She used to say that she spent most of her time driving around, because it was easier to hear the Blackbird's song that way. She firmly believed in it, as if it was a real thing, something tangible, like wringing water from a wet cloth.
She believed in it the same way she believed that flipping her t-shirt inside out gave it a 'b-side'. As in "I like the a-side of this shirt, but the b-side is much better."
The first time she said that particular phrase to me, about the song of the blackbird, I didn't understand what she meant. I just looked at her, gauging her expression, wondering if she was joking. I didn't know then what she could possibly mean by the blackbird's song. Understanding would come later.
The blackbird was her baby. It was this shiny, black vintage thunderbird. It was never 'the thunderbird' or 'my car', it was simply the blackbird, or the 'bird. As in "Hey, you wanna go get a few beers? We can take the 'bird."
We spent our weekends driving around in that car, the engine a warm rumbling purr, ready to take us anywhere.
Blackbird time was different than regular time. The time we spent in that car, listening to the wind come in over the windows, listening to classic rock, sometimes singing along, sometimes content to just enjoy the quiet rhythym, why, that time we spent listening to the blackbird. Listening to her song. Jenna said her song wasn't the same for everyone, but if you listened, if you really listened, you'd hear it. Singing just for you.
Sometimes it was looking out the window and falling into your thoughts. Sometimes it was seeing something that made your chest fill up with warm happiness, sometimes being in the warmth of that car was like finding the good things in your life that you'd forgotten you had. The memories that were so long ago, that remembering them was like living them all over again.
Jenna would always say that 'was the power of the Blackbird'. She really believed it. What she didn't realize, what I would've told her, if I could find the words that would make it as beautiful as she deserved was this: it wasn't the blackbird's song she was hearing. It wasn't the blackbird that made that sweetness, like honey and roses and sunshine. No, it was something much more than that. What I wanted to tell her so many times was that there was no Blackbird Song.
That sense of peace that came along on our drives was Jenna. It was always Jenna. That sunshine, that sweetness, was her. She was the warmth of forever. She made you ache in that good way, the way that after the hell you've just been through is over, crying your heart out, only to find it within yourself to laugh, to be filled up, to be made whole.
She was the welcome waiting for you on the other side of the door. She was the embrace that holds you everywhere you needed to be held. She was the feeling of coming home, of loving, of being lost and finding your way. She was like breathing light, she was finding what was lost, she was every good thing you'd never expected to find. She was hope, and truth and everything good and beautiful and pure.
No, that song wasn't the Blackbird's. It was Jenna.