If you are like me, your phone is filled with music. If you are like me, music holds the highest power. If you are like me, the best playlists you have are the ones that tell a story.
Here’s our story brought to you by a Spotify Playlist.
Shine – Collective Soul
For the first year I knew you, I didn’t really know you. We shared a similar group of friends, we both had a collection of similar band t-shirts that we didn’t come to realise until much later. For some reason we kept our distance, assuming that we had nothing in common. So many of our interaction were kept between passing a bottle and talking sports. It got awkward when we were left alone.
And then a song came on…
And you saw the twinkle in my eye.
We both smiled, simultaneously saying “I love this song.”
And maybe it was the alcohol in our systems, but we silently sung the lyrics – together. You looked at me, surprised that I even knew the lyrics. I didn’t care, I kept singing. It was in that moment that I think something changed even if we didn’t come to accept it until almost three years later.
And then when it came on over the speakers of your computer, I instinctively reached for the volume and so did you – our hands colliding before they ever reached it. Just then, I felt it – that sizzle – but I untangled my fingers from yours and allowed you to turn up the volume.
Even though the music filled the room, I swear my heartbeat was louder.
2. Perfect Day – Billy Currington
I don’t remember how or why we started to get close, but we did. It didn’t even phase you when my number flashed on your screen, you just went with it. Before we knew it we were telling each other things that you normally wouldn’t tell anyone besides the pages of your notebook. BIG things, little things – anything, and everything, that crossed my mind – you were the first to know.
“You have an unusually large collection of country music,” you mocked.
“Don’t dis’ it until you listen to it with me,” I challenged.
And you did. Anything I wanted to do, you would oblige. You didn’t care if you absolutely dreaded it – if it made me happy, you would do it. Little did you know that after that day your playlist filled with country songs faster than any other – mostly because on the daily I would send you a new one to download.
“Don’t tell anyone,” you squeaked, when you admitted to having a new-found passion for country music.
“I won’t,” and I never did – until now…
“This is my perfect day,” you said, after the song was over, looking over at me – shy smile barely cracking the wrinkles around your eyes.
I looked at you, surprised because I wasn’t expecting that. But I nodded, found your eyes, “yeah… me too.”
And I believed it.
3. The Undeveloped Story – Anberlin
I could hear the song coming out of your headphones as I snuck up behind you. I knew the song from before, it felt like a lifetime ago that I listened to Anberlin and never did I think you would have them on your playlist – another random coincidence of the multiple things we had in common.
Again, I surprised you, pulling out the lyrics to the song after you took out one of your earbuds. You looked at me, amazed, “looks like we both like something off the beaten path.”
And then I started listening to them more and more. Stumbling upon other songs of the same genre and adding them to my playlist. I picked up this bad habit of adopting your music tastes without even noticing. A song would play from your playlist and it would be stuck in my mind for days afterwards, forcing me to download it.
I’d try to convince myself that I wasn’t only downloading it because it reminded me of you – but that was a lie.
4. I Love You – Mads Langer
On the days where I would come over to your house, the music fully under your own control, you would still play all of my favourite songs. To this day, that is my favourite thing about you, you would go out of your way to make me happy. You would pretend like it wasn’t on purpose, but we both knew that it was a lie.
But that day, it was different, “can I play you a song?” your voice was low, if I wasn’t listening to you intently I would have missed it. “Of course,” I replied. Mostly because when you did play me a song it was instant love. Because the songs that you picked, just like the ones I picked for you, held a meaning – they spoke what our words never could.
And I sat there, your face partially covered by the darkness in the room, taking in the lyrics. I badly wished I could see what your eyes were doing, the curve of your mouth. But I could feel your hand, fingers interlocked with mine, squeezing tightly every so often. You didn’t know but I took note of the lyrics in those moments.
I told myself not to read too much into it… but, truth be told, I did. And that song still screams at me every time it plays, the message louder and clearer than it has ever been.
5. Good To You – Marianas Trench
You told me about this song long before it became overplayed and overrated, and even then we still loved it. Maybe we both knew it was more than just a song. Maybe that was the point of it all.
It became the essence of everything we were. It would play on a TV show or on the radio, instant text from you. I would mention your name or think about you and it would immediately come on. It was like the universe was trying to send me some sort of message, but I would always laugh it off and pretend I didn’t care.
But even in those moments, I knew it wasn’t nothing. Because my chest would tighten, my gut would twist.
And I knew that somewhere out there, you were thinking of me too.
6. Making Memories of Us – Keith Urban
We only ever listened to this song together once. It was the night that we were out together, in a public place, dancing in a room filled with strangers. Alcohol played on my lips, your hands nervously placed on my hips as they turned on the last slow jam of the night.
It made me laugh, the way your palms instantly got sweaty. How your eyes seemed to ask for permission when your words failed you – for the record, you never needed my permission.
I was in awe that you knew the words as you sang them into my ear.
You’d look at me, I’d look at you. We really were making memories of us.
7. That Don’t Sound Like You – Lee Brice
This was the song playing when everything seemed to change. We weren’t talking as much as we used to. But even in the spaces of silence, it was like a moment didn’t pass.
That night, I was grateful for the darkness that filled the room. I was glad that my expression was unreadable for you. I was glad that you couldn’t see my nails digging into my palm, leaving behind little crescent moons.
I was glad that you couldn’t see my eyes fill with tears as I blinked them away.
8. Fact-Fiction – Mads Langer
Months passed and we had stopped talking.
Then, there it was, the ping that was eternally yours on my phone.
A simple message, “download this, message me when you’ve listened to it.”
I told you the same – see the next song.
I played the song, the atmosphere in the room falling around me as the lyrics pierced my heart.
I was the fiction in your life. You were the fiction in mine.
Always coming close but never close enough.
It was always real though, us.
I hope you know that now.
9. I Can’t Love You Back – Easton Corbin
When I found this song I knew you had to hear it too. You provided the in.
An hour passed and neither of us had responded back to one another. I don’t know why it took you so long but this is why it took me so long:
It hit me then so fucking hard. As much as we both wanted all of it, the universe seemed to be pushing us apart – further and further by the minute. I couldn’t help it, you smirk kept playing on repeat in my mind. I was never good at pretending, I was never good at hiding my feelings. And then I blinked back the tears and started to type. I didn’t care about how long that message was, I didn’t care if you even read it all, I hit send anyways.
Little did I know that you had sent to me a message just as long, with the lines, “can I come get you?” at the very end.
10. Ride – Cary Brothers
I was obsessed with this song. Later, you were too.
“It’s somewhat depressing,” you noted.
“So,” I shrugged, ” you like it too.”
It’s kind of funny, how when you listen to a song with someone and it makes you think of something completely different from the moment you are in. It makes you think of your past – the ones that left, hurt, walked away. We always had this way of understanding one another, of the hurt that we both went through and the ways that it shaped us. Maybe that’s what drew us so close together from the very beginning – two puzzle pieces from two different puzzles, coming to find each other and ending up fitting so perfectly together.
Now, I listen to this song and the only person I think about…