I swear I have some intellectual rights as someone clearly stole my hang-ups when creating the Ally McBeal character. You may remember back in her day when she searched for a theme song to keep her focused, lift her spirits and perhaps even ease some neurosis. Yep. I had theme music long before Ally was dancing with computerized babies. Someone owes me money.
For instance, Aretha Franklin will sock me through Valentine's Day any year. Any time I find myself feeling slighted about events that celebrate love and devotion, I stick "Respect" on repeat in my head. Hey, don't laugh. I've heard the music you sports-type people play when pumping yourselves up for competition. "Respect" is like the Rocky theme for the single chick.
So I tripped over a cardboard box on my way out the door yesterday morning. My ex-husband, R.C., had left me another box of stuff. You see, he's cleaning his house up to sell it. He's getting married. You might think at this point I'd have some Alanis Morrisette "You Outta Know" playing in my head, but I don't. In fact, I'm tickled pink that I'm getting my stuff back.
You see, it was Valentine's Day many moons ago when I left our home. Don't go thinking I left because I didn't get the flowers; we had been separated for a while. However, don't think the irony of leaving on the day we celebrate love was missed in the transition, either. I did not have anyone to help me move, save the two guys I paid to carry the furniture, so I left lots and lots behind. For a full year, I have spent much time wailing and gnashing teeth to get some things I forgot, namely my music.
So now I have this box of stuff, and among the movies (I still think some are his) and books (those are all mine) is the one thing I've fought tooth and nail to get: a copy of the CDs we had burned together. How so very surreal.
I spent the afternoon reacquainting myself with the girl I once was and sometimes still am. I listened to the music we shared. We had Moby, Cake and Harvey Danger the years we lived on love and prayers in Oxford while he pursued a pharmacy degree and I almost lost my mind teaching high school. Oh, and that Kudzu Kings set we heard through our apartment windows miles from the Grove.
Too much to see.
Too much to do.
Not enough time,
Though I'm surrounded by booze.
We have the music from the days we celebrated graduations and birthdays and Saint Patrick's Day parades.
There's the Mary Chapin Carpenter I listened to while I mourned Miss Eudora's death. We have Fleetwood Mac. I remember the day my mouth dropped to discover he'd never heard "Landslide." "What does this song mean, anyway?" he asked.
I've been afraid of changing
Because I built my life around you.
But time makes bolder,
Children get older
and I'm getting older too.
Well, no comment there.
I'm reminded of how different we truly are. I was under the impression that everyone on this planet held a very deep emotional attachment to New Order's "Blue Monday" or Elvis Costello's "Veronica." He, on the other hand, never quite understood how I could miss the literary value of "G'z Up, Ho's Down."
Things fall apart, and I climb a mountain to turn around. Does a nice, Baptist girl have the guts to draw the line in the sand? If she sticks it out, will things change for the better? Or will she one day look back and wish she'd done something differently? Well, when a girl hears, "I just don't love you," she just quits giving a damn about her bad reputation. Thank you, Joan Jett.
I've been better off without some CDs. I did not need to hear Carly Simon's "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" or Al Green's "Let's Stay Together." I can listen to them today with nostalgia in lieu of heartbreak, but musical scores have served me fine, thank you very much.
In the grand scheme of things, our time together served its purpose. Of course, I got a Monkey out of the deal, and yesterday I might have needed this marital souvenir to remember the good things we did share. We accomplished some pretty amazing stuff together.
I also needed a reminder of how far I've come; I'm accomplishing some amazing stuff all on my own.
And did I really listen to Garth Brooks? What, praytell, was I thinking? And who bought the Journey music? I can't imagine any span of my life when Journey would have been appropriate theme music. I'll claim it, though. No regrets.
Which is why on this Valentine's Day, we'll open the chapter with Frank Sinatra's "My Way." It's so good to have Ole Blue Eyes back, you know.
JFP columnist Emily Braden is a free-lance writer and mom who lives in Rankin County with her son "Monkey" and her dog Zeke.