August Music Challenge :: August 1st :: The Letter A :: SOTD


August Music Challenge
August 1st
The Letter A

Ryan Adams


La Cienega Just Smiled (live)

“I’m too scared to know how I feel
about you now.”

La Cienega Boulevard.

It used to lead to Tower Records. A steep, uphill climb to the place where music lived. My first car, the first night out in it, despite the warnings from my mother about “not driving to Hollywood”, we did. At the top of La Cienega the light turned red, and I panicked, my feet tense on the clutch and the brake. My wheels spun and smoked when the light turned green, as I desperately pleaded with my car not to stall. I had an open-eyed fear-fantasy that my car would just slide back down the hill, taking all the cars behind me with it, like metal dominoes, crashing. The sound of my mother’s “I told you so” echoing in the back of my mind.

We survived. No dominoes of cars. We ended up buying cassette tapes in Tower, and swearing to never drive up that “boulevard” again. But I swear off a lot of things, at one time, or the other. I hardly ever stick to the swear.

Tower is gone, but the boulevard remains.

I kissed a beautiful boy there once, on La Cienega Boulevard, as we walked up the steep Hollywood hill. He tasted like peppermint and Marlboro Reds and new love. My insides they spun and smoked, the lights turning multi-colors in my mind. And I fell, I fell hard and fast, tumbling into that unnameable space that sometimes turns into love.

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