We ride together in my Jeep. She sits shotgun. The stereo blasts 70’s classics, most of which we ignore as ambient background. She chatters incessantly; something about a trip to the mall, then on to a peacock named Barney.
The music changes and we hear the first tinkling chords of Dennis DeYoung’s piano on Styx’s “Come Sail Away.” Jordan cocks her head and ponders the descant for a moment. She tells me how much she likes the piano playing. I adjust the volume, partly to reconnect with my youth and (honestly) partly to drown out her monologue. It is to no avail. When DeYoung’s vocal begins, she speaks loud enough to compete with the music.
“What a beautiful voice.”
“It’s perfect. It could be a boy or a girl.”
“No, honey. It’s a boy.”
“But it could be a girl.”
The music twists and edges toward rock. Jordan begins tapping her feet on the floorboard.
“I like this beat.”
It is a beautiful Southern California day, and the sun beams through the sunroof. The tempo of the music and the tapping of her feet strike me and I start singing along. Jordan plays air guitar. And then, finally, the refrain. Together, the two of us battle the speakers, rolling our way up the foothills to our home.
“Come sail away. Come sail away. Come sail away with me.”
We continue on this way, singing together, rocking out. It feels good. I feel alive and she is smiling. When it is done, we nod to one another and give a light high five.
“It’s fun to sing with your family,” she says.
I agree and we back into the drive. She grabs me around the waist as we enter the house, and I cradle her head, stroking her soft hair. She thanks me. I don’t ask why. Tomorrow she goes back for chemo to continue her fight against the disease. We are all emboldened by her recent success–grateful to be able to turn our attention to car-ride song and indulgence in classic rock.