As cliche as it sounds, music has always played a profound part in my growth as a person. I'm not married to any genre or style, but throughout my life there have been pivotal songs that defined special moments in time for me. These are the songs that transport me back to that certain day, week, month, or year. I hope to compile these moments over time with their respective songs, as a love letter to the music that made it all possible.
"Beginnings" - Chicago
It was late May, 2010.
Graduation was just around the corner for my husband, who was days away from wrapping up his third and final year of law school. We had been living in a rat hole of an apartment high-rise called "The Enclave" which had the humor to dub itself a "luxury dwelling," though the puddles of dog urine in our elevators and the period stain anonymously left one night on a chair in the lobby would have suggested otherwise.
Our time in Washington DC was rapidly coming to a close after months of enduring frigid temps in the winter, and humid, sticky South Pacific summers. I yearned to be back on the West Coast, to feel the cold Pacific Ocean on my feet, to return to myself. We - me especially - were tired of living in the DC metro area, moving like middle class vagrants from suburb to suburb once each of our short-term apartment leases were up. I wanted California. For three years I had complained about the people, the attitudes, the weather, the hunger for power and the unwarranted aggression from the general public, until finally, one day that last May there, I realized that it was all going to be over soon.
I was happy, sure, but a small part of me knew that no matter how much I professed to hating it, my husband was right. Someday I was going to look back and remember good times through law school and DC. Except I didn't need a "someday" to realize it. The epiphany hit me one particular late night, as I sat in our tiny kitchen, my face peering out of the darkness into the blue light of my laptop as I worked on finishing my second novel.
I was both overjoyed for the future, of the move and the possibilities that came with it, but I was sad as well, as though our time there, as long and tedious as it had seemed to me, was actually quite short. That all it had signified was another chapter in my life that was swiftly coming to a close, that I would never get those years back again. I wasn't sure whether to mourn this fact or embrace it.
And so I stayed up all night, sitting in our little kitchen nook near our window, tapping out my novel as Chicago's "Beginnings" softly played on repeat for hours. My husband's labored breathing from our bed told me he'd fallen asleep hours ago, probably when the city lights on the horizon began shutting off until the color of the landscape matched the velvet canvas of night sky.
It was one of those nights when you watch the world through your 15th floor window and wonder who else out there must be going through a similar kind of change. I stayed up writing and watching out my window until the sun rose along with life on the landscape below. I had listened to "Beginnings" all night, grieving moments passed and anxiously anticipating the bright spots and memories that had yet to be made.
When morning came I had come to grips with it, that change was a part of life and that though the passing of time was sobering, no matter how helpless it made me feel every time I pack up to move on, it could be embraced as a positive. Change means I'm living a full life.