I Just Want To Be On Fire


I’ve been waiting 21 years for someone to have sex with me while listening to Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire”. I think it would be magical as fuck. But still…. it hasn’t happened. And maybe I’m not being entirely clear…. saying “sex” is bullshit…. we wouldn’t be having sex. We’d be making really passionate love.  A Springsteen kind of making love.

Sure, I could have already forced it into happening, but that’s not fate or special or how it’s supposed to go. It should be natural. On the radio. On the record player.

The first time I heard the song I was a virgin. It was in a car of a friend’s older brother. It was at night, just like you’d imagine hearing it the first time.

I watched my friend’s older brother in the driver seat, through his rearview mirror, wishing his hand, calloused and black from working on his motorcycle all day, was on my face. Wanting his fingers to drag my chin to his mouth.

He dipped his fingers into and out of the wind, singing, “whoa, oh, oh, I’m on fire.”

Such a simple song. A few minutes of simple lust. Isn’t that all it takes? Every rule broken for one taste of ecstasy. Whether or not it actually happens is beside the point?

It’s always the journey. Not the destination. Fuck being Gen Y – I’m Gen Journey. If it feels good … do it. If it tastes fine…. drink.

Of course, all our daddies left us alone, Bruce, they were never there…. we have all waited for you to show us the way.

I Google the music video. Some Uptown Girl comes in and sparks his libido and even though the dumb broad is married he goes on jonesing for her. Stupid idiot. But like a dumb broad, I love that. That bad desire. It’s like he read all our minds. Always wanting that one thing out of reach. But isn’t that kind of delicious too? Desire is a meal best served on a full stomach.

But I kind of want to not be that dumb broad. I want to be THE girl. The Watts…..the Mary Stuart Masterson from Some Kind of Wonderful. The only girl who doesn’t just love the boy for who he could be one day, but loves the boy for who he ALREADY is.

I don’t want him to change. I don’t need him to be anything but who he is. All the insecurities, the less than minimum wage job as a mechanic, the calloused black hands from working on the motorcycle, the failed relationship with his father, the need to run away….. I just want him to look at me the way he does and it will all be okay.

I want to start by making out in the kitchen by the lights of the clock on the oven. I want to feel hands on my hips. I want to feel the rough of his beard against my lips. I want to be backed down a hallway. I want my body to crash against walls as his arm becomes a bumper against the frame of his room. I want his room to smell like pot and sweat. His sweat. I want to be guided down to his sheets he just washed expecting me to stay and I want his hip bones to touch mine, crush mine. I want him to say nothing. I want to put my arms around him and bring him closer when Bruce assures me he can take me higher.

I am frustrated with the music video. The flirty unavailable dumb broad will never be me, even if I try. And while I may love this hopeless romantic mechanic, like Watts loved Keith, or Duckie loved Andie, he is bullshit. I’ll always be second. How can I validate that to my heart? How can I tell my heart, “second place is okay, just deal with it?” I can’t. I refuse.

I want to start by telling him to stop telling me how much he wants her. I don’t want to hear how badly he needs her. I already know how beautiful she is. How smart. How perfect he’d be for her if she just understood how much he cared. I want to swallow every drop of my pride until I choke and walk away. I want to refuse to turn around. I always turn around. I don’t want to ever turn around again. I want to only remember the boys who saw me first. Who saw me, only, as is. I want to forget the boys with the grease lines in their hands, staining the skin of other girls.

My mother once brought me to a palm reader. She apologized to my mother. She said I’d be dead soon. I was 12. But “don’t worry, she’ll find love first.” As though love was all we were meant for.

I want to get into my car and drive away. In a direction he doesn’t expect. I want to dip my fingers into and out of the wind, singing, “whoa, oh, oh, I’m on fire.”