Yesterday we went into the city, the city that we both love so much, and we plunked down at a bar to escape the heat and soak up the sounds. Okay, if I’m going to be truthful – he was escaping the heat, and I was soaking up the sounds. He humors me, and he was particularly humoring me on this day after I had pouted and made a particularly spectacular scene in the parking lot of the sporting goods store while holding back tears of self pity. Apparently, I had been harboring resentment over shopping as opposed to adventuring. I am not particularly fond of shopping; I require adventure. But I have this internal and eternal battle over being The Perfect Wife and feeling satisfied: I want both, but instead I push furiously towards what I think will make me perfect in the eyes of another.
Gross. And impossible. And also really, really stupid. Grossly, impossibly stupid.
So after my little outburst, he drove me in silence to the city, where I wanted to go all along – but I didn’t want to push him into doing something he didn’t want to do. Yes, I know, I already said it was really, really stupid. The whole ride there I just wanted to cry, but I held back because WHO LIKES A BIG FAT CRY BABY?! Then the city came into view, and I forgot everything else. I forgot my own stupidity, I forgot that painful little sentence that had been on loop in my head, “He’s only doing this because I guilted him into it.” I forgot that it was hot and he would be miserable and that I was wearing an outfit that made me fidgety and uncomfortable. I forgot the ruined breakfast of toast with jam because WHO PUTS AMERICAN CHEESE IN OMELETS?!
It’s difficult to think of anything but the electricity of Nashville, the eclectic crowds, the sound of what it feels like to follow.your.dream. that flows from every open door along Broadway. I love this city. God, I love this city. It erases everything that hurts.
So we tour the Ryman Auditorium, and I feel as though I have gained a thousand new friends as the departed souls surround us, proudly escorting us through The Mother Church of Country Music. But it is so much more than that. This building, this original home of the Grand Ole Opry, is where lifelong wishes came true in beautiful, colorful bursts of melody that united every shade and religion of man, woman and child. This very establishment was the destination point for so many, and when a dreamer’s feet hit the floor at the center of that stage and the crowd hushed to hear those first notes, it was magic. If you could bottle that moment, that feeling, that cocktail of terror infused with happiness and the deepest satisfaction, that explosion of THIS IS IT, I’m fairly certain you will have captured all that is good and holy.
We left the Ryman and we didn’t speak for a short while. We stopped at The Merchant’s for a mid-afternoon dinner, and then we talked. We watched. The restaurant is housed in the former Merchant’s Hotel, built in 1892. The waitstaff was friendly and warm, and the drinks were exceptionally cold – albeit unusual – and accompanied by seasoned popcorn that we devoured like starving street urchins, fighting over the kernel crumbs at the bottom of the stainless steel cup. Sweet potato fries, a sweetly barbecued pulled pork sandwich, and cheese grits beneath a pork tenderloin finally satiated our hunger, and then it was ice cream at Mike’s down the road to complete our feast.
We headed back to the car, but with an hour and a half left to play according to the parking meter, we reversed course and ventured back to Broadway in search of a cold Yazoo Dos Perros at one of the many, many honky-tonks dotting the road. And then the NovelFodder really kicked in.
Don’t worry. I took notes.