Everyday, the same nothingness happened on the long commute home. Two hours in my car, stuck in traffic, boredom abounds. Inch by inch, I forge ahead, trying to make the twenty-three mile journey to my haven of solitude. Twenty- three miles in two hours. Progress stops.
Horns, motors, exhaust fumes. My car starts to overheat in the summer sun, so I turn off the AC and open the windows. Nothing moves. Angry faces stare at me out of their car windows as if the gridlock is my fault. Sweat tickles my face.
I have a CD of my favorite songs playing quietly so as not to disturb the neighbors in their equally dismal commute. But, that song starts playing and I reach over to turn up the volume just a little. And a little more. At the chorus, I sing along with Barry Manilow. “At the Copa. Copacabana. The hottest spot north of Havana…”
Next to my car, the man in the red Ford F150 smiles and his head bobs in rhythm. His window is open to the elements, too. Blond hair matted with sweat and gray tank stuck to his chest, he starts singing. Hot wind brings in the smell of cigarette smoke and rum.
“At the Copa. Copacabana. Music and passion were always the fashion at the Copa. She fell in love.” Barry, Red Truck Man and me sing in complete harmony.
We three sing Lola’s story into life: “His name is Rico. He wore a diamond. He was escorted to his chair, he saw Lola dancing there. And when she finished. He called her over. But, Rico went a bit too far. Tony sailed across the bar. And then the punches flew and chairs were smashed in two. There was blood and a single gunshot, but just who shot who? At the Copa…”
The musical bridge played and Red Truck Man and I cha-chaed in our cars. Red gave me a spin and pulled me in close. Our bodies move in perfect synchronicity. No longer stuck in gridlock, Red and me flew to the Copa to dance the hot Florida night away. One, two, cha cha cha.
Barry, Red and me start singing right on cue. “Her name is Lola…” all the way to the end of the song when we sing, “Don’t fall in love.” It’s too late Barry and Red. I already fell in love with both of you.
The traffic starts to move forward and Red releases me from our dance.
For the duration of a song, my wish for the world worked. Everyone knows the words to the song. Everyone knows the steps to the dance. The guy always gets the girl and everyone lives happily ever after. Just like a Fifties’ musical. Just the way I really want to the world to be.