Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 16--A Song That Makes Me Cry, Or Nearly

It was nice to sit with our little candle glowing away in the night. But it turns out, in my remembering, I'd forgotten lots of babies. Because I kept remembering more all through the night and this morning. Which made me increasingly sad, because there are just so MANY babies missing, families grieving. Names, memories popping to the surface of my mental Magic 8-Ball. And I'm sure as the days go on, I'll think of more.

It's totally not fair.

Day 16. Halfway through October. And choosing a song that makes me cry, or nearly, is pretty easy these days. Especially songs with well-crafted, intricate harmonies. Being the dutiful alto I am, I love to pick these apart as though looking for the caramel in the box of chocolates. (I am convinced the Beatles made me an alto.) I love to find the discordant note, the subtlest line of harmony and follow it to the end. There are so many: Fleet Foxes are geniuses here, but then again, so are the Beach Boys.  

But if I had to choose one, I'mma have to go back to the summer after graduating from college.

So, back in the spring of 19blahbiddyblah, I was finishing college with no real direction. It was a tough time for me, as I felt like I'd aimlessly drifted through meaningless coursework for the prior four years. I had no career prospects, no direction. My friends were mostly in long term relationships, some even engaged. I knew in a few short months I'd be leaving all my friends. They were on their own paths and, since we all came from far-flung cities, it was inevitable we'd lose touch. Their lives would go on without me being in their daily narratives, and mine without them. I felt like their paths were much more promising, fulfilling and intriguing than mine.

And then I met this manchild. It was a whirlwind of drama, a relationship into which I put much more heart, energy and meaning than he did. But he made me feel like my life could have some direction, a direction I'd been looking for and wanted so desperately. He told me he loved me and I drank that Kool-aid right the hell down.

And of course, he lived in my college's state, and I was moving back home. Doomed, I know.  Only I didn't know. I clung to this, now obviously, pseudo relationship as a way to hang on to a life I wasn't ready to leave.  When if finally, fantastically crashed and burned, I was living this ridiculous life at home. I was working a million shifts waiting tables, trying to lose all the pizza and beer weight I'd accumulated in college. I was making new friends in my hometown, where I felt more lonely than ever. I didn't know how to be an adult at home. I had no idea what I was going to do for a career. It was an insane summer.

What does this have to do with Calla? Well, nothing really. Except if my life had turned out differently this maybe wouldn't have happened? But then I wouldn't have all the wonderful things I DO have, and that would be terrible. Oh, that and the song.

So that summer I was driving this car that would eventually run itself into the ground. A few years later, after landing my first grown up career-type job, I'd push that old girl onto a car lot and get about 48 cents as trade-in value. But during that summer I'd make the ultimate break-up balm, mix tapes. Incessantly. And the one song that would just rip the band-aid off again and again was "Carry On," by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I'd sing this at the top of my lungs; scream it, really. I knew every single note of that song, every line of harmony, trying to make my own. When they bust into the first "CAAAAARRY OON, LOOOOVE IS COMING! LOOOVE IS COMING TO US AAAALL!!!"--ooh, chills every.single. time.

So, again, what does this have to do with Calla? The very first line:

"One morning, I woke up, and I knew you were gone."

Gawd. I did. I really, really did. And this song still rips the bandaid, every single time.

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