Ri here. Yep…I still feel like hammered owl shit. (That’s a quote from my Dad. Not sure I’ve ever seen hammered owl shit, or if I believe that hammered owl shit has feelings…but I have to admit that when you feel awful, it’s fun to say “hammered owl shit.”) What? Oh, hush. I’m hopped up on cold meds. Don’t judge me.
Anyhoo, God love Tawnya, cause she’s covering for me today. I’ll do my best not to die over the weekend and be back to entertain you on Monday, but until then – enjoy this excellent music and even more excellent writing!
I’m pretty happy to be guest posting today. Well, not that it came by way of sickness for my lovely host, but because I love The Music Mamas, what it stands for and the various blogs attached to it. I love writing. I love talking music. I breathe music. I have a large framed picture of me and Neil Finn above my desk, because, well, it’s Neil Finn – the man I adore so much I nearly named my kid after him and DID name my blog from his lyrics. I consider concert hopping an acceptable way of life. I get giddy when my 4 year old correctly identifies a song or an artist. And I often say I don’t understand how some people don’t have a soundtrack of their life. I’m just glad I get to be here, sharing one of my own, from my past, soundtracks.
My ex-husband and I loved music. The same music. We could analyze, talk, listen and live music all day long. I have a set of songs that I used to listen to a lot. I rarely listen to them now. They are a set that can make me nostalgic like no other. Part of it is lyrics, part of it memory. Sometimes the most beautiful memories get wrapped up in songs and it still hurts to listen. Funny how that happens.
One August afternoon, just before we got engaged, we went back to his apartment. We were on the floor, silent, listening to music, random song after song. The windows were open and the curtains were gently blowing the warm breeze across both of our bodies. My eyes were closed and I was feeling the song like it was the first time I had heard music. All were songs of longing, but all were hoping, waiting, as well. Echoing what I was feeling in that moment. Standing on the precipice of happiness and love, nothing in the way but time.
We were whispering to each other; words of love and hope for our future. We were holding on to one another, not wanting to break the spell. We talked of plans and philosophies. We talked about life and how we would weave ours together. We talked about everything that is important to a couple on the verge of love. Mostly, though, we listened. We held each other and listened and wove the moment with the words.
The next day before work, he called me. He told me how much he loved me and how much he wanted to call in to work and stay home with me. The intensity both scared and excited me. I had never known someone who loved so deeply. I had never known someone who was passionate about everything. I had never dated someone who may not have known what the future held, but loved this minute for all it’s worth. We were engaged shortly after that. I was happy. I was completely swept off my feet. I was young. I had no idea what was in store for us. I just trusted with my heart and fell.
It seemed the ex and I would live happily ever after. Our engagement was short, but eventful. We had so many incidents pop up along the way that would have made the faint of heart have second thoughts, but I bravely plowed ahead. Looking back, I see things differently, but I’m still not sure I would have called it off. Even knowing what I know.
We settled into married life and were really, honestly happy for the first year. We had fun, window shopped on the weekend, watched movies, made plans for the future. And then things started happening. His past, my past, money, things glossed over. It all started to make a dent in our happy life. Problems that I thought were small started growing. Still, I knew I was in this for the long haul. I just needed to find my footing and we would work it out. Because that is what you do. You stay. You fight. You work.
One day at work, my first real love, my former best friend, “the boy” himself, walked in. I hadn’t seen him for awhile. He looked good. He offered an alternative. Someone stable while my world was getting complicated. Our friendship picked up where it left off. Very natural and fun. I needed fun. I needed someone I trusted more than anyone – more than my husband – to talk to. Nothing inappropriate happened except to my feelings. I became resentful of my life. I was angry at the boy. If he had only gotten things worked out, I would be married to him, not my husband. I was frustrated at myself and at life. For not asking more questions. And I was sad. Oh, on top of everything, I was very, very sad.
I knew harboring feelings for another man was a death sentence to my marriage, so I changed. I put everything I had into my marriage. I was going to fix things and help him face up to all of his problems. I was going to make us happy again. I had all the naivete and blinders to make it work! And so I tried. I shelved my feelings for the boy, my feelings of resentfulness, of anger and tried. We found some shaky ground to stand on and aside from my sadness, it worked for a little while. We moved into a beautiful house. A fresh start, we imagined. The day we moved in, though, changed everything. His dad passed away bringing with it the worst bought of depression we had battled. I held. I comforted. I was the strong one. Late at night, when I was alone, wondering where he was, I would cry and wish I had someone to hold me. To be the strong one for me. I would sit on the couch, on the window seat and silently let the tears roll. Whose life was this? Where was the warm breeze and the page full of hope?
We put up a great charade. No one knew we were both falling apart. I think part of it was denial. I think most of it was denial. A little of it was fear of the unknown. How do we move on if we acknowledge our failure? So we went on living life – me in one room, he in the other while we told each other that we could and would fix this. Four months after his father’s funeral, however, he came home late. The mood of the house changed. He told me it was over. That he didn’t want to be married like this any more. He was done.
It took nine more months to be completely over. With one last pass at counseling, several months of feet dragging and then a last tear filled session with a notary making it official, it was over. While it was sad, it was also relieving. I walked away knowing I gave my everything and tried more than most. My regrets are only that things weren’t better for both of us.
Years after the divorce, I remember very few day to day details. Time and happiness take away a lot of the memories. But there are songs that stop me dead and play out that time in my life as if a well rehearsed play. I wonder if it’s the same for him, this shared soundtrack of our brief life together.
And as it unfolds, I smile. First in happiness, then in sadness and finally in grateful relief.
Tawnya, a freelance writer, blogs at Drawn To The Flame and is happily building many more soundtracks of life with the help of her husband and teaching her four year old son to do the same.