Friday, August 10, 2012

Sail on, silver girl

Music is weird the way it can make you actually FEEL the stuff you felt when you first heard it.  Sometimes, when I hear The Lemonheads or The Connells or Concrete Blonde, I can smell the basement of Nation Hall, the dorm I lived in freshman year.  I can feel the thin, mens' flannels we would wear over our babydoll dresses, worn and softened by the random dude who had it before he dropped it off at Name Brand Clothing thrift store.

And if I hear Ben Folds Five "Brick", I get really uncomfortable and squirmy, and I usually have to change the station on the radio because, when that song was being played a lot, I was with a guy who made me feel creepy and I was doing things that I wasn't proud of.  Now, when that song comes on, it's like I am that girl again, and I feel guilty and ashamed.

The night Leslie died, my neighbor, Amy (She comes up a lot, doesn't she? Guess that's why she's my BFF, too), asked me what songs I wanted her to download for me to listen to that evening.  I requested three songs:

Never Going Back Again by Fleetwood Mac
All Out of Love by Air Supply
Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel

The funny things is, if you look at the lyrics, you can see all these poetic bits of goodbye and letting go, and loss in them.
"Come down and see me again..." 
" lost without you"
"I wish I could carry your smile in my heart"
"sail on, silver girl"

But that's not why I picked them.  I picked them because they made me, not just remember times I spent with Leslie, but FEEL the times I spent with Leslie.  

Bridge Over Troubled Water is from when we had to do this very weird thing at church about getting along.  It was weird because we all already got along.  Well, and it was also weird because the only person we didn't get along with was pretty hateful.  But anyway, Leslie and Brooke, and Dama and me....we picked this song as our song.  We were twelve, if that?  And we used to sing it.  Loudly.  Wrong.  Off key.  It was very fun.  And funny.  And sweet.  And true.   Listening to it, I was with them again.  Not just Leslie, but Brooke and Dama, too.  But not as we are now, but as we were then.  Sixth graders.  When everything was simple, but everything sucked.  

When I hear All Out of Love, I can still see the bedroom Leslie had in this little apartment she lived in with her mom just after high school.  I can see the poster she had on her bathroom door.  It was that Surrealist one with the train and the fireplace.  She had a cassette player on her dresser.  And we played that Air Supply cassette over and over.  Even then it was already cheesey and out of date, and that just made it more fun.  

Never Going Back Again was Leslie's favorite song, but she could never remember its name, so she would sort of sing the guitar part...da da da da da da da I'd know what she meant.  It was always funny.  It still makes me smile.  

For a while these songs always made me feel like crying but I listened anyway.  They were scab picking songs.  Today they just take me back there.  Not to the day she died or to the tragedy, but to the table in our church youth room, to the bedroom of that odd little apartment, and to the passenger seat of her Kia singing "da da da da da da da da".  I look over, and there she is.  They make me miss her less, not more.  

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