Songs are by far, the best way to conjure memories. I remember eras of my life by the artists I was into. But, there is an anomaly. In junior high, I was into grunge. Nirvana. Silverchair. Bush. Yet, here I am, sitting in my living room, watching Pitch Perfect, singing along to “No Diggity” and remembering a time I used to sing this same song with a friend.
I can see everything perfectly. Her room boasting windows not yet dressed with curtains. No furniture has been assembled, yet. We sit on the floor, lined with new, clean, bitter-smelling carpet. But, it’s better than the carpet at her old house. Everything here glistens with promise of a better life, even though it’s empty. And even though, it’s all a farce.
I sit on her floor and go through boxes with her, trying to help her get situated in her new living space. We listen to the radio. The radio is the only constant from her dad’s house to her mom’s apartment. The same artists sing the same tunes no matter what we do. At my house, we don’t have MTV. We don’t listen to the popular stations. We’re never told that we’re not *allowed* to listen to such music, it’s just conveniently not available.
Not at my friend’s house. She moves across town? They sing the same songs. She and I get dumped by our silly, middle-school boyfriends? The radio plays the same songs, reminding us better guys exist out there somewhere. My best friend’s parents divorce? The radio remains constant–a steady reminder that somewhere in the world, there exist men who will one day treat us better than what we have seen.
We are young. We are in that delicate stage between pre-pubescence and adolescence. We sing and dance and talk about boys we like. We turn up the radio, and listen to Dr. Dre, Mariah Carey, and Alanis Morissette. We lay on our backs, light incense, and pretend we belong to the same world as the people on the radio.
And nearly twenty years later, when I hear those same melodies, I still like to pretend I do.