Sept 14 — I find myself waking up in a College Station Sheraton. One block to the north is George Bush Dr., alternatively the block to the south is Harvey Rd. I head towards the south to a local coffee shop. It’s overcast and humid. I play the love song “Alone Again Or” on the rental car radio. I look at the album title, Forever Changes. The first time I heard this song was on a mix tape my uncle Tony made my father when I was young. He used to make my father mix tapes annually. He prided himself on giving my father better taste in music. I remember a glove box with old Maxell cassettes. I would listen to the tapes in the brown corduroy passenger seat of a white 1982 Volvo 240, overwhelmed by the strong smell of diesel and coffee. I would read the titles in his distinctive hand writing. Today I find myself 30 years and 1,286 miles from the driveway we would depart from every morning in Cypress, California.
I turn the title of the record over and over in my thoughts. Forever Changes, Forever Changes, Forever Changes. We are forever changing, the things you think are forever reveal themselves to be temporary.
A girl half asleep clad in exercise clothes walks past me, slowly opens the door, and enters a planet fitness. She looks back with sleep still in her eyes. I’m standing next to an ashtray and stone wall with giant letters D R E A M S. A few feet past the towering S is the back door to the coffee shop. I walk in. It’s filled with laptops and young coeds from Texas A&M. I think again of Forever Changes; the drives in the Volvo seemed to last forever the smell of coffee was appalling. I order a black coffee. I look out the window and see a 1982 white Volvo. I finish my drink and leave. The smell of coffee receding behind me, I walk past the Volvo, a white diesel ghost that greets me like an old friend, and get back in my rental. Pamela is back at the hotel. I told her I’d be back at 10:15 to leave for Dallas. I’m late.