High school romances were characterized by several key factors: brevity (usually), half-informed fumblings on couches while the parents of latch-key children worked to afford a modest level of comfort, and the sway-slow-dances to ‘our song’.
‘Our song’… It sometimes felt to me as if half of my ‘relationships’ were spent trying to select a song. By the time I reached 17, I’d begun to realize that the only relationships I’d had work out well were ones where I didn’t have ‘a song’ with my mate. Either that, or Bon Jovi was cursed. Being an 80’s baby caught in her teens at the resurgence of popularity the band experienced with the release of Keep The Faith and, later, These Days, I’d had 4 different Bon Jovi songs with 4 different guys, all of whom would likely deny ever listening to the band despite they being the ones selecting the songs (and serenading me with them), and they’d all ended horribly (a stalker, a would-be date rapist, and two horrible cheaters). I soon decided not to ever choose songs, since it always led to the tainting of a song that I enjoyed. Music being my lifeblood and my preferred form of creating an autobiography, I refused to lose any other casualties to the sonic war.
And then, years later, I found myself engaged at 25, in a relationship for 3 years without a song. Every couple has ‘their dance’ at a wedding, and I of course wanted mine. But to what song? There was no song playing when we’d met, when we’d kissed, when we’d first had sex. My fiance seldom took me dancing, to my dismay (while I don’t go often, every few months I do enjoy cutting loose on the dance floor). After rummaging through my catalogue of 5000 MP3s, I settled on a few options and played them for my betrothed, with him finally settling down on Dance With You by Live. It seemed fitting, and it’s a song I’ve long cherished as one of the most beautiful and honest descriptions of love in its purest form.
I thought I had that love. And then said love left shortly after for a bridesmaid. The curse began anew. I shunned a song that was once a ‘desert island track’ for a full year, because it had become a ticking time bomb exploding into lemon-drenched papercuts upon my soul.
And then, I decided to fight back. The song wasn’t to blame for what had happened. None of these poor songs were. How could they have known what would happen? How could I have known? I had always listened to them with the best intentions, with genuine feelings and cliched swooning. Why give someone who has broken your heart, who has taken up your time without dessert, anything else that is precious?
I began to see the music as a reflection of the relationships themselves: horrid situations in which I attempted to become human origami and fold myself into a box that would never hold me. I continuously attempted to change my thoughts, my actions, my emotions and my personality to suit someone else’s demands, instead of simply loving unconditionally and being loved in kind. And such relationships ultimately fail, because we are who we are. Our melodies, our words, our intents and our deliveries are what make us unique. All of life is a song, and we must sing to our keys, to our ranges, and to nothing else.
My current boyfriend and I have a song, but it is one with significance: it was part of a playlist we listened to when we finally kissed and became inseparable. For once, my song was not agonized over, bargained for or selected based on a top twenty countdown. It means something to us, and symbolizes all we have so far and all I look forward to. It is the personal ringtone that plays when he calls, and the first few notes bring a smile to my face without fail. But even if things fall apart, the song will still be beautiful and it will join the others in a playlist of memories of lessons learned and moved forward from.
What are your songs, past and present? Do you still listen to them? Have you experienced similar curses?
A playlist, of my songs, past and present: