"I stop somewhere waiting for you."
I closed the book. Margo was lying on the reclined chair of the shotgun seat, fast asleep. She said she had supplies and sleeping equipment with her, but she couldn't stay awake long enough to even get out of her car, where we spent the early evening talking, then later on, reading. She read more Emily Dickinson. I finished 'Song of Myself'.
Margo always looked gorgeous, but right now, in the silence of the night, when she doesn't have any makeup on and you couldn't see the fire always burning in her eyes, she looked like an angel sent from Above. Unlike when she was awake, the sleeping Margo looked unusually peaceful, and this time she seemed like she was dreaming; every now and then the corners of her mouth would curl into a small smile. Her right hand still gripped her book while her left rested on her stomach. Her chest rose and fell as she breathed in her sleep. It was beautiful looking at her. I swear I could just watch her like that the whole night.
But then she frowned, as if her dream was turning into a nightmare, and this terrible little shriek came from her mouth. The book fell from her hand and one of her legs jerked. She must be falling in her dream. It happened to me once when I was about twelve, when I wasn't fully asleep but not fully awake. I had dreamed I was falling, and my legs subconsciously jerked, waking me up at once. But then Margo quieted again and smiled. Who could scream, jerk her leg, and smile in her sleep in two seconds flat? I figured that it was impossible for me to do, but for this girl beside me, nothing is. She isn't Margo Roth Spiegelman for nothing.
In a dull moment when Margo turned her back on me, I started thinking about Whitman's poem, in that part when he just listened to the sounds around him. I did what he did. I listened. I even closed my eyes to block visual disruptions. Here is what I learned: Though I was alone here with Margo, I could hear a lot from inside my head. There were familiar sounds, like mom closing the minivan's door, the bell in school, Radar's fingers as they hit his handheld when he's on Omnictionary, Ben bragging how good he was at Resurrection, Chuck Parson as he apologized, Ruthie saying "Five bucks", the honking of car horns and screeching of tires and the voices of everything I've heard in my life that were still in my memory. And there was Margo all over: Her laughter, her poetic tone, her persuasive, cool voice. I could hear her. It was easy, like opening a door that's already a bit open.
I realized that when you concentrate on something, like hearing a voice of a friend when you're listening to his or her chorale group sing, you would get what you want. If, for example, I wanted to hear Ben's voice in a party at its climax -when everybody was dead-drunk- I would. If I wanted to hear Radar when I'm eighty years old and already half deaf, I would. But before I found and talked to her one-on-one, I never heard Margo. Back then, I searched for her voice in the thousands of sounds inside my head but never found hers. In the midst of voices and noises, I couldn't identify and listen to her, because before, I didn't know her voice. I didn't know her. I heard her speak, but I never listened. That was my biggest mistake.
Because, when you hear without listening, you never understand anything.
But now that we'd talked, we'd shared, and I'd listened closely to her voice as she told me her story, as if she trusted me, I slowly understood her for who she really was, if there's such a thing. But now that I have, she was leaving, never to come back. I told myself that we could work something out, but that was a lie. Margo Roth Spiegelman had wanderlust flowing through her veins. She stays for a while, making someone fall in love with her, but when she leaves, not even the one who is in love with her could take her back.
I sighed. It was 8 PM on my watch. By 12 midnight, I was supposed to wake her up. She would be driving me to the hotel where Ben, Radar and Lacey were staying by 12:30. The goodbyes would be said there. And by 1 AM, she would go away in her silver Honda SUV with the promise of an e-mail, leaving us because she had grander adventures to have, and because our stint in her traveler's life was done.
You never really know a good thing until it's gone, do you?