You’ll never know until you try We make mistakes and learn through time We all grow old, We live, We die. -“Don’t Wait” Hit the Lights
In the summer of 2008, one of my favorite bands at the time, Hit the Lights, dropped their sophomore album Skip School, Start Fights. I was about to enter my senior year of high school and I was working my ass off to buy my first car, Snowflake, a 2000 Toyota Corolla. I listened to this album religiously. Specifically this song. It spoke to the uncertainty of that academic year and the choices I would face upon graduation. I wrote a screenplay for the music video I wanted to create for the song — I think I still have it actually.
I find that in times of change, I rediscover the song accidentally (subconsciously?). I listened to it before my graduation from Saint Peter’s University (St. Peezy if ya nasty), I listened to it when I got my first real job at S&S, I listened to it when I moved into my apartment last year.
It’s been ringing in my head since I rediscovered it in a “throwback” Spotify playlist on my drive to work on Friday morning. I listened to it the way I listen to most music I appreciate… I listened to it thrice. Once to understand the lyrics (I do this thing where I break down the lyrics and analyze them — such an English major), another time to break down the melody (what instruments are playing? What rhythm or time is it in? How does the music fit with the lyrics?), and finally, one last time to sing it out. As I was listening to the song, I realized how each line aligned itself to the year I had.
I sang my way up the GSP with it as my soundtrack on my drive this Saturday to see two of my best and closest friends, Yas and Jackie.
I saw Jackie first. We met at her house and I sat with her, her husband, and her dog Archer (my godson), as we caught up on all the things that had happened since we last saw each other — when they visited me in the hospital last April. I looked around their house and I was full of happiness for the two beautiful people who had created their lives in that space.
After a quick change of plans, Jackie and I hopped into Padfoot (my car), and set off. We got to the shop in time, went downstairs, and waited for Yas to come out of the curtained off dressing room.
When I saw her, I cried. Yas looked so beautiful as she tried on the first wedding dress she had set her eyes on. She stepped on the platform as the woman shuffled around her, showing her belts, and showing us how we would bustle her train. Jackie and I sprung into action — frantically taking as many pictures as humanly possible while I tried to suppress my happy sobs.
Looking at her as she swayed this way and that, I couldn’t help but think, God, I could have missed this… I couldn’t help it. I promptly lost my shit. I sobbed quietly while I took pictures and stood in awe of these two beautiful women in my life.
We spent the rest of the night the way we normally do. Dinner. Karaoke until our voices were shot. Excessive conversation sitting on the floor and eventually the couch of Yas and her fiancé’s, Toni, new apartment. We laughed and planned and cried.
I could have missed this…
I drove Jackie back home and I shared with her something that I hope one day to have the courage to write about and I drove back home at 2 am in a daze.
In another part of my life, my cousin graduates high school in a few short months. Another cousin not too far behind will be off to college soon too. Next month, I get to see one of the younger ones perform in Carnegie Hall (again). My family, my beautiful family.
I mentioned in an earlier post a recording I made my first night in the hospital. I listened to it when I got home last night. In part of the recording I list some of the things I’m afraid I’ll miss. Tonight when I talk to God, I will thank him again for listening to me that night. For allowing me to be a part of all of the things I was afraid to miss.
My heart is full in ways that overflow.
It is times like this when I fear Death most. It is times like this when I ask Him to wait. I am not done. I cannot be done. I have so much more to see. I have so much more to say. I have so much more to do.
So I turn away from Death and I search for meaning in the life around me. In the mumbles of my dogs’ snoring. In the patterns of the stars. I turn away from Death and I walk towards the horizon.
I will not miss this.