Let it be again

The number one song in the country at the moment of my birth, just finishing up a six-week run at the position, was Bridge Over Troubled Water. Sort of. That week, officially on the Saturday after I was born, the number one song became Let It Be. I find that two-song playlist oddly appropriate to my next 49 years.

I started listening to Simon and Garfunkel on Spotify and it reminded me of my life in the ’80s and ’90s. I can’t count how many times I crisscrossed the country. ‘Kathy, I’m lost,’ I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.’ But I did know why. And I do know why.

It’s a cliché to repeat how songs invoke memories. I can’t listen to Band of Horses without seeing her flit back and forth across the bathroom, momentarily visible in panties and my t-shirt, then disappearing from view. I can’t hear the Hold Steady without remembering looking at the back of my hand staring drunkenly at the veins and how empty my hand seemed while struggling through my divorce. And I can’t hear Simon and Garfunkel without also hearing the clacking of train tracks or the groaning of diesel-engined Greyhounds riding across the plains in the middle of the night, stopping in cities so small there was only a snack machine in the depot to get a bite, and crossroads with a flashing yellow light in lieu of one that changed from red to yellow to green.

I was on Trip Advisor the other day and I got bored of clicking when I had hit 500 cities, towns, and hamlets in America, Canada, and Mexico. Johnny Cash sang “I’ve been everywhere” and between two precise latitudes, it seems I have. “We’ve all gone to look for America.” And so we have. What did we find? What did I find? You?

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