The upside of all of this is that I've been able to spend some good quality time with people in a way that doesn't happen when you know you'll see them again the following week. Conversations take on a different depth, looks and moments are far more meaningful and the way you spend your time is chosen very carefully in order to create memories that will last until the next time you see them (or forever in case that's the way your life paths lead.)
Such was the case last week when I participated in a small, intimate dinner. Just 3 of us, one leaving this week, one leaving later this year, and me. We noshed on homemade pizza, kale salad and a peach pie fresh from the oven (those girls know their food!) We laughed, we shared fears and plans for the future and we swapped mix tapes (those girls know their tunes!)
The rules (which I somehow failed to read) required that the tape (okay, it was actually a CD but that just doesn't quite have the same ring to it) have 10 songs that were in someway meaningful either to the maker or the recipient. We told each other the stories behind our song choices and then sat back and listened. But the best part has been the repeated listening that has gone on over the last few days. I've soaked up words and sounds in a way I haven't in I don't know how long. Knowing how much the tunes mean to my dear friends has made them mean something to me too, but I've found my own meanings to layer on top of theirs.
I've had one disc playing non-stop in my room and the other playing non-stop in my car and the words have been etched on my soul.
Some of my favorite words:
hello, my old heart
it's been so long
since I've given you away
and every day I add another stone
to the walls I built around you
to keep you safe...
...but you'll never find the answers
until you set your old heart free--The Oh Hellos
I don’t wanna make you interested.
I just wanna make you the only one.
I don't wanna ask myself forever
Why I didn't put myself together?
As soon as you appeared into my eye
--Peter Bjorn and John
And a few overall just amazing listens:
I could go on and on and list every single song but that gives you a small sampling of our evening.
Thank goodness for technology, email, facebook and blogs that can keep us connected across continents. But I think the hand-selected melodies will be the best connection of all. We had no repeats (even of artists) between the three of us and we each discovered some new favorites and rediscovered some that we'd forgotten. There were hints of melancholy amongst them all, obviously the bittersweet future was in the backs of our minds as we made our selections. And that melancholy stayed with us as we left with heavy hearts and un-shed tears. Yet we have the tangible reminders of the night and our friendship in the shape of slender silver/irridescent circles filled with the words our friends would say were they still nearby.
And as a bonus we decided to continue the music swap by mail every couple of months. Who doesn't love getting something that isn't a bill or junk in the mail? Bring on the Christmas music!