Bejewell on December 15th, 2008

Without music, life would be a mistake.

– Nietchze

It’s early winter, 1989.  I’m 17, just about six months shy of graduation.  I sit in a car with my boyfriend, my first love, the first one I ever thought was The One.  He’ll later become The One who stole my heart (and my virginity) only to dump me just weeks before prom… The One who first taught me what it was like to love but NOT be loved back… the first One to really, truly break my heart into a million tiny pieces.

But not tonight.  Tonight, he’s just… The One.

We’re at the local mall.  When my 6-9 shift at The Limited ended, he was waiting for me at the exit and walked me to his Ford Probe, pointedly NOT holding my hand.  We didn’t have a date, no plans for anything fun or fancy, just wordlessly drove to the end of the parking lot on top of a huge hill overlooking the city and… parked.

I’m overwhelmed by my feelings for him.  He’s so unlike me – quiet, cool, together – while I’m really kind of a mess.

I’ve dated other boys before, but I’ve never wanted one more than he wanted me.  (At least, not since the junior high days of Trapper Keeper folders covered in hearts and the bubbly initials of cute boys… but I’m a high school woman now and those boys no longer count).

Since I started dating, I’ve been the chased, not the chaser.  Now, not so much.

It’s a new and very unwelcome feeling.  I’m crumbling under the pressure.  I want SO CRAZY AWFUL for him to like me as much as I like him; I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more.  But we both know he doesn’t, and if we’re being honest (which we’re not), we both know he never will.

It doesn’t make me walk away, though – It just makes me try harder.  And want it more.

I actively choose not to think about any of that tonight.  No, tonight I just want to kiss him, and have him kiss me, and feel his arms around me while I make believe this is a forever thing.  So that’s exactly what I do.  Tonight.

I see the cassette tape in the console and ask him to play it.  It’s a mix tape I made specifically for him, filled with songs that mean something to me, the only way this teenaged child of the 80s knows how to express her feelings of devotion and hope.  He’s had it for weeks, but never plays it unless I ask.

Without a word he slides it into the player, and the song starts.  It’s the same song that was playing the last time I left his car, and I know he must have popped the tape out as soon as he dropped me at my door.  I pretend not to notice and push my hurt feelings back to the recesses of my heart.  I can worry about those another time.  But not tonight.

Tonight I just want to enjoy the feeling of the song and make believe that he feels it, too.

It’s cold outside, an unusually blustery night for Austin, Texas, in December.  But it’s warm in the car, and the windows have fogged up a bit.  It’s not that Happy Days Inspiration Point kind of fog — our chemistry isn’t heating up the interior — it’s just fog.  As the windshield wipers swish in front of me to clear the view, I wish it was more than just the weather.

The blinking lights of Austin are laid out before us.  It’s such a beautiful city at night and we appreciate the skyline together, hands finally locked.  He points out one building in particular – a skyscraper with rows of neon blue lines outlining its pyramid-like top edges – and tells me it’s his favorite.  He tells me that every time he sees it lit up like that, he thinks of me.

I swoon.

I know this’ll end badly.  I know this all means so much more to me than it does to him.  I know I’ll come out of it at least a little scarred and broken.

I even know that there’s something better out there, waiting for me.  SOMEHOW I know that SOMEDAY I’ll find SOMEONE, long after this boy is gone, long after I’ve recovered from the damage he’s caused.

But still I swoon when he tells me the blue building reminds him of me. He thinks of me! I think to myself.  That’s something!

Was it true?  Probably not.

Does it matter?  No.

I moved on a long time ago.  I found my SOMEHOW SOMEDAY SOMEONE and never looked back.  And honestly, when I do think about it now, I know I was never really in LOVE with him – it was just infatuation fueled by teenaged angst and insecurity.  I never knew true love until I met the man who would become my husband and the father of my child.  And even then, it took a while.

I wouldn’t trade the life I found for anything in this world.  Ever.

But that building is still there, still lights up in neon blue every night.  And every time I see it, I think of him.

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17 Responses to “Musical Flashback: Depeche Mode”

  1. Ahhh Depeche Mode. There’s nothing like it. That and teen angst. Nothing like that either!

    Carolina Girls last blog post..All the single ladies!

  2. Struck a nerve, you did. I have a ‘building’ or two of my own.

    derfinas last blog post..Take that, Monday

  3. Damn you. You ambushed me.
    I do NOT have time for this sort of nostalgia right now. But where am I? Somewhere back in 1989, standing on a dock, looking at the lights.
    Damn you.

    WaltzInExiles last blog post..Anthropomorphism

  4. Wow. This may not be good news, depending on how you look at it, but once you have a teenager who is dealing with this same type of thing, your experiences dull as you trade up to live their pain with them; it becomes the stuff of your empathy.

    Sometimes, life blows. But love me some Depeche Mode.

    amy @ milk breath and margaritass last blog post..Grand Marnier Cranberries

  5. Mine was Boston’s “More than a Feelin’” and a blue Goody haircomb in the back pocket of his 501′s.

    that bum never even had a chance….

    swirl girls last blog post..Do You Hear What I Hear?

  6. Mine is U2′s “Mysterious Ways” and so,so many buildings. And a cornfield…

    This was fantastic. Pure and simple.

    foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog)s last blog got back (and it hurts like a bitch. plus it’s my actual back, not my ass. sorry for any confusion)

  7. That was great… so perfectly encapsulating that intensity and sense of impending doom that hung over my high school years, too. And that physical intensity that makes everything else (mostly one’s rationality) just drop away.

    Loved the post and loved the photo of Austin. It does have a beautiful skyline. One of my favorites in the world. :)

    p.s. And my song that makes me think those thoughts is U2′s New Year’s Day and Cat Steven’s Trouble…. oh, year, my guy was big, big trouble…. but that was college age.

  8. Depeche Mode. *sigh*

    Every song back then touch on some needle of angst going on in my life. I don’t even know how how many times I saw them live. It was a crazy obsession that lasted too long.

    I can’t even listen to some of their songs now because the memories they invoke are better left buried. Deep.

    Audss last blog post..Santa Better Be Packin’ Midol and Merlot When He Shows Up!

  9. Auds -me too, me too. I love Depeche Mode so much but some of the memories are painful.

  10. Best. Post. Ever.

    My favorite part?

    Besides the song, which I just listened to in its entirety?

    This line: “When my 6-9 shift at The Limited ended.” Nothing captures the times better than that, my friend.

    We need to find a bar with a jukebox containing Depeche Mode CDs and have some drinks there, pronto!

    rockzees last blog post..Lame Excuses

  11. So so sweet. Brings me back too, except it wasn’t Depeche Mode, and it wasn’t a building. More like a tractor and Bon Jovi. Either way, I felt every emotion.

    Kailas last blog post..Ain’t Got Time For The Pain

  12. LOL @ fadkog — cornfield, really?

    This was a beautiful post. It took me back to the first real heartbreak I went through. I was about the same age as you, although this boy didn’t manage to get to be the one who broke me in, so to speak. He would have made much more sense than the one I let have that honor, but that’s another story for another time. The movie we saw on our first date comes on pretty often and I always think of him. Periodically, I run into him and his wife and kids. My husband and sons are normally running around as we catch up. But, man, way back when, he really tore my heart out.

    Also, I giggled a little when I read cassette tape. I thought I was the only person who remembered those old relics.

  13. ‘Hold Me Now’, The Thompson Twins. And THAT’S how old I am. :D

    goodfathers last blog post..Spin Cycle: Pure Energy

  14. This was AWESOME.

    I have eleventyhundred songs like this.


  15. bastard.

    …not you or the big bean. the building boy.

  16. Yeah. Those One True Loves? Just, you know, douche bags.

    ~ms last blog post..What’s in a Name?

  17. I’m you. Same song. Same boy (they’re all the same at 17). Same mix tape of my heart. Same car. Except it’s 1986 in Hawaii. We made it through prom, but he smashed my soul a week before graduation. With you all the way, Beej.

    Beths last blog post..The Power of the Kindergarten Teacher

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