Colorado #6: Lucky Denver Mint

The incantation remains the same:

Memory, leave me something - I lose so much on a daily basis; give me this, on days when I was happy, for the days that will inevitably come when I am not, so that I may remember the taste of these moments that, inevitably, go…
— 'Rockies on my right,' 10 October 2004

Any other day, I would have said that this day did not go as planned, but in truth, we had few plans; just notes and directions scribbled down in a notebook, hopefully enough to get through the day. Denver was supposed to be Saturday, but Chris came down with a bug. Instead, I watched television, made food, and gamed with Jake while Chris slept off the worst of it with NyQuil.

Sunday afternoon found us swapping tasks: grabbing showers and tracking down directions. Past the silliness of me wanting to hunt for shoes, we agreed to hit up a comics/gaming store and SecondSpin, the enormous used CD shop I had mail-ordered from for several years. In the midst of a staunchly non-commercial trip, this would be the day in which I spent money.

'It happens too fast
to make sense of it,
to make it last'

It had snowed. It was just enough to dust the parking lots, partially melt in the heat of the day, and freeze back into patches of ice. It was just enough to make the spun-sugar mountains off in the distance glow blue-white in the early afternoon sunlight as I put the car on cruise control and headed south.

Shoes first, we agreed. I expected to find nothing, expected to walk in and laugh at the designer remnants and joke with Chris, which we did, but not three minutes after arriving in the store, I saw a glimpse of fabric that caught my eye. It was so simple to pull them down and tease Chris with them, for they were purple, and anything purple was fair game where he was concerned. Except that I looked at them and, amidst blanching a little at their price, realized that I might be holding my one regret from this trip if I didn't at least try them on.

They cost enough to justify calling a friend and asking for an opinion, an opinion that I truthfully knew before she even answered the phone. The same opinion that I was getting from the laughing friend next to me: buy the shoes, you know you want them.

I did.

The fact that shoes like that were actually made in the doll-sized 5½ that I required amazed me.

Much of the day is unimportant. Some may be written about later. We proved that there is, indeed, a place in the universe where Arkansas and Colorado intersect; right down the road from SecondSpin, actually. When I whipped the car around in a U-turn to get to the store (which I missed on the first go-round), we chuckled at the congruence of street names and then walked in the door.

Chris walked straight to the DVDs and said, "Oh, I am in trouble here." I went about it in a more organized fashion; I had my list of CDs to seek for Jeff, and stuck to it. Afterwards, I called him and told him what I had found, which appalled Chris.

Chris: "Isn't the point of a gift to be a surprise?"
Me: "But what if he's already bought them and I don't know about it?"
Chris: "Um…"
Me: "Besides, even if he knows, he still gets the anticipation. He doesn't get his hands on these until I'm home."
Chris: "You guys are odd."

I bought two CDs for me. One, an impulse buy, a Sander Kleinenberg double-CD set that I thought Asai had recommended. The other, planned: Jimmy Eat World's "Clarity," which I had long associated with Chris after he'd given me mp3s from that album to listen to in my spare time.

We were late, later than I thought we'd be, as we prepared to go home. Buckled into the rental Stratus, I stared at the two CDs and, at the last moment, picked "Clarity" to put in the player. I already associated it with Chris. This would be just one more moment.

I could feel the emptiness of the hourglass. It was no longer time to rest and relax; it was time to go back to the apartment and pack, because it was nearly time to fly home. It hit me during the second song, hit me when I remembered the title of the second song was "Lucky Denver Mint," and I had it. Many moments pass by quickly, unremembered; I knew this one would stick.

Music. Chris, talking. The steering wheel under my hands, the glow of the speedometer, weaving through I-25 traffic. The knowledge that I'd just seen my last Colorado sunset of the year, and that tomorrow, the sun would set on me in Atlanta. This 'here' would devolve back to 'there,' and we would go on with life.

On the road back from Atlanta two days later—Valentine's Day—I played 'Table For Glasses' until I had it right.

I came home with a pair of purple Givenchy shoes*, a song in my ear, and no regrets.

* and before you all collectively lose your minds, the shoes were 80% off, and less than $100. I am insane, yes, but not that kind of crazy.