I lose sight of the two-lane mountain road on every westbound curve. The fire of the Arizona sunset is broken by trees but still blinding, relentless in its beauty and power. I drive too fast, taking corners like I was in my old Nissan Z instead of an overloaded Toyota pickup. I flirt with the gravel on the shoulder then hug the yellow line that protects me from oncoming trucks that never come.
Mingus Ah-Um tests my cheap speakers as “Boogie Stop Shuffle” goads me, faster and faster. I am invincible, immortal, indifferent. Every blind turn teases me as tree branches caress the car and my tires cry around curves.
I am alone. The life I knew for 19 years is behind me. On the other side of this forest is an opera singer I think I love and a city I think I want to live in. Tomorrow I will learn I’m wrong about both, and the repercussions will echo for years. Today, however, it is only me and the sun and the music and this winding forest road. I whip around corners toward the future with my life packed into cardboard boxes as Mingus urges me forward, faster, faster, always faster.
“Personal Stories” is a series of posts about artists, albums, concerts, and other experiences that permanently changed our relationships with music.