Have you ever thought about what your favorite song might look like, if it were a visual creation rather than something heard? Do you ever wonder what yellow would sound like, resonating off a violin? Not just any yellow, the yellow that drapes a worn chair in the corner of your room, reminding you of expired sunshine in the earliest hours of the day.
This is what I find myself thinking about, what each moment would sound like, every overlooked aspect that occurred in a single moment translated into background bass lines and keyboard chords. If the color of her hair could sing a verse, what would it be saying? Or the way she casts a fleeting look at every passerby, as if sending out a silent message, a call for a friend, for a friendly face to emerge out of blank stares and pointless text messages. Which musician has perfectly captured that moment in time? And if not, who will be the one to write it? And what will it sound like?
It’s 3-o’clock in the heat of summer, scraped knees pressed against the asphalt as the sun beats down on the crown of my head; a cherry Popsicle clutched between red-stained sticky fingers. Blue jeans, thin white un-buttoned shirts, a gold necklace declaring I am a Sagittarius, this is my costume. A familiar crash comes from two houses over, three boys skating down a driveway, Coca-Cola splashed down their legs as one surprises the other from behind. Look a little further, a small girl with blonde bouncing curls runs through the sprinklers, an attempt to keep the swallowing heat away. I can already feel the sunburn that will have kissed her baby skin by the end of the day. Hours like these are long and slow, like an echochamber of suburbia.
My body feels empty – but not in a sad way – in a way that makes me feel weightless against the crisp touch of my sheets. Like if I breathe too deeply, I could feel the wind rushing through my rib cage; if I dare make a sound, I could feel the echo resonating through my bones. A cool blue light snaking in through the closed blinds drapes everything in a still, winter state. It feels like I’m floating, because I can’t seem to care enough about anything to form a concrete thought capable of holding my consciousness down to my body. The chords ring out and echo against my walls, as lyrics croon of velvet sheets and broken relationships.
We stopped for something to eat at this small restaurant – more of a shack, really – nestled on somewhere the coast of California, Santa Cruz. The restlessness of summer is evident in every person around me; hair wet and matted with salt water, tans deep and freckled, surfboards propped against every surface. I’m completely inspired by the fact that the entire restaurant seems to be run by local beach bum teenagers, a summer job in-between swells. Faces crowd inside the surf shack and out onto their patio, where a faded sticker across the bar table declares “No Kooks Allowed.” A song plays faintly in the background, and despite the fact that I seem to know all the words by heart, I can’t remember the name. But it seems to catch every detail of those few moments before we’re back on the road. Every face, every taste, every smell and emotion that captured my attention for those few short minutes, the first and last time I ever saw that magical little summer surf shack.
The smell of sage and Palo Santo drift through the window as sunlight pours in across her bed. It takes up nearly the entire room, leaving just enough space for a table draped in candle wax, crystals, and other mystical souvenirs. A glass jar filled with fish bones from the Salten Sea serves as a prop for a stack of tarot cards, and I can’t help but think about the stories she’s told me about the desert. How when I ask her about it, her eyes show you she’s fallen in love. We’re sitting and dreaming about adventure, about how it must feel to experience something larger than ourselves. The closeness of the heat slows the rising of her chest as we stare at the haze settling above our heads. I wish we could stay like this forever, but the song ends too soon, and I can’t seem to lift my heart enough to play it again.
I want to know what it’s like to be free. To feel my bare feet hit the concrete at full speed, sprinting towards the water without a second thought. I want to know what it’s like to have a life that feels like summer, skin still warm from hours of skating in the sun and knees bloody from messing around. I want to know what the ocean feels like at 3AM, and what tomorrow feels like when I’m not waiting for the future. I want to know how to say “I’ll do it myself” in at least four different languages, and how long it takes to get tired of couch surfing. I want to know why I’m so restless and how to not be lonely anymore. I want to know what it’s like to feel your fingers on my heart, and if you could make it sound like your guitar. I’ve spent too long swallowing equations and none of them have brought me closer to figuring out who I am. This is where I stop apologizing for saying what I really mean, for wanting more of a future than an office can offer, for not accepting that this is as good as it’s going to get. I’m going to stop caring what my parents thing and start caring about what I think.
how’s it sound?