She drove, shaking her finger, trying to dislodge the last sticky remnant of the CD wrapper that clung to her like a spurned teenager. Maybe she was taking Taylor Swift too seriously. She concentrated on navigating the twisting, narrow road as another song of love and loss filled the van.
It was the yearning that got to her--the reckless, singular desire of new love. She hesitated to call it the bastion of the young, because she could remember that need like it was yesterday. And it wasn't like the love had faded; it had just been shared for so long, pulled like taffy in so many directions that the thinnest parts snapped and dangled, begging for attention.
She understood why people had affairs. After so many years sharing the stage, one might decide they preferred the spotlight. They might miss the thrill of discovery, the stolen glances, the catch of breath from the brush of an unfamiliar hand. The shared secret. And as she aimed for home, listening to the young voice sing about a lifetime of love, she missed it, too. But she knew that love wasn't in the flash of heat or the spark of skin. It was in the unspoken. The quiet. The knowing.
Knowing when to talk and when to listen. Knowing you're right but not proving the point. Knowing that the years before don't guarantee the ones to come, but trusting they will. Knowing it won't always be easy, but remembering that when it's hard. Knowing the person next to you will always be there, even when you can't see them through the crowd. Knowing you have a place to stay.
She pulled into the driveway and turned off the music. Although it had stirred her, made her feel young again, she'd heard the lie in the lyrics. She walked toward her front door and shook her finger one last time, only to notice it was bare. Somewhere along the way the tiny sliver of plastic had left her. She ran her thumb over the remaining spot of glue, turned the handle and stepped inside.