Tuesday, 15 April 2008

we fight, we laugh, we cry, as the years go by

"Don't you think we should have a song?" was never uttered by either one of us probably because that took too much self-awareness and too much decision making. Him and I, me and him, we made a habit of crossing the line as though it were a finish line and also a habit of listening to music. Music has never meant a lot to me. I don't connect the way some people do it, I don't rush to buy new albums, I don't even read music related things on the internet. I have a feeling he is the same way.Yet we found ourselves deeply connecting to one another through music.

When he broke my heart, he broke my music along with it and I had to part with mix tape after mix tape because I couldn't hear it without thinking of us: me tucked into the couch behind his desk and him, hitting play on a new song and then tipping back in his dorm room desk chair so that our ears were beside each other, listening.

The whole crux of the heart breaking was his decision that I didn't matter to him and that we didn't matter either. Imagine my relief when seeing him years later, he listed all the things that he couldn't see or hear or do without thinking of me. Music topped that list: trying to learn all the words to Ice Ice Baby together, Five for Fighting's 100 Years blasting in my car as we drove down the coast with the windows down, the demo CD a guy in our dorm had distributed. Staying up too late talking about what Nickel Creek's Speak meant.

There are a million songs that meant something to us. Some of them have come to mean something else to me and some of them have disappeared into oblivion and I can't recall lyrics or names or tunes of songs we would spend hours listening to together.

I've had other music experience since then: an obsession with Rilo Kiley's Absence of God (I still have no idea what it's about. I almost tried to figure out over the weekend, but then I remembered that I've tried before by critically reading the lyrics. I thought about googling "what does it mean?" but that feels like betrayal to the song after loving it for so long for just being itself.), an obsession with Youth Group's Forever Young (most played on my iTunes by a landslide, Ryan and Marissa's song from The OC, featured in the New Zealand commercials), an obsession with Dave Matthews' Stay or Leave (and the story I was told when I first heard it which made me immeasurably grateful for a life without teenage pregnancy followed by marriage followed by bitter unhappiness).

But none of those songs have memories that belong to me and I think that's how I prefer my music. Very distant. Very hard shelled and soft spoken. The local grocery in the city where I work tends to play a very eclectic mix of music spanning 1989 to 2001 which is as awesome as it sounds. Most everything I know from that time I learned after from a great radio station in high school, but I never followed music before that.

Except for one artist.

When I was in the fifth grade, my mom, brother, and I took a road trip with our best friends. We drove one of those big-ass 16-passenger vans despite there only being eight of us for reasons I can't remember and we spent two weeks traveling the country. We spent time with my grandparents as well. Two weeks in a van with your family is too long. Two weeks in a van with your friends is too long. Two weeks of the combined dynamics of you, your family, your friends, their family, and a visit with your oft-volatile grandparents? Kind of disastrous. I have a lot of good memories of that trip (Justin's farting problem, the random rock museum in Wyoming) and a lot of bad memories (sharing a double bed with my two friends sobbing while my aunt screamed at my mom for hours). But the think I remember most from that trip is Amy Grant's album, Heart in Motion. Before that trip I didn't know who Amy Grant was. After that trip I was alleged to her. I remember spending the last few days of that trip--days we spent hightailing it back to Chicago so we could get back to school and to undo the destruction we had done to all our relationships--listening to the cassette tape on a borrowed Walkman over and over and over and over again. Sometimes I was shushed because I was singing along too loudly. Sometimes I opted out of getting out and stretching at gas stations because I just wanted to listen. When I wore out Heart in Motion I found House of Love in the glovebox.

"That's what love is for... to help us through it. That's what love is for...nothing else can do it. Melt our defenses, bring us back to our sense, give us strength to try once more. Baby, that's what love is for."

(Bonus marginally related fan vid.)

No comments: