I’ve been here at this library over four hours now – tapping at keys, struggling to check my to-do boxes, escaping on much needed walks through the crunching, golden leaves. And it’s gotten a little dull. It feels as if my senses have been toned down, not wanting to do much other than sprawl on a couch and maybe watch some Harry Potter.
But then this song streams through my earbuds. One that I know so so well. And not “know” like I’ve memorized the lyrics or something, but “know” as in I’ve carried it with me for so long now; it’s woven itself through my history like a scarlet thread. Every time the first notes play my mind’s focus explodes, and I wander through the memories I’ve given this song.
I only wander through one memory this time, though. It’s the memory for this song, the one that kind of started it all. So I close my eyes. And I let my soul slip into that night a couple of years ago when I pushed in my earbuds, walked out into the cold, fresh winter night, and strolled across campus to work.
It’s not just seeing this memory again. I’ve done that many times. No, this time it’s as if my heart is there and I know all the pretty little nuances I knew back then. I’m registering the tiniest movement of my heart:
It was almost Christmas so each blustery, snowflake-d gust reminded me that the warmest, safest day of the year was still coming. The air was fresh, like no other air but that in winter can be. And I was so full of those golden emotions: hope and young love and peace. Not much happened, to be honest. I just walked to work listening to this song. But it was a time in my life when I was so full of hope. And maybe that’s what was so special then, what’s made it stick for so long, this bright hope I had.
It feels a little like coming back to my childhood home, remembering this moment.
An empty home, though. There’s a fire crackling in the corner and it’s just me here with these old, sacred memories.
Most likely no one else remembers that night. No one holds those few, random minutes years ago so close to their heart as I do. Because from the outside it’s just another winter night. It’s just some bundled kid steeling away into the falling snow. Yet I hold those moments so close inside me that I can go back there. I can exist back there, if only for a moment.
And I try to quite often, especially when I’m down. I’ll go there as long as I can. But it always ends, leaving me alone here on this stiff chair. And I think that’s the danger of it, trying to live in another world, all alone; it kills the soul.
So maybe that’s why I hold so deeply that someone else cares about that night. Someone else traces those tiny movements of my heart with me.
I’m alone if that’s not true. I’m dying if that’s not true.
We each have this rich, oceanic history. We’re little people but our hearts are deep and wide with emotion, memory, longing. And if someone were to dive down there with us, slowly and patiently take in the hidden and secret parts of our soul, and actually, truly understand, wouldn’t that be relief? To never be alone, no matter how deep inside ourselves we dive?
Wouldn’t that be one great heavenly sigh?
P.S. Here’s that song if you’re curious 🙂