God Finds Jack White, Jack White Finds Redhead
"I feel strongly connected to God. My roots are Catholic by default. I can take elements from Buddhism or other religions and see the similarities and differences in those, and learn from those, but at the end of the day, I don’t care as much about man’s interpretation of religion. What I care about is what God tells me directly.” - Jack White (1)
I drove west, reddening sun behind my rear view mirror. It was fall, and I wanted to see a university and the students returning. They were my age, and I had no chance to walk with them. Thirst for sadness was drying out my insides, so I stopped for a Coke. It was 1999, well into fall and unseasonably warm, so something cold and acidic sounded right.
The thick drink made me think of breaks on chores, when three of my older brothers and I would split two glass bottles of pop. Things that are too sweet always make me sadder. I felt sweat on the plastic bottle in my hand and wished it was glass.
I was on 94, and the white lines between lanes were smearing into gray. I thought then of the one black guy from my elementary school who had made it to U of M. The place I came from wasn’t stocked with achievers. It was full of drugs and tears of people who couldn’t shake them.
The sun was right in my face by then, but it was so dulled by thick sky that it didn’t bother me at all. Looking into the matte orange disc, I first felt the sense of the Lord guiding me somewhere.
God speaks to me mostly through pulls of a string in the center of my chest. We always have a destination where we are supposed to be for a reason, and this afternoon was that way. I didn’t know where to drive so I let God guide my hands and found myself going south on 23. I cut under the suburban bridge between Ypsi and Ann Arbor thinking of a girl and drinking Coca-Cola.
Then I felt a pull to the right and I was on Michigan driving west again. There was something calling me on through Saline. I then knew I was going to the Irish Hills for no reason at all. Other than that was where I wanted to be for a message I was supposed to get. Something was close, buzzing in circles.
I passed the little town, and passed farmland, and passed a go kart track, and was in the Irish Hills. I saw a sign for water and pulled off to find it. As the car turned I heard God. “Jack,” God said, “I will speak to you again through a woman.” I was still heading for water but I didn’t make it. I peeled into a u turn with a screech and headed back toward Detroit.
When I got there I found a sooty church near the Magic Stick and paced its steps. Back and forth, back and forth, as God’s words rang in my ears like a loud practice. The last thing I felt like was God getting to me again. It was tough enough to be me without him butting in.
Luna was playing the Magic Stick that night but they were too slow, so I stayed down by the bowling lanes drinking Strohs. I just kept drinking them and this girl with a bob kept eyeing me. I smiled at her which seemed to piss her off. She looked away. I walked over. I knew her, vaguely. The kiss came back. The night before she had that engagement ring. Said she was open anyway.
We had driven to a marina and kissed by the gate to the boats. We had taken this little walk and tried to get in to look at the giant yachts but couldn’t. Even though there had been a few people inside still, blaring soul music, the marina had been locked down. Bill Withers was rising to a yelp on “Use Me" and I had grabbed the girl then as gently as you can grab with passion. My hands in her red curls, we had kissed again.
Now we were together at a bar the night after and she had cut her hair almost all off. I could see a symbol but not what it meant. It all made me want to write. The redhead grabbed my arm as I turned to leave.
She smiled and said, “Bobby says it’s fine, he don’t consider it cheating.”
We left together and watched the moon rise over the Detroit River again.
(1) Via Relevant Magazine: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/music/features/20878-jack-whites-many-sides