Since I don't have a reliable sense of smell, my other senses have heightened to compensate. I hear others talk about how smells conjure memories for them. Hearing music has taken over that role for my puny sense of smell.
I'm going to spend some time reminiscing about some of the music—songs or entire albums—that evoke memories of specific times and places in my life. A different form of time travel, which seems to be a theme in my blogging these days.
The first song in my soundtrack is the guitar instrumental, St. Agnes and the Burning Train, from Sting's Soul Cages album.
He'd returned for a visit to campus. I was excited and nervous, then disappointed. He'd made time for everyone but me, and then had the nerve to ask me for a ride to the airport. A four hour round trip drive in the middle of the week. He made practical use of my infatuation. He knew I would say yes. Of course, he was right.
I have no memory of what we said to each other on the drive south. I do remember that I wished the car ride could last forever and was simultaneously sad knowing that soon I would be driving home alone. The two hours blew past me. I pulled up to the drop-off area. I'm sure we hugged, and I'm certain he said something that helped to string me along, to give me false hope that at some undetermined time in the future we would reconcile and be the couple I wanted us to be. He was a smart man. He knew what I wanted to hear.
He walked into the terminal without looking back. I pulled my roommate's creamy yellow car back onto the highway and began to cry. Correction: I wept. Tears streamed down my cheeks. Accompanied by Sting's St. Agnes and the Burning Train, a fast-paced, though melancholy guitar instrumental. On cassette. Which means every time the song ended, I pressed the rewind button. The tape would make its whirring sound backwards, and I'd take a stab at stopping the rewind as close to where the song started. I listened and wept for miles.
I remember how bright the sun shined highlighting the cornflower blue of the sky. It was a stark contrast to the shades of gray and gloom I felt in my heart. I hadn't yet figured out that this man would make a habit of appearing in my life at his convenience only. It would take far too long for me to realize that my pining for him was a waste of time.
The car ride home, though painful and lonely, was good for me. It was a lesson early in life about the cathartic power of music and the importance of letting tears flow and allowing myself to feel my emotions. I don't remember returning to campus or what happened the rest of the day, but I am certain I felt better by the time I pulled into the dorm's parking lot.
I still love the song and think of that drive back to school when I hear it. But the heaviness of my sadness on that day has long faded.