“And how you held me in your arms that September night; The first time you ever saw me cry.”
There’s something about songs about months past that always get to me. You may have noticed I have this obsession with time. Of what was, what is, and what will be. It fascinates me and at the same time bothers me. I can’t control time. I can’t go back or forward. I can’t get back the seconds it’s taking right now to write this, ever again. They’re gone.
So songs about months in the past do something for me. Because it’s about more than just the days. It’s about what happens in them. It’s about the people who are gone from our lives and the moments we may have made the wrong choice. It’s about friends who we’ve let go and lost relationships that maybe meant more to us than we realized at the time. It’s about people still in our lives that have changed so much that they may as well be strangers. It’s remembering who they were before. It’s even about those still by your side, and the experiences you’ve shared together that you can’t go back and share again. It’s knowing that people change with the years; That they grow up and move on. But it’s remembering, for whatever amount of time, who they were when they were with you and the feelings you felt when you were with them.
It’s a snapshot of dancing, kissing, laughing until you almost pee your pants–that stay lingering in your mind. It’s knowing that someone was there for you,and now they are not and won’t ever be again. It’s that quick moment in which he kisses your hand and you realize you may actually love him or the time she held your hair back for you when you were throwing up in the toilet; It’s realizing, even when you’re certain you made the right choice, that leaving days behind will always produce the question, “What if?” It’s not just the memories you have but knowing that there are those who, years after you said your goodbyes, will hear a certain song or hear a stranger’s laugh and think of you. It’s knowing that there’s someone out there who will understand pieces of who you were in ways that people who meet you today will never understand. It’s that nothing and nobody-not a new lover, a great friend, bitterness, or even the strongest hatred–can take away or erase all of the good things you once shared together. It’s the fact that with each second that turns into months and years, there are ghosts of us still wandering around in our past December’s, May’s, and September’s. There are bits of our used-to-be’s scattered around each day of every calendar that we’ve long ago thrown away.
What is perplexing is that, for me, it’s not even about regret. I don’t regret letting go of any relationships in my life. But sometimes, when I think back to who I was and who used to be there, I feel a little pang. I’m not sure whether it’s a pang of missing my former self, or the smiles and all of the firsts I experienced with those who knew me then. I think it’s probably a little mix of both. It makes me a little sad that I can’t make people who they used to be, that I can’t go back and that I can’t bring back the innocence of being eighteen years old again. It’s not regret. It’s the other re’s that stay in my mind. I can’t re-meet anyone for the first time or re-feel the butterflies of finding a new crush. I can’t relive last nights giggles and kisses as my boy and I regressed to teenagers and lay totally naked in our hot-tub. I can’t always recall the why’s or how’s of saying goodbye to someone for the last time, but I still remember the pain they brought each time. And I suppose that is what it’s all about for me. Not regret or nostalgia or wanting anything back. It’s that bittersweet, heart-wrenching, tear-inducing thing that all of us are both blessed and cursed with. Remembering.
“I go back to December all the time.”