Ode to Nick Hornby
"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"
Nick Hornby via Rob Gordon...High Fidelity
For me, the music was always there.
Music and books.
The things that spirited me away when I needed an escape are still with me to this day.
I couldn't tell you the date that Lincoln was assassinated or when the spaceship blew up, but I can tell you the first book that ever made me cry.
I can tell you what year it was and exactly where I was and what I was doing when Pet Shop Boys sang about their West End Girls as soon as I hear the first note.
I go straight back to freshman year during Spring Break, driving around with my best friend, Rhonda, looking for a party.
The exact party where the senior boy that worked at the grocery store and I kissed for the first time.
That feeling when you are driving down the street and a certain song comes on, wow.
It's a time machine.
A portal to memories that can make or break you.
U2's "With or Without You" places me on a fire escape at a Fontbonne University frat party on a Friday night.
The song plays like my own personal background track.
"Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I'm waiting for you"
I can see random people milling around outside drinking beer and laughing.
I can feel Scott Mercurio, brooding artist-type walk straight up and kiss me.
Just the kiss.
And the feelings come rushing right back like it was yesterday.
The fear in the back of my head that my boyfriend was going to walk out and see us, the knowledge that at that point, I didn't care.
It was exhilarating and I will forever have that memory.
That song fills me with nostalgia.
Listening to a song can make me feel sad, can make me burst into silent tears, can make pain return instantaneously.
But it's not misery.
It's a best friend taking my hand and walking with me while repressed feelings work themselves out.
It's a therapist talking though a memory with me.
It's a hug that pulls me in tighter and tighter and tells me everything will be alright.
Scott ended up dying from some sort of brain aneurism. We ended up spending some time together after that night and I got to know him. He truly was an artist. He was a gentle person and I regret not seeing where that could have gone.
Wait, he's dead so I guess I DO know where that ended up.
Holy shit, I'm a terrible person.
"Baby is it spring or is
The guitar sound or the beat of the drummer
You hear sometimes late at night on your radio
Even though you're a million miles away
When you hear Born In The USA
Do you relive those glory days from so long ago
When you think about me
Do you think about 17
Do you think about my old Jeep
Think about the stars in the sky
Funny how a melody sounds like a memory
Like a soundtrack to a July Saturday night