Friday, January 05, 2007

"Under Your Skin I'm Playing in Your Head"

As a man gathers his belongings to go home for the evening, I see him meticulously put his iPod into his shirt pocket, lace the earbuds cord up through his collar, put on his jacket, dig for his keys in one pocket while getting his gloves out of the other, and then grab his lunch bag. Little gestures and movements, routine at the end of a long work day, and these motions are performed without thought. He is just getting ready to go home. He is most likely thinking of his drive, hoping traffic is not bad, or thinking of his family. The man is probably planning, or reviewing existing plans, for the evening. He doesn't know that in an instant, he reminded me of an entire evening out from eight and a half years ago.

This happens to me often. A small thing will trigger a memory long put away. I do not say forgotten, because it is there, but put away as if it were a file in an office building designed to store data. It wasn't needed at the time and so it is resting neatly in its cabinet, waiting to be referenced again.

It was a summer evening when my parents had the idea to take our guests and me to a piano concert. Our family had never attended a piano concert before, besides the recital I had to perform in when I thought learning to play sounded like a good idea. The pianists in this concert were much better players than I was, no pecking out the melody to "Beauty and the Beast," for them. The pianists were twin Russian women and they played depressing melodies and harmonies together on stage for about an hour. What I remember the most about their performance is the fact that at least one of them rocked back and forth on her bench and I waiting for the moment when she swayed hard enough to fall off the seat onto the hardwood floor. The urge to giggle was suppressed because the woman looked mentally challenged and I would be appalled with myself to laugh at the sight of a disabled person getting hurt, but this woman was not disabled. She just flailed wildly at a piano while her fingers played parts of the most miserable and gloomy pieces of music ever written. Her actions seemed so out of place with the tune that I filed this detail away.

At this point, you may wonder why a man leaving work at the end of a long day reminded me of this experience. Without someone connecting the dots, I would see the two events as unrelated as they truly are. The man getting ready to leave was not Russian. He didn't play piano. The twins didn't wear jackets or gloves; it was June in Minnesota. He picked up keys and they played keys, but that is not the connection.

No, it was how he pulled his earbuds cord through his jacket. As I mentioned, there were others at the concert with my parents and myself. One of those others was Andriy. If you've been paying attention to my life through this blog enough over the past few months, you'll know he's never far from being the center of my thoughts.

During Andriy's stay, he was lent my portable CD player. This came in handy to him during rides to his internship on the city bus, during his hospital stay, and during this particular piano recital. As the women pounded notes out on the keys, he sat slightly slouched to the right, resting his head on his hand. To the causal observer, he was enthralled by the music coming from the small stage.

In the inside pocket of his sports coat, the CD-player spun. He had laced the cord up through his sleeve and listened to rock and roll, much to my envy. Each time he saw the boredom on my face from this concert, he would smile mischievously and his eyes shone.

A filed memory, one not recalled at just the thought of him, but one that surfaced through a simple observation was able to let me remember the feeling of being there beside him. I miss him terribly. I read somewhere recently that missing someone has nothing to do with possession but with wanting to share experiences with that person. I miss him and wish each day that he could be here (or me there) to share more moments together. One month was not enough.

*Post-note: The title of this post caused me quite a bit of trouble. Titles should be created at the end of writing, not the beginning. At least that is my opinion. The title should describe the writing or song without giving away the story. I finally resorted to using a search engine (Google - but of course!) to find lyrics to a song. The song that came to mind was an odd one by an equally odd artist. There is a song called, "Headphones," by Bjork that I heard and it stuck in my head. It scared me. But headphones seemed an apt topic for the title. With a bit of help from Google, I found the lyrics to that song. They didn't fit the post at all. The lyrics, "Under your skin I'm playing in your head," are from a song I've never heard. It is by LeAnn Rimes and the song is called, "Headphones." The lyrics are actually kind of cute and I also enjoyed the line, "I wanna be that song comin' through your headphones." Well, enjoyed to the point that I could with the word, "Wanna," in there. Don't even get me started on, "Comin'."