Cotton Storms and Spiced Apple Wine

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I have a bit of a problem. I find myself searching, with everything I have, for some sort of life changing meaning in the various minutes of my life. The issue I find myself running into though, is that as I’ve become older, those soul shaking epiphanies I thought I had discovered don’t seem so important anymore, or even worse, feel false and tainted with youthful misconceptions. Sometimes, just sometimes, there’s no bigger meaning to be found, sometimes it’s just cotton storms and underage drinking.

I was in the midst of a long distance relationship, wrapped up in fantasies of marriage and love eternal, when my father announced his plans to remarry. Being a child of divorce, this announcement was saddled with the appropriate amount of angst.  There were questions like “How dare he?” and “What was wrong with our family, why does he need a new one?”. But, as much as I wanted to be the rebellious son, I couldn’t. I already spent eight years being that person, all my outrage had been expended on other things that deserve their own blogposts. I happily agreed to not only be in my dad’s wedding, but also be his best man.

Right off the bat, I was happy with my decision. The wedding was scheduled to take place in Door County, one of the most beautiful places in Wisconsin. Plus, to get there I’d have to take a three hour drive, which at the time I was very excited about. While my childish angst had vacated me, the love of the open road and escape was still very prominent in me.

There was no question that I’d be taking the trip solo.  While my trip would only be three hours, hers would’ve been upwards of twelve hours. That’s just too damn long to be a plus one. But, her presence wasn’t completely absent. She had gifted me a playlist of over one hundred songs to listen to during my trip and onward.  Which I listened to exclusively during the entirety of the trip, starting off with Mike Doughty.

As I neared my destination, the first moment of note happened.  I was nearing the town of Sturgeon Bay when I found myself in the eye of a storm. There were no raindrops or thunder, instead I was surrounded by wisps of cotton flying around me in a frenzied flight paths. I want to find a metaphor for this that involves myths and tales of yore, but none of them are accurate. It was like a blizzard. Plain and simple. In the middle of summer I found myself in a fibrous snowglobe while The Avett Brothers blared.

Eventually, it came time for the actual wedding. Unfortunately, like my teenage angst, the wedding itself deserves its own blogpost due to all the strangeness of it all. But, the  oddness of the ceremony did serve a purpose.  It absolutely subsumed any of those more persistent negative feelings I had about the marriage. Before I knew it, the ceremony was over and I was off to the inn I was staying at, a jaunty song by The Fratellis ushering me along.

Some of the details of the trip have become a bit fuzzy.  Thankfully I think the detail that led me to have a bottle of spiced wine in my possession isn’t that important.  What is important is that before the sun had set, the bottle was empty and I was just a wee bit drunk. Another detail that is important is that the room I was in, was kind of boring. Quaint and pretty but ultimately, boring. This sent me out into the world, after I listened to Pantala Naga Pampa by Dave Matthews Band one more time.

I wandered through the dozen or so streets that made up the small town I was in. I took in the smells of a homemade candy shoppe, I was hypnotized by the sight of hanging lightbulbs illuminating a patio bar filled with people drinking legally. I let all the haze and fading acuteness of the world take me. I waltzed with inhibition and then spun them away so they could dance with another. Then, when the ball was over, I found myself on a bench looking out on the Green Bay, which seemed pretty blue to me. There I tried desperately to find a revelation, a hint at the universe, a key into the psychology of families and society. None came, just the repetitive waves and seagulls. Any grandiose meaning I found came from revisionist history that I’m now doing away with. I napped on that bench, Bob Segar was playing somewhere in that town, I swear it.

The weekend came to an end. I never confronted my dad. I never indulged in those teenage dramatics. I simply congratulated him and his new wife. I joined in their fun and don’t regret that at all. It was a good weekend that sticks out for reasons other than the wedding. In a year that long distance relationship would be dissolved. I’d fall out of love with some of the songs on that playlist. I’d swear off spiced wine two years later because of a different set of events, and I’d make it a point to visit my father, his wife, and my stepsister as much as possible.

There was no great truth to be had by that weekend. Just things that happened that are interesting to look back on. Maybe that’s the point, just doing stuff that makes remembering worth it.

A quick word before I go. Starting as soon as next week, expect a big influx of short fiction on this blog as I’ve been slowly toiling away on my creative writing skills. So make sure to tune in for that batch of fun times and let your friends who might have an affinity for short stories know as well. 


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