I asked my family if it was okay. They looked at me dumbfounded and all said that of course it was fine if I went. “Mom would have wanted that,” my sister replied. I knew that without saying, but maybe I was just trying to justify it to myself. To ease the guilt I felt. Leaving for a concert at this time would seem odd, to say the least, to an outsider, but I knew what those songs meant for me. Those melodies, lyrics, the story behind that music. I knew what those songs can represent to someone who is lost. I’m lucky how understanding my family was, they knew how much music meant for me.
My friend tried to talk me out of it last night, that we shouldn’t go, if I didn’t want to. They would understand it. But I really wanted to, so we went. When we were in the car I shared the news to my other friend too. He really didn’t have anything to say, and I couldn’t blame him for it. I was thankful to be honest. There was nothing to be said about the subject that could have helped me to feel better about it. They were there, and that was all that mattered.
It was a nice drive. My friends made me laugh, they always did, but this time it was different. They managed to take my mind off that darkness, even if just for a moment, and I knew I was where I should be. The properties of laughter, or just having the ability to smile amidst of it all, it was lifesaving.
Upon arriving to the city we had a tough time finding a place to park our car. My friend who was driving playfully cursed as my other friend and I were giving him hard time about it. That’s our humor, our way to make fun of things, ourselves. This constant battle of who gets the last laugh. We found parking space and there were some problems with the parking disc, and it had it’s own share of complaints. I remember my friend who drove us there, fighting with the thing, come to some sudden realization and say out loud “And here, I’m complaining about this thing while there’s something more serious going on…” his eyes quickly glancing at my reaction, while tossing the thing up on the dashboard. I just had to laugh out loud. We all did.
We found our way to the massive tent where Bon Iver was about to play that evening (after, being already half way there, finding out that we left the tickets inside the car. Cue the name calling and the following laughter). I felt the anxiety building up inside me, my friends still jesting to each other, my mind was already drifting away, just waiting for the music to take me to a different place.
They came on stage, accompanied by the cheers of the crowd. Perth kicked in, and I felt at peace. The guilt I had felt throughout the whole day was gone. All my senses became enhanced. I found myself almost holding my breath, as I felt my throat tighten. It still does as I’m remembering back, writing this. There and then, I let myself go. I felt tears running down my cheeks, but they were of a different kind than the ones I had shed the last couple of days. They felt somehow warmer.
Some of the songs already bore a special meaning to me. I already felt attached to them. But after everything that had happened, was bound to happen, those songs became mine. Hearing The Wolves at the closing stages of the gig had me trembling, singing, shouting, along as the song built up toward the end. The pain was lifted and all the emotions I had bottled up came at once.
What might have been lost…
What might have been lost.
After the gig, while we were driving home in the darkness of the late summer eve, I found out that my mom had passed away, probably during the concert. I read the message silently and said to my friends “She’s gone.” My friend put his hand on my shoulder from the back seat. Rest of the journey we drove in silence.
It is a strange thing, music. How it is constantly transforming itself as things in your life change. While some songs can fade away, as the meaning they once held diminish, some become something more, where they represent everything that you hold dear. When they can take you back in to those times when you felt completely lost, and help you see the memories in a different light. Or those times when you felt overjoyed by something, it is there to remind you of that beautiful time once experienced.
Everything you are at that moment, defines the way you experience the song, the melodies, the lyrics that you hear. Your life alters the story that the artist had once written. I will never hear The Wolves the same way again, the way I heard it before my mom passed away, but I am glad I have it with me until my last day. While it will always take me back to that day, to this memory, it gives me hope. Hope that maybe I won’t some day have this emptiness inside me. I don’t want to forget that day. Because that day changed me.
It wasn’t easy writing all this down, but this is the first time I am writing about that day. I guess it is part of that process, a step in to the right direction, when the perception turns into something healthier.
It was strange walking back home that night, entering in to my empty apartment. I was greeted by that unmade bed. I had little desire to crash in to it alone, like I had so many nights before. For the past two days I had surrounded myself with people I loved, sharing all those emotions and unanswered questions, wondering if any of it was real. I really hadn’t had time to be with just by myself. I sat down, and before long found myself listening to music.