As I’ve noted before, I don’t usually listen to music based on mood. So in order to come up with an entry for this post, I had to think back to a time when I did listen to a song because I was sad. If you listen carefully to the lyrics, you can probably figure out why I was sad, but I’ll give you the rundown anyway.
My freshman year of college got off to kind of a weird start. I went to school close to home, and the majority of my friends were still at my high school, so I was both able and willing to spend a large chunk of my time with them. My girlfriend at the time – my first serious girlfriend – was a boarding student there, so I spent half of freshman week in her dorm room instead of, oh, I don’t know, meeting my classmates and dormmates, going to the Freshman Mixer, the stuff you do to help yourself settle in to the college life when you’ve no idea what it’s going to be like. So way to go, 17-year-old me. (It turned out I was living in the most neurotic freshman dorm on campus, so my social ineptitude actually wasn’t that noticeable.)
Still, things were going pretty well. I got along well with my roommate and our next-door neighbors in the dorm, my friends would come and hang out in our room, and my girlfriend (she was a dancer, so let’s call her “Cyd”) and I were totally in love. Well, I was totally in love. Along about November, she decided that it was time to move on. I was gobsmacked. Never saw it coming. Things got very bad for me, and Cyd only made it worse by not ruling out the possibility that we might get back together. I moped and mooned around, and I think I may even have sent her a letter with the lyrics to this song. I know I listened to it a lot. It really spoke to me, it expressed everything I wanted to say to Cyd, yadda yadda yadda.
One night, one of my local friends was having a party. Cyd and another friend and I were in someone’s car on our way there, and we stopped so I could use my fake ID to buy vodka, mostly for Cyd and our other friend. I wasn’t much of a drinker at the time. Before we got to the party – probably as we were getting out of the car; the details are a little fuzzy – she handed me an envelope. So I’m up there at the party, and of course I opened it and read the letter she had written to me. So much for that party. The letter made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that she wanted nothing to do with me ever again; and it did so with an angry blast of vicious, cruel words. I don’t remember the specifics of what it said, but I know it knocked me on my ass. (Unfortunately, I destroyed it almost immediately, which I now regret, because I would like to see if the reality matches my recollection.) EDIT: I almost forgot one of the most hurtful (and memorable) aspects of this incident: she handed me that letter, without saying a word, minutes after I had bought her alcohol. That’s cold.
The rest of the evening is gone from my memory. I may have walked back to my dorm. I think my birthday was not long after, and I do remember having several friends in my dorm room and getting extremely drunk – on Kahlua, of all things… ah, the stupidity of youth – and maudlin and weepy. And eventually sick as a dog. (Kahlua, remember?) Ah, good times.
And then I went on to be totally – and possibly clinically – depressed for the rest of my freshman year. I don’t blame that on Cyd, but the end of that relationship definitely contributed to it.
I have reconnected with Cyd, sort of, via the miracle that is Facebook. We haven’t discussed our break-up or that night (or anything else, really) – I’m not sure my memory of it is accurate, and I don’t know that it made anywhere near as big an impression on her as it did on me. Anyway, I think I prefer to let it remain a bit of personal mythology. It’s an old injury that acts up, not with pain but with a mild twinge of discomfort when the weather conditions are just so. But we are the sum (or product) of our experiences, real or imagined or interpreted, and Cyd was part of what got me to who and where I am now. How can I complain about that?