When my ex broke up with me (chronicled in painful detail on this very blog) I more or less fell apart. See years 2011-2013 for The Adventures of Kate the Waster. I don't really feel anything about it, good or bad, anymore. But every now and then, I am transported back to the long night drives, in my old gold Jeep. It was night time in the summer in North Carolina. The air was warm and wet but smelled more alive than I felt. So I almost always drove with the windows down- humidity be damned. And the radio on as loud as I could stand. Inevitably one of two albums had been thrust into The Beast's CD player: Adele's 21 or Mumford and Sons' Sigh No More.
I drove very very fast those nights. And I listened very very loud. And some songs I sang like my physical presence on earth depended on it.
Behind the wheel of that truck, I cried until I choked; I cried until I had to pull the car over; I cried more than I had ever cried before or have cried since. It's no small miracle that I was never pulled over for hysterics or excessive moving violations.
More than any other song After the Storm gave me a part of myself back. It's the song I cried the hardest to, the song I sang the loudest with, the song that shakes me today. I hear it and I'm broken but healing again. I hear it and I immediately tear up. In a good way, I guess- a way that is familiar to me, a way that reminds me of who I used to be and who I am and who I will be, I hope, someday.
There will come a time, you'll see
with no more tears
when love will not break your heart
but dismiss your fears
Get over your hill and see
what you find there
With grace in your heart
and flowers in your hair
Literally wailing like a banshee, and crying like tears were going out of style.
I was a dangerously toxic mixture of sorrow and anger then, of grief and deep deep distress. I was simultaneously scared and terribly numb. There is a part of me that is still both. There is a part of me that thinks a part of me will be both forever. (Drama, I know.) Honestly, though, one of the most important things that entire period of my life- the relationship, the break up, the pain of loss (there are so many different types of loss), the insanity- taught me was how not to love.
And because that song is so wrapped up, in my head and my heart, with that time whenever I hear it, I think about love. I think about how to love and how not to love. And I think about time. I hear that song and I think about the future.
Always about the future. But also always about the past.