Isn’t it strange how in the midst of our current lives, busy and confused, we find comfort in the drownings of the past. We know they’re drowned, because we were the ones who held them under until they no longer made us cry, until they no longer possessed the power to bring a wince across our face. These things that are gone now, dead to us, we drowned for a reason, but every now and then, even the longest dead resurface for a moment. I think we’re the ones who bring them up, maybe searching for something good we had only when we had that miserable part, too. Maybe the comfort lies in the past that was good before it began to rot, before our eyes, under our noses, and within our chests. Maybe that’s why now when that old song comes on the radio I don’t feel bitter, and I don’t feel sad. Now, so many years later, it only reminds me of the reason it ever became so embedded in my heart. That first love.
That song used to make me smile until my face hurt, or my eyes flooded over with longing. The words were suddenly mine, written for the first boy I ever fell in love with. The music was the love I wanted so badly to make to him, flowing and pulsing in my ears and through my body. I wanted everything then; love, promise, forever. That song filled me with heavy amour to my ears until all I could hear was a distant beat playing under water. That’s how much I loved him, and every time I heard that song, I drowned.
Then that song abruptly turned from warm liquid to jabbing shards of ice. It acquired the ability to cause me to vomit with just its opening notes. Suddenly, that song became the poison that ate away at me, my broken heart and my embittered spirit for much too long. That song became the anthem for loneliness and I hated it more than I hated him. Even two years later hearing that song unexpectedly on the radio called for an instant reflex of channel change, like someone tapping your knee.
Now, sitting in my car with that same, old song, I’m comforted by what I had in that time, even if it did end painfully. I let myself trail back to a time when I was naïve about the world, and my desires were so simple; a time when I had no scars to carry with me the stories of my life that cut deeply enough; a time when I didn’t understand how vulnerable loving someone makes you. I long not for ignorance, but for peace and simplicity, and first love. And I don’t miss him, but how my life was for a little while when it whirled around him, when I first learned what it was to lose myself to a feeling. That song places me in shoes now too small and unscathed soles brand new. That song lets me be her again, before the sky came crashing down; fresh, dreaming, and unscarred.