The simple fact is, I stopped listening. Everything reminded me of something. Of someone. Even the slightest sense of one familiar downbeat would throw my heart to the front of my rib cage, arms flinging forward in an attempt to brace myself for impact. Eyes shut. Sweat soaking my armpits instantly; heart beating louder in the ears, deafening each continuing beat until I know for sure I’m drowning now. This is the point of no return and my only thought right now is – Thank God.
Mom always said dying wasn’t that easy. I think it was her way of telling me I was being pathetic without giving too much attention to my teenage drama. With a splintering pain, my heart ran full force into the front of my chest, frantically trying to push its way out; to burst through in fear that staying locked up within these dying catacombs, connected to these ears, to these feelings, would destroy what little remaining energy it had left, beating on in hope that someday these would be great memories – icons of a complicated road that ultimately led me somewhere.
Each forward thrusting thud felt like the last time I’d ever feel my heart beat again. With a faint energy, I felt myself reaching out in the same, desperate way my Mom used to ask me, “Why do you want to leave me?”
And if I’d continue? If I would try to live through the moment, pushing through to a familiar, happy place, forced into my head by a pair of shit headphones given to me in a party swag bag – attempting to remember all the other times I might have heard this song in a particular place that wasn’t connected to one, single moment in time – my heart would petrify. The attempt felt like my lungs were being filled with concrete. The sludge would creep in one beat at a time until I couldn’t be sure if time had ever even passed or if I had always been this way, since the last time I listened.
My mind would erase. Time no longer existed. Yesterday was today. This was happening to me now. I could almost feel the failure in each beat as it sank, hopelessly forgiving. Why do I do this to myself? Go back? Put a song on repeat?
“A long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile…” -Don McLean
I’m not quite sure the day the music died, for me anyway. I can’t recall the exact moment my soul exited my body, leaving behind only cold, familiar memories of the moments that once made the soundtrack to my life so grandiose.
I remember when it really began for me – my obsession with music, that is. I was 16. I had spent the last several summers visiting my sister in a land where, in movies, music had been outlawed. So when my parents and I moved there just before my 16th birthday, every corner of this Happy Valley was singing a familiar tune.
My best friend introduced me to the local music scene. I felt like we had to be the two coolest girls in town every time our Mom’s dropped us off at the local all-ages music venue, Wrapsody. This is my anthem. My riot. My mixtape. My story.
Listen to it on loud.