We met at a concert– technically a music festival. Simple enough, but it was the wrong stage. I never thought being at the wrong place could lead to the only time I’ve ever felt right in my life.
You were pushing through the crowd trying to get a glimpse of your favorite band. The stage wasn’t completely set up yet; there were no emblems or indicators as to what band was performing, but you were positive it would be Band of Horses.
I was separated from my friends with no direction whatsoever. I found myself at a random stage alone in a crowd until you politely pushed yourself into my life. We danced together on that Memphis riverfront for what seem like hours upon reflection, but mere seconds as we moved in the waves of each other. The music of the Avett Brothers serenaded us in our flat-footed embrace.
You said there was no use in moving stages to see Band of Horses; you wouldn’t get as close to the stage and you’d miss half the set in walking over there. So, to my silent relief, you stayed.
From that day forward I associated you with the Avett Brothers. Their music, their lyrics, were the songs of you. I fell for you in that moment of our first contact. We kissed to their music and they became the entire playlist of us, but until recently I had failed to appropriately associate you musically.
I had failed to listen to the music you were supposed to hear. Band of Horses never graced my ears and they never had any reason to. Now, all these months later, the music you missed that brought us together holds new meaning.
Days ago, rummaging through listening to an old playlist I made in one of the dark periods of my life that seem to come every so often, a song played that reminded me of you and of us: “No One’s Gonna Love You” by Band of Horses.
As soon as I saw who it was by, the song possessed an air of sentimentality. I fully immersed myself in the band’s discography, relearning all the aspects of you I had forgotten in the months since we last spoke and learning new elements of you that I had yet to discover.
People have favorite bands or artists for a reason; they find solace in the music and relate to the lyrics from their own personal experiences. Parts of your past that I never knew became apparent in these lyrics.
The day you walked out of my life seems so distant as if I’ve lived my life three times over again without you in it, but it’s only been close to five months. To this day I think about you more often than I should, sometimes without wanting to. Other times I like to emotionally torture myself with the image of your smile or the sound of your laugh. You were the original basis for Sunset Cove, and you’re still the inspiration behind it. The story had to change, but the characters didn’t.
Now each time I listen to any type of music that reminds me of you, specifically the Avett Brothers or Band of Horses, I’m reminded of all that we were and all that never was. I’m reminded of the happiness you brought me and the sorrow that consumed me when you left. I’m reminded of all I knew about you, all I never had the opportunity to learn, and everything I’ve forgotten.
Not everything will be forgotten and not everything will change. Music will be the time capsule that will never allow me to forget your face, but will never let me forget the desolate state you left me in. The songs don’t change, but my perception of them does. The music unapologetically and unknowingly opens wounds better left wrapped and bandaged rather than exposed to scab over.