Everybody has a song that brings a memory flooding into vivid focus. Everybody has that one song that is not just a song but also a whole day, or maybe even an entire decade. Feelings and emotions and smells become associated with this ONE song and no matter how long one might go without listening to this song, it will always be there, waiting in the wings, until the day it gets some rotation and those memories bring a smile (or a frown) to your face and you can relive every second and every emotion that is just supposed to happen. This is music. I once read that Aldous Huxley said besides silence, music is the next best thing to explaining the unexplainable. (Or something like that) I think it is also the next best thing to smell to describe the indescribable. . It is that which is just there unto itself. A memory.
My first memory that is holed up into a song occurred when I was ten years old. I was in Lake Arrowhead with my entire family on a summer holiday. The air was crisp and clean. At that altitude the thinness of the air could be felt in the lungs like the difference between an ice-cold glass of water and warm murky water. The forest of Lake Arrowhead was thick with pine trees that were a lush hunter green and grew upwards of 60 feet tall. My uncle, being only 17 years of age, had just gotten a new car and was euphoric with excitement being that he was aloud for the first time to drive his car up the long and windy road toward the top of the mountain.
This particular day, I was wearing what I thought was a cool outfit, jean shorts cuffed at the bottom and a tie dyed tee shirt a couple of sizes too big for me. I also thought I was cool because Ian, my uncle, decided to take me and my brother, Ethan, to the neighboring city of Blue Jay.
On the way home from Blue Jay I was sitting in the back seat of Ian's brand new Acura Integra staring at the 60 foot tall pine trees creating leafy silhouettes over the crystal clear blue sky and at full volume on the stereo was a type of music I had never heard before. It was The Cure's, "Fascination Street" radiating through that car and upwards through those trees. I can still hear the long instrumental section and the newness I felt when I first heard Robert Smith's voice.
Last night I saw The Cure in concert. I don't count Coachella since I had the slight case of unconsciousness. What amazed me last night was that here I was standing right next to my uncle, almost 13 years after that day and we both knew right away exactly what the other was thinking when "Fascination Street" came on. Ian turned straight toward me and smiled and I knew he was thinking of that day. I started dancing of course and he called me brother to let him listen over the phone.
We are all grown up now. Ian and Ethan are married. I am a woman. But, as soon as all three of us hear that song we are reminded of that first day in the mountains when we had our first taste of freedom. We felt like adults then. We are adults now.