I never liked Indie music before I met you. In fact, had we never met, I am inclined to think that I would not have enjoyed the song. But I understood that the song came with you, like a two for the price of one sale, and because I loved you, I loved the song.
The song was playing the first time I met you. I would later learn that you liked to play it on repeat for hours on end, but I couldn’t care less about a song that day; all I noticed was you. I barely even heard the music playing in the background—I was too busy watching you out of the corner of my eye while pretending to do my calculus homework. You saw me look in your direction, and stared at me until the next time I glanced at you. Our eyes locked, neither one of us willing to be the first to look away.
You played that song every time I was in your apartment; it would accompany us quietly for hours as we sat in your room and talked and gradually became best friends. I remember you telling me about your sister and your friends from home and the awful breakup you had just had. As always, the song was playing in the background like the soundtrack to a movie.
I never saw you without your earbuds. It was redundant to ask what you were listening to—it was always the same song. It gradually became “our” song, and it didn’t take long for people to compare us by how we always listened to the same song on repeat.
I must confess that I never understood the lyrics to the song. The Indie singer’s words melted together; I could never understand what she was saying. But, you must have heard something I didn’t. Your eyes shone when we sang along together; you knew the words but couldn’t sing the tune, and I knew the tune but not the words. Together we made the perfect team.
I’ve had this dream before / I wish I had it more / I think you have it too
The song was playing when we almost fell into the fountain near Thornton.
When you taught me how to ride a board.
When you kissed me for the first time.
The song was playing when I learned that you started dating my best friend instead of me.
I went with heavy heart / I’ll never leave you lost / Where we are bound to go
By a cruel trick of irony, I learned the meaning of the song the day that I found out the news that ended our relationship. That day, for the first time, I could hear every word in the song clearly; I heard the lyrics for what they were. The song was not just a mundane confession of love as I had originally thought; the song was about lovers that had fallen apart. One of the lovers often dreamed about the other, and only hoped the dreams were mutual. I realized how much I had misunderstood the song, but then again, I hadn’t really understood you either. You, like the song, said one thing but meant another, then left me to be an interpreter for a language I barely knew.
I know the meaning of the song now, but there are still lyrics I will never understand. In a way, you and the song are so similar. You’re both difficult to understand; you both are mysterious and complex and just a little bit abstract, but not without a beautiful spirit. You both have more layers than initially visible. The song gave off a passive vibe at first. Only after hearing it on repeat for four months did I understand that the singer meant so much more than what she said, and the only way to keep the emotion from spilling and becoming uncontrollable was to pretend that she was not impacted at all. Likewise, the more time we spent together, first as friends, then as best friends, then as lovers, the more of your layers I unraveled.
Whenever I hear your name now, the song runs through my head; I’m not sure if it was because the song followed you everywhere and I’m conditioned to associate the two of you together, or if the lyrics reminded me of you even before I knew the meaning.
But then one day, seemingly on a whim, you decided you had grown tired of the song, just as you had grown tired of our relationship.
You never listen to Paia anymore, and neither do I.
Photo by Chris Welch