Three Steps Towards Vulnerability

In recent years I’ve come to appreciate how significant music is to my daily life. It’s there to cheer me on when events are spectacular and there to comfort me when life takes one of those trademark turns it loves so much. Sometimes I forget how deeply it resonates, but tonight it has returned in sharp clarity. Over the past six years, only three songs have been able to evoke a strong melancholy.

The first song is Jimmy Eats World’s Goodbye Sky Harbor which inspired this piece of flash fiction posted on the former blog entitled See You TIA, Goodbye Sky Harbor:

The ghostly galleon left Sky Harbor with its manifest of doomed souls. Trapped within the mystical cargo holds awaiting judgment by the Eidolon Tribunal were thousands of alleged rogues, scoundrels, and ne’er-do-wells. While some had indeed succumbed to villainy and carried it forward from their former existence, more often than not, these spirits in the material world wandered about aimlessly and innocently. They were merely oblivious to or confused by their condition, unwilling or unable to move on, and no more malevolent than a gentle spring breeze.

Of particular note was one spirit amongst the throng of many wailing out in anguish that sat silently and, as if it was physically possible, shivered uncontrollably. It shivered not because it felt cold – it could no longer feel nor be felt in the tactile sense, but because sense memory mandated that’s what happens in situations of fear. Oddly, it didn’t fear its ultimate fate because the future would be whatever it would be. It feared never seeing Tia. Seeing Tia, seeing everything and everyone around her, was the only desire in its final days as a mortal male. Tia was the natural progression in his mortal life and he wanted to experience her at least once. Through his mortal eyes, Tia made sense. Now, nothing made sense and confusion kept this essence clinging to the illusions of humanity.

The dead carry over their earthly desires like spectral Samsonite because, in times of trauma, familiarity is their only friend. Only when they receive The Purity can they loose the shackles of the corporeal. The Purity, the ultimate understanding of one’s self and place, adheres to no timetable or pre-defined condition. It occurs when and how it occurs, if it occurs at all, and the more actively it is sought, the more elusive it is. Rare is the recently deceased who receives The Purity.

As the phantom ship skimmed through the white-cap clouds whirling about the cerulean ocean of sky, a memory echoed throughout the spirit.

“Is tomorrow just a day like all the rest?
How could you know just what you did?
Like all the rest.. How could you know just what you did?
So full of faith yet full of doubt I ask
Again
I shall ask you this once again.
He said:
‘I am but one small instrument.’
Do you remember that?
Time and time again you say don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid, the only voice I want to hear is yours.
Again
I shall ask you this once again.
He said:
‘I am but one small instrument.’
Do you remember that?
So here I am above palm trees so straight and tall
You are smaller getting smaller, but I still see you.”

 

The second song is Gotye’s Bronte. Regardless of the protagonist, the animation in the video hammers home the sense of loss and that is what I identify with more than anything. I can’t watch this video without tearing up.

The final song is P!nk’s Who Knew. I will freely admit that I never paid one ounce of attention to P!nk prior to 2012. That’s when I saw her perform on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Her performance there was so powerful, so moving, that I had to take notice. I wish that the link I emailed several friends still worked because, while the video below is close, it doesn’t do justice to the one referenced earlier.

Yes, astute reader, these all revolve around heartbreak – quite possibly the most significant to date. They all have the power to reduce me to a blubbering mess. So why admit this? Perhaps it’s a simple catharsis, perhaps it’s an exorcising of demons, or perhaps it’s a primal need to reach out to others to connect with that sense of loss. It honestly doesn’t matter which one it is to me because I have no shame associated with my love of these songs. They tap into something meaningful for me and perhaps for someone else. I really wish this song was around in the mid-80’s because I would’ve insisted that my friend Barb would’ve covered this during our only performance as AKA: The Damn Band. She would have done this justice.

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