Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"I know a place where we can go..."

Sometimes you hear a song and you know it was written just for you. The song could not possibly apply to anyone else nor could it have such a significance to anyone else. My song is Don Henley's "The End of the Innocence." Pretty lame, I know... but every time I hear it, the rest of the world shuts off and it's just me and my memories.

This song has a special meaning for me because it brings me back to a time when I wasn't really sure what was going to happen to my family. My mom and dad had recently separated, and I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. My dad was staying at his brother's house, and Timmy and I lived at home with Mom. I think I was in 6th or 7th grade, but I don't remember much of the concrete details from that time... I was really messed up, and a lot of what I remember is foggy.

I didn't have the close relationships with my parents then that I do now, but the most important thing in my life was pleasing them and making them proud... and I know it's cliche, but I absolutely thought the separation was because of something I did or did not do... maybe because of that one time they caught me sneaking in after curfew, maybe when I brought home a B+ instead of an A, maybe because I fought with my brother all the time.

But even though we weren't close, my dad and I still shared our musical tastes, and he left all his CDs at the house when he moved out. I used to start at the beginning of the alphabet and pick a new CD to listen to every day after school. I would put it in and lay on my bedroom floor, thinking of him and my mom. When I got to the letter H, Henley was the first I picked up. When I heard "The End of the Innocence" for the first time, I lost it... I remember exactly what it felt like to weep that hard... I had never cried like that before, and I've never done it since. Something about the song just spoke to me - it reminded me of my dad. And to hear Henley's sweet voice singing to such a lyrical piano line nearly broke my heart.

The song seemed to convey everything I was feeling about my parents separation... things that I couldn't find a way to say on my own. It wasn't just that I couldn't talk to anyone about what I was feeling, but it was more that I couldn't recognize the feelings myself. Something in the first few lines of that song let it out of me.

Remember when the days were long
and rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn't have a care in the world
with Mommy and Daddy standing by
When happily-ever-after fails
and we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details
since Daddy had to fly

My parents reconciled several months after their separation, and things have gone smoothly between them since then. I never got a chance to deal with my grief, though... just supressed it all. I've never actually told the entire story to anyone in my life... this post is just a short summary, but I guess it's still a start.

Better therapy than talking to anyone about what I went through during those gloomy times, though, is when I flip on the radio and am greeted by "The End of the Innocence," which happens quite often, surprisingly... leading me to believe more every time in the strange, cosmic connection I seem to have with that song. I still pause whatever I'm doing, turn up the volume, and remember the meloncholy of that time of life.


Phil said...

that's incredibly sad. i can't even holla!

It makes me feel a little empty that I don't have anything like this. Maybe that's not necessarily true, because Dave's "Where Are You Going?" was pretty instrumental in the early parts of my breakup with Hannah. I still can't really listen to it all the way through.

For some levity really is too bad that it's gotta be a Don Henly song ;)

Frema said...

I love that song, too; it's one of the best out there, I think. I'm glad to hear your parents were able to work things out and come together again. While I was preparing for Luke's and my wedding, I kept reflecting on the marriages of everyone I knew: what I wanted to emulate, what I never wanted to see in my own marriage with Luke. Amazing how relationships can be at the same time so strong and so fragile.

Anonymous said...

Ummm...Why don't I remember any of this?? It's nice to learn that your parents split up when you were young through your sisters internet blog...

- Tim

Becky said...

lol Tim

You were really little. You probably didn't even know what was happening... Mom might have told you that Dad was just working late or something... I don't remember what they said to you.