I moved to Virginia when I was 10.
Melissa is the girl that got away. I blew it with her 17 years ago, chose my friends over her and always regretted it ever since. The day before I left for Virginia I got an email from her on Facebook - she was living outside of Baltimore. I sent her an email back explaining I was in Washington and that I would like to see her.
On the drive to Baltimore, I get lost.
Stupid GPS. How could it guide me to a road that dead ends at a train track?
I call her from a nearby Checkers - and she immediately knows where I am, five minutes later I drive out into the middle of a grassy field beside a duplex. She rents the bottom while a group of her friends play a card game named "Munchkin" upstairs. Her place was sizable, bigger then I expected.
Melissa spent two years working in the stables at Pimilco, the famous Balitmore race track, home of the Preakness. After taking care of horses for two years, she decided to quit and enter the work force - not much money in grooming.
Before that she had worked as a teacher. "I quit. It wasn't the kids, it was the adults."
I couldn't agree more.
Melissa explains she sets up websites to actors, she is currently a fan of Callum Keith Renee. When I stare at her blankly she tries to hide her exasperation. "Cylon #2. The one that's in love with Starbuck."
I ask her why she's a fan and she looks at me like I'm crazy. "He's awesome in everything he does. He's currently in Californification, he was the guy trying to kill Guy Pierce in Memento. He's awesome!"
Melissa sadly shakes her head. "I used to have the #1 fan site to Ted Raimi."
I stare ahead, ignorant.
"Joxer on Xena Warrior Princess!"
"Joxer? That loser guy who was always getting beat up?"
"He's also the brother of Sam Raimi, director of Spider Man. Ted's been in all three Spider Man movies."
Melissa waves her hand. "We had a falling out."
We spend the night watching Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, a one hour special that aired in three parts over the Internet during the writer's strike of 2007-2008. Then we watch the commentary, which isn't really commentary but an hour's worth of additional songs that barely acknowledge what is happening on screen. Then we watch fan submissions by people aspiring to join the Evil League of Extraordinary Evil.
Melissa submitted one - she made third tier dishonorable mention - Ban Sidhe. Her evil superpower was she could sing and make people bleed out the ears.
I wanted to see it, Melissa wouldn't show it to me.
The next morning I wake up the couch and kiss her on the cheek to bid her goodbye. I wonder for a moment if there is still something between us....
....the moment passes, and I am the one
I make the 260 mile trip to Roanoke, heading west on Rt 66, then south on Rt 81 through the beautiful Shenandoah - this year Virginia has had a late winter and the trees have not yet bloomed. I turn on the radio seeking non-Evangelical radio stations, flip through a half dozen country stations before finding one that plays some AC/DC!
The track ends as the radio announcer blares: "BRINGING YOU THE MUSIC that JESUS MADE! Jesus ROCKS! Now let's rock out to the music Jesus made for me and you, W101, Jesus saves!"I almost flip the channel, but stop myself - there's no reason why Christians can't enjoy classic rock.