The August sun had clocked out as the full moon started its shift. We were celebrating the five months we had spent together drenched in laughter and learning about love. We only had two weeks left before he’d leave me and our sleepy small town for college. He was chasing a dream and I was chasing him.
On an ordinary night, an ordinary boy made an ordinary girl feel more extraordinary than anyone had before. A chair sat centered in front of a keyboard, surrounded by candlelight and beneath a canopy of dancing summer stars. A suburban backyard had been transformed into a stage for an audience of one and I was front and center. I can’t remember the lyrics or recite the melody but I’ll never forget the way he looked at me while he poured out his heart with each chord. Even though the ending wasn’t happily ever after and the memory has faded from color to black and white, it’s a chapter from my past that will always make me smile like opening an Hallmark card with sound.
The truth is, I was always attracted to guys that were attracted to music. It was my vice. If they could pick a string or carry a tune, I was hooked. Music was my drug of choice and there’s a list of boyfriends who were addicts just like me. Sure we had other similarities, but music bonded us. The vain part of me enjoyed being their muse.
I haven’t shared this bond with just past suitors. My cousin Matt and I would spend hours on the phone in middle school singing duets. We would giggle each time Matt would change the lyrics to make a song silly or quite frequently to make a song dirty. Our pre-teen song selections varied from R. Kelly to Alabama. Top favorite? Richard Marx and Donnas Lewis with “At the Beginning.” Thank goodness our taste has improved.
I was fortunate to spend two uninterrupted hours with Matt this past weekend at the park in my hometown. We did what most normal 27-year-olds do – we hit up the playground and put on a concert for Redwood Park. We introduced each other to new artists, we sang some of our all-time favorites at the top of our lungs and we even resurrected songs we hadn’t heard since 8th grade. He was just as infatuated as me with the way words and notes mesh together to form a time machine that transports you to a place in your past.
As I was swinging back and forth in the sunlight with someone I dearly love next to me, I felt carefree. I know our shadows in the gravel were those of adults, but I swear the time I spent with Matt on the playground made me feel like a child. And just like how hearing Howie Day will put me on a train in Paris or how listening to Blue Merle will place me dancing on Bourbon Street, I now have another special moment in time that will immediately come to mind when I hear a certain song. I’m one lucky grown-up kid!
P.S. – Matt still changes lyrics to make songs dirty. It’s still funny.
P.S.S. – Yes, that is my apple bottom in the first picture. I have no shame.