April 17, 1978
On the back cover of my father’s copy of Stardust, Willie Nelson smiles, soft-focus mountains rising in the distance. It is magic hour, and his paragraphs, drawn drunk, fill the sky with haphazard loops and curves. Most of it is covered in Sharpie, illegible. But if I tilt the record toward the light, his ballpoint script shines through.
“We just cling together.”
“Apologizing with no mercy.”
I think about my mother as I read his scattered words. I think about the rhythms of a marriage, arranged with equal parts magic, hope and heartbreak. Then I pull the record out and catch my finger on a sharp imperfection in the vinyl’s curve. Jagged, it could slice through skin.
Published August 24, 2021