Today I’m listening to a song I haven’t heard in many years that reminds me of the last time I heard it. Or maybe (probably) I’ve heard it since then, but it’s not a remarkable song in my existence; it’s just a song, some pop song that people like but I don’t tend to get into pop. It’s strange that this song, of all songs, would take me back to a place where my musical library grew large, the last place I had instant access to music, the very place where I started defining what it was about certain songs and bands and lyrics that I liked best. Of all that music, experience, and dreaming, this pop song is what takes me back to a summer at mercy to the distortion of memory.
There was a tilt-a-whirl or tea cups or one of those spinning rides at carnivals you meet randomly while traveling unfamiliar roads that forces you painfully into the side of the car, and this song was playing from loud speakers while we were too hesitant to hold hands even though we’d just gotten smashed into each other involuntarily. I thought I might puke, and that was embarrassing enough: I used to love these rides. I loved the spin, the thrill, and the wind through my hair, closing my eyes in dizzy confused twirl, opening to the world passing by quicker than I can understand. The song played and I remember keeping note of it, holding it because in the future I’d hear it again and I’d want to remember that moment.
We held hands, we walked through the crowds two as one and nothing else held significance.
I am listening to this song today and remembering, trying to understand what I felt in my heart then and how that compares to what I feel in my heart now, but that’s like trying to tell the same story with the same words in different parts of your life experience. All the characters are different; your entire understanding of the world in which this story is set is different. The language is different. I can remember his hand slipping into mine, what he was wearing, that we were at this carnival we’d just happened on. I can’t remember what I was feeling, except that the song pulls me in and I feel something heavy; something’s lost.
It’s more the same feeling I get when I think of my childhood dreams and what I was like in grade school, and less the feeling I get when I miss something and want it back.