Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could take bits of memory—especially memories of fabulous, beautiful days—and string them together with the music you heard in your head as it was happening?
Maybe I should back up a bit at this point. Perhaps not everyone has music constantly running in their heads like I do. It’s a bit ridiculous to assume that everyone associates memories with music—but I know of a lot of people who do. I’m writing to those people tonight. You’ll know what I mean when I tell you the following stories:
Whenever I listen to Celtic Woman, I remember a drive that my four best friends and I took to the beach. It was a long drive, and it felt like we had an even longer drive back to the house where we were staying, since we felt all sunburned and sandy. But we listened to that music in the car and sang along, softly, and forevermore when I hear any of those songs I will remember those girls and smile.
High school was a very interesting period of time in my life (as I gather it is for most people). I knew such a variety of people—academic kids, athletic kids, spiritual kids, artistic kids, musical kids, kids who climb on rocks. One of my top ten favorite musicals is Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the opening number (“Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats”) gives a long list of all the different kinds of cats (“allegorical cats, metaphorical cats, skeptical cats, dyspeptical cats”), and every time I hear that song, a corresponding face of a high school buddy flashes across my mind. Or several faces at once—I knew a lot of skeptical people.
Once when I was in high school, a college student stayed in our house for four weeks in the summer while she finished the last college course she needed to graduate. This girl and I got to be very good friends in that time. She introduced me to the phenomenon of YouTube and to the musical Wicked. I was very sad when she left; but as she drove away, I heard the song “Defying Gravity” in my head. I think of her every time I hear that song, but I also remember listening to that song as I flew over the Atlantic to Croatia last year—a trip I made after a long and difficult school year. Now I have two memories attached to one song—one where my friend set off on her own fabulous journey, and one where I was literally and figuratively defying gravity myself.
But every year I make more friends and more memories. I learn new songs, and songs I’ve known for a long time gain new meaning.
And sometimes I wish I could string together pictures and memories into a montage—a physical one, not just the imaginary one in my brain. A video reel might do the trick, I suppose, but I doubt that anything I threw together would be able to communicate the joy of forging friendships with strangers like me. I could write about it, but it wouldn’t compare.
So I will listen to my music and hold my memories to my heart. And smile.