If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies, giving insight on various topics. After reading my post, click on:
Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.
Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.
Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World
For this week, Denise asked us to write about a time music touched our very souls.
I’ve been surrounded by music lovers for most of my life. My father loves to tell the story of a young Sara bopping to “Video Killed the Radio Star” when it first aired on MTV. I got my 80’s music fix from him. My mother loved the 80’s, too, although she’d often throw in a little 60’s or 70’s, dancing a little shimmy while we listened to Heart or Led Zeppelin. I listened to my first Pearl Jam song while visiting my favorite aunt, and my grandparents were all about the oldies but goodies, with a little old school country sprinkled in.
Music has propelled me through so much in my life, a staple. I remember listening to angsty angry songs while dealing with break-ups, or blissfully enjoying romantic tunes while falling in love, with everything in between. I’m one of those types who enjoys the lyrics the most. I have to know what the meaning behind the music is, the purpose. The reason. While music can often be a roller coaster of emotions tangled up within the lyrics, no song has ever hit me harder than “Hard to Say I’m Sorry/Get Away”, by Chicago.
I was just a child when I first heard it. I can still remember lying on the floor, in front of the big music player, the kind that had the record player on the very top, duel tape players and a radio underneath. It was towering over me, long glass doors holding a plethora of records and tapes. I could see my reflection when I’d lift my head up, peering in, looking at my somewhat distorted facial features.
The radio was on. I don’t know where my mother was. My father had moved out. I was a statistic, another kid in the divorce camp. That familiar piano intro began to play, and soon Peter Cetera’s voice took over, smooth and melodic.
I began to cry.
I still can’t pinpoint why this song made me cry. Whenever I try to focus on the reason, I’m flooded with bits and pieces of jagged memories from my youth. I have a feeling it centered around the divorce. Even at the age of six, I was listening to the lyrics. I understood that Peter was singing about a broken couple, and I’m sure I wanted nothing more than to have my broken parents back together again.
Wow. Even while writing this, I’m teary-eyed.
Whenever I’d hear this song, no matter where, I’d cry. It was a Pavlovian response. Usually by the first chorus, I was full on sobbing. My mother didn’t know how to deal with me. I think I can recall a time I visited my father, and he’d try to make me laugh and tickle me when the song was playing in the background, to get me to cheer up. I can remember laughing and crying all at the same time. By the time “Get Away” would start up (the song that immediately follows “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”) I was done. There were no more tears and I could carry on with my childhood like a normal kid.
I don’t remember when the crying subsided for good. Avoiding the song helped. When I’d hear the familiar tune, I’d change the station. I have a Chicago CD somewhere with all the greatest hits on it, but I never play that particular song. I’m sure I would do all right, but just thinking about it grabs me in a way no other song can. It’s like an old wound I’m rubbing salt into, little by little. A long-lost owie on my soul.