The wallowing was over. The breakup hadn’t been all that difficult to do once I made the decision and followed through on my plan.

The anger had subsided or been pushed away. Friends had kept me distracted. Now, I was ready to move forward. I vaguely remembered who I had been before the enabling and the exhaustion. I had a window to my future cracked open, and I could glimpse happiness.

I drove my GMC Sonoma pickup truck to Auburn and had speakers installed behind the seat. Consumer Reports and the experiences of friends helped decide which brand, how big and where to have them placed. The truck was in the sound shop, so I took a shuttle over to the Auburn Mall, straight to the music store. I bought myself not one, but two cassette tapes: Libby Roderick’s “How Could Anyone” and Holly Near’s “Singer in the Storm.” Holding them like the crown jewels, I headed back to get my truck. The speakers were beautiful and they were mine.

Sitting in the cab of my truck, it was a wrestle between trying to savor this moment and hunger for my music as I got that blasted cellophane wrap off.

Then, that sound. You know the one. That sound of the cassette dropping into place, then that pause. And finally, the first notes. I took a deep breath of achievement.

I stopped at a corner store to buy a tall, cold drink for the ride home. The windows were down and my tunes were blaring. My left arm resting on the window holding my bottle of iced tea. My right hand on the wheel. I was living every song of freedom ever written.

That was a good start.

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