I don't usually listen to music. Like most people I don't mind it as background if it's not obtrusive, but turning on music first thing when I return to my room rarely happened. I'd never known what is was like to listen to a soft, gently melody as someone's lips brushed mine or drifting off letting the play list craft my dreams. Even driving and listening to something other than the rain on the roof was a rare and often unpleasant experience. Now I can hardly go without it. My headphones are permanently binded to the jack in my laptop and I've mastered slipping them back behind my head, under my hair. I can watch network traffic from the music streaming off of my desktop, through the cables running across my floor. The same cables that connect me to the world and that brought me to this place, or rather state of mind, to begin with.

I would never normally go bowling
On a Friday morning in New Orleans
But I like to come here to remember
The kind of places you took me
Like the time we stole a Datsun
And drove all night to the everglades
Until we crashed it in a big electric storm
And stood there listening to the bayou rain

Just as with memories, at times there are songs you'd rather forget and hide away. You can move them out of your music directory, delete them and erase the name from your brain, but they still exist. You never know when someone else could catch you off guard, slipping the wrong CD in the stereo and the melody brings tears of anger and sadness to your eyes. You've had the luxury of peace taken away from you, the privacy of the moment is nonexistent and your actions could be criminal in the wrong eyes. How dare you cry at what brings them joy or even just energy.

The county sheriff had a hare-lip
Louisiana's pride and joy
He said politely as he cuffed me
"I never busted an English boy...
But I will accept a contribution
To the Opelousas' Charity Ball
But you better drive this dirty Datsun
Into the Gulf of Mexico"

It's been shown that music is a powerful carrier of emotion. The right chords bring me back to moments with my love nibbling on my neck, hands drifting down my back, pulling me closer. Your pulse mimics the music's as best it can, relaxing or revitalizing. Even the car seems to slow down at 90 MPH when slow and measured notes fill the air. It's not just the song, though, it's also about the words. The melody alone may bring joy, but it can be thrown to the wind with certain lyrics. You may hear longing and love, but the words remind you of current depression and lost dreams. If only you'd known the right words then...

Under a Cajun moon I lay me open
There is a spirit here that won't be broken
Some words are sad to sing
Some leave me tongue-tied
(But the hardest thing to tell you)
But the hardest words I know
Are I love you goodbye
I love you goodbye

I find the moments that would best be accompanied in the opera of life are silent. They're only filled with voices and the buzz of modern day. Like the moment you stand in front of security, staring behind you, eyes scanning the crowd for the shapes and signs that you associate with people. Is that really his coat? Are those eyes on me or the girl behind me? Maybe. Maybe I won't know. Maybe I'll never be back here and only have this moment to move my lips one last time. As hard as it may be, some things should be said.

Typhoon Pierre delayed my plane till morning
Let the bontemps rouler from your accordion
Under a Cajun moon I lay me open
There is a spirit here that won't be broken
(Simple words are sad to sing
Some words are sad to sing
(They leave me tongue-tied)
Some leave you tongue-tied
(But the hardest thing to tell you my friend)
But the hardest words I know
Are I love you goodbye
I love you goodbye
I love you, goodbye


For a space-mad, starry-eyed dreamer there's nothing like an album title like Astronauts and Heretics to get you to buy a CD. I find I cling to wither words or melodies, and the opening song of the album is dreamy and filled with the sounds of love and longing and distance, or so my beloved describes it. The perfect notes for the hardest moments of long distance love. Ages later I drove up and over the hill into Boston, my mother beside me, questioning how I could make a play list celebrating what I had with something filled with heartbreak. People search for and find what they want in music. Even if you don't know what you're looking for, your subconscious will find it anyway.

"I Love You Goodbye" by Thomas Dolby. Track 1 on Astronauts and Heretics. All cited copyrighted lyrics are in italics.

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