Monday, September 22, 2008

Silly Love Songs

I keep hearing that song. I’m supposed to feel something, remember someone when it plays. But I can’t. I just keep thinking, “dang, that’s a good song.”

There’s a funny thing about songs and memory and how we attach them to a person, a time, a relationship, a love. When you break up, the struggle for emotional possession of things can be as grueling as the physical division of stuff you’ve accumulated together.

And it’s not just the sense of sound. Once I was left by a guy I’d fallen hard for. We’d traveled together and I’d also fallen for a certain perfume on our trip. After he left, just smelling the stuff would break my heart all over again. But dammit, I loved that perfume and I wasn’t going to let him ruin it for me. For the next few months I’d wear it every so often always concentrating on how I’d felt when we’d found it: alive, beautiful, sophisticated, adored. Bit by bit, sniff by sniff, it worked. I still wear that perfume – it’s one of my favorites. Yes, sometimes I think of him when I put it on but only in remembering that beautiful beach and how good I am with myself.

It’s the same with music. Some songs are inexorably linked to past loves of even friends. The sad songs of Alice in Chains are my first love, my Italian. “It Had To Be You” is my best friend from high school, Tears for Fears is my good Seattle friend from my college years, Gary Jules happily reminds me of a broken artist I got away from back home, Johnny Cash is my sweet, Harley-riding ex. All these are positive associations. My heart has made the decision that bad exes or their memories don’t get to keep music I love.

So this song keeps coming up on my iPod shuffle and I have this twinge: isn’t this someone’s song? I finally remember having once danced to it with an ex, one of those didn’t-end-well ones, and I decide no, it’s my song.

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