Saturday, February 25, 2006


It's funny what happens to you while you're perched in front of a computer on a Friday night, laundry tumbling and clicking in the dryer. For one, you realize you're an adult, that your Friday night now consists of whites and darks and detergent and softener, not bars and mixed drinks and thumping music. And two, your mood can change with the wind.

I sat at Billy's computer, with the intent to download some Stevie Wonder songs: If You Really Love Me, For Once in My Life, Overjoyed. And when I typed in Stevie's name, about a billion songs popped up. Songs I'd forgotten about, that sit in my ever-expanding CD collection, long forgotten. All I do (Is Think About You). And Lately. After Lately was stored in my library, I played while the rest of my songs made their way from cyberspace and into My Music. It was slow and sad, and it reminded me, for some reason, of a Susan Tadeschi song. So I followed my flow of consciousness and downloaded her songs, too; Another set of music I had forgotten to love. And hearing her songs made me think of Counting Crows, Anna Begins. So I found that one. But along with that song came a steady stream of even more Counting Crows. Piano versions, acoustic versions, slow sad songs that were on constant repeat when I was...well...sad.

I played them all in succession, my mood drifting steadily out of pleasant and cheery and into somber. I drank straight cranberry juice and thought of the exact moments I'd played the songs before, each one bringing to life a specific memory, a slideshow of me, then.

Billy's Music files are filled with my memories. Memories of my first days with him, memories of my sadder times, high school, junior high, childhood. I can sit at his computer and make a playlist of my life. It's good and bad, though. Sometimes I listen and soak in the past, happy to have made my way out of it and into where I am now. Sometimes it makes me sad for the person I was before.

Billy came home from work as I compiled my list. His day had been horrendous, his eyes weary. He looked defeated. The one highlight of his day was the pitfall of mine: He'll take his vacation in April. Coupled with the long stroll I had just taken down the alleys of my memory, his good news fell flat on my ears. It made me want to indulge in my music, to feel sorry for myself for some strange reason. But I went upstairs with him to bed instead, where he curled himself around me and told me about his day. I listened and offered the only support I could. He told me he loved me, then faded into silence. I listened to his breathing until it went slow and steady, the sound of sleep. I turned off the TV and kissed his sleeping eyes. I went to sleep with my arms around him, my face next to his, wishing I could make him feel better.

This morning, before work, I burned a CD of those slow songs, the thick melodies and heavy words that have followed me around for years. I listened to it on my dreary drive into work, singing along with the blues, over the pianos and guitars. I indulged like I'd wanted to last night, but for some reason I didn't feel the sadness I thought I would. It just reminded me of how good everything is now.


Doug said...

I think we all go through these little phases. It's particularly bad when what we are listening to reminds us so much of something we can never have again.

Popeye said...

I just downloaded a few of those songs that were from my college days this morning. It took me back to another place. I forgot all about "Shine Like It Does" and "Tempted." Took me somewhere better, crazier and passed.