”, trying to make sense of the whole situation. Nothing in my life has ever come easy, she was no different, but I was committed. I loved her, I knew it than and it seems crazy, but to me the dopamine rush she gave me at 17 exists today. To her crummy boyfriend she wasn’t worth a traffic ticket. For me, she was worth my life.

“Finally got the nerve to tell you, how much you  mean to me. You said that I was your best friend, a real sweet guy, thats all I’d ever be – The Ataris

Fall 2001, for her 18th Birthday.

Why? whats the metric to gauge “love”. Just like anything in life its a series of actions and events. For me it was everything from the moment she got in my car to the time she bought me a cactus after my childhood cactus bit the dust. The fact that she always believed I could become more. She betted on me and I on her. In a true relationship you make each other better. And, I stand today to tell you I wouldn’t be who I am without her. I went from organizing an illegal street race underworld to becoming a police officer….. yeah, big freakin change!

Out of every girl I’ve met, no other can compete. I’d ditch them as for night with you – the Ataris

All the movies we watch show us the “fight” the struggle to win over the one you love. The “you had me at hello” line as you burst into a room to profess your love for the “one”. The boom box held over head blasting a love song to awake the girl of your dreams. But, that is just the beginning. Just like your magical wedding night that cost nearly 20k, its the beginning. The rest of your life is where you build that metric, where you build that relationship. The life you forge after that day is the true testament to who the both of you are. “Happily ever after” is a series of events that guide you through a path, many tiny battles fought along the way to happiness. There is no one huge “boom” and your magically happy forever, it takes work from both of you.

The Rx-7 had died, and was replaced with old blue

As a 17 year old kid I fought for her, I made it my goal that one day I would marry that girl. That one day I would make her my wife. So, now that I have her and she’s tied down with two kids, I can give up the fight, right? Wrong! We must clearly continue the fight. And we do, I do, hell I do it everyday. Every day I fight for her, I don’t do it by physically defeating  other men like some raged caveman. I fight by reminding myself to see her as that 16 year old bomb shell that jumped into my car that faithful fall night. By reminding myself how I made it my duty to bring her happiness. Although I am not with out faults, I won’t make mistakes twice. No one is with out faults and no relationship is perfect. At times, she has had to fight for me. Battling my faults and issues to make us better. We’ve changed a lot since than, and we continue to grow together.

Remind yourself to fight through all the sludge that is a complacent marriage. This goes for both of you. One can’t hold the reigns solo. Remind yourself how petty most arguments are and remember how you felt when you first layed eyes on her. Appreciate every moment. Fight against the stale marriage, the “how was your day” blank starred question, as you scarf down a dinner roll and check Facebook on your phone. Fight the urge to go through the “motions” and muscle through the years.

With the fall air pushing in, I remind myself that one fall day 16 years ago she got into my car and one fall day 6 years ago I married that girl, the one that needed help, the one that later I would make mix tapes for, the one that later would tell me she loved me over the phone, the one that made every high school day more bearable , the one that stuck by me through long shifts, emergency call outs, long training days, and busy lives. I think back to all those times, and yes its not good to live in the past. The past is the past, but those we chose to bring into our future matter above all else.  This weekend we celebrate our 6 year anniversary and I wouldn’t give it up at any cost. I would gladly have her jump into my car to get away from police again.


One thought on “Broken Hearts, Blue Skies….. Next 12 Exits

  1. I completely enjoyed this telling of the Beth and Efren Story. What I would like to see is the story from Beth’s memories.
    Her perspective and views. Our lives are a story we write everyday and the chapters filled with the memories we make. Those are some pretty amazing memories. Thank you for sharing them.

    Love you Both



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