I walk out of my office, just a normal day with the same routine. I wait for my bus to come and I pop in my earbuds, ready to be taken away to another place -- I hit play.
As the song tunes in, the memory comes alive. So sick of being tired and so tired of being sick.
Crammed into a crappy Ford Taurus, five guys singing out of tune, out of sync, at the top of their lungs. Yet, in harmony. In those moments, there was no judgment, fear, or embarrassment.
Only acceptance and trust that can be gained through lifelong bond and love.
I still remember the wind on my face from the rolled down windows, the laughing in my ears, and the sun setting in the rearview mirror on the flat Michigan plains.
Those are the days I miss the most -- days of pure freedom, of pure existence. The bumper of my turquoise Taurus, branded with an All-American Rejects sticker, begins to fade into the distance.
Suddenly, through a thick white cloud, the lights come bursting in. It’s night time, so LA is as bright as it could ever be. The glowing, twinkling lights inviting me down from the sky.
I remember thinking “One day, this will all be mine.” A stupid thought. A childish thought; I was a child, after all. When we were young.
The city brightens and crumbles into sand and I’m in the backseat of the car driving through the Nevada desert, answering trivia questions and talking about pop-culture.
We were bonding, but I was seeking approval too. I get a little bit bigger but then I'll admit I'm just the same as I was.
I played that song for you to listen to and now we have that too, brother. Always inspiring me to make the leap, you’ll forever live in these lyrics, you’ll always represent my dream.
That Honda Fit rolling through the dirt and dust covering the window, “Where am I going now?” I’d never know.
The window is washed clean as the rain comes pouring down as if God was crying too. My face is streaked with tears as I flip through the photos. My heart is broken.
We’ve been broken up for months, but here I am sitting at a computer in your Aunt’s house looking at pictures, but not of you, of her -- your sister.
For three days I compose her a masterpiece, hoping to catch the vibrancy of the infectious energy she emitted in her short life.
I have loved you for a thousand years, I'll love you for a thousand more. My heart sank that night you called me. I didn’t want to believe it was true.
Sadly, it wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last, not even the only time that year. I used to hate you -- for using me, for stealing my best friend -- but I don’t anymore.
We were young and naive and that’s ok. Even though that was the last time I talked to you, I still hope you the best. I learned so much about myself then.
The dark clouds in the night sky open up to reveal a star-filled sky, the kind I used to love looking at while sitting at the beach in San Diego. Everything comes from nothing.
Everything is something. I felt so at home, so at peace there. The friends I had, the community we formed, the bond we shared. It was perfect, but only in hindsight.
I took it for granted, left for “greener” pastures -- a necessity, as it turned out. Sometimes, you have to lose something to fully appreciate it.
Now, I’m riding a riding a bike while rain beats down on my cheeks in Europe -- the beach has never seemed so nice.
I am being pulled farther and farther away, not knowing if these decisions are ever truly mine. I long for the day to be back in San Diego just to see those beaches, those mountains again.
As I stand there, awing at their grandeur, I know one day I’ll be back.
The mountains in front of me grow taller, separating us even further. Our relationship had always been strained. Every mountain you climb takes you further away.
I had ambitions, but I also lacked direction. I warned you they could pull me away, but it was like you didn’t listen.
And now you’re gone and I’m alone again, wandering and wondering and dreaming.
I try to see the future, try to picture where I will be -- all I can see is dark and sand, all I can feel is warm wind.
I’m afraid to make any connections as they will end up in the same position you are -- arms outstretched,
hands gripped as if something just slipped through and me looking back while still running forward. Being lost is a peculiar thing, not knowing where you are but always being somewhere.
How will I ever know when I’m found?
My bus stops, it’s time for me to get off and go home. I pull my earbuds out and allow myself to adjust.
As quickly as those memories came they faded, leaving me exhausted from my emotional workout. Tomorrow, I’ll do it all over again.
However, with a different sequence of emotions and memories -- the way only music can.