Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Summer of 69

Copy the above link and paste it in another tab. Listen to it while you read this. 

In school, when I was fifteen, this song came out with a bang and took us all by storm. It was the purest musical expression of the convoluted stream of indescribable gut wrenching emotions of loneliness, joy, infatuation and whatever else fell into the soup that informed my sensibilities.

Right! The same confused feeling you just got from reading that!

The things we wanted for ourselves were the dreams that either propelled us or were decimated by those who showed us the grim realities. The one thing you hold on to even till the end of your days are those dreams and your sense of regret for not having fulfilled them. Those dreams are never so strong; those emotions are never so fatal or powerful as when we were young.

This song always pushes me near tears...I know these words even in my sleep. We all sang this in the rain, in the dark at a house party once when there was no electrcity...What I wanted then and the reality now..." you told me it would last forever..."

I admit it! There was a girl I really thought I would love till the end of my life. I would dream of her endlessly. You know the feeling. She, of course was totally oblivious to this. Skinny little guy with no car or job, still in school with a half baked male voice. What could I give her? What would I say to her if she ever spoke to me? I didn't have a clue. Ignorance is not bliss. It's torture!

Often, I'd fantasize about where I would take her once I get my car, what parties we would go and what I'd do to make her fall ever so deeply in love with me. I actually learned to surf among other things to impress. (Colin got me some nice deals on used boards which Richard taught me to pay for by  cutting people's lawns for money)

I'd marry her some day.

And then, when John Charles went up to her to tell her I wanted to say something to her...Boy did I freeze! I'm sure you know that feeling too. 

I'm being honest here. I love my life and entertain no regrets. But there's an imperishable flame that  gets hidden and only comes out and disturbs the very fabric of my being once I hear this song. You think you have composure until something comes and resets you back to ZERO. The ghosts of " could have and should have " still haunt these walls. What if I actually spoke to her?

When you're 15, according to Taylor Swift, you give up everything for someone who has changed their minds...or something like that. The pain is excruciating.

" Cause when you're 15, somebody tells you they love you
You're gonna believe them"

When you tell yourself you're in love with someone, you're going to believe it and fall real hard.

That was one of the most frightening feelings I ever experienced - To mindlessly hand over your emotions to someone. I feared that with my life! and yet, I was reckless enough to let it all happen. Many heartaches later...

Back then you show that you're invincible and go home every day to secretly cry your heart out after having endured another day of callous emotional beatings from those you think should know better. But guess what! They were just as vulnerable as you were then and didn't have a clue that they might have caused you pain.
I wish someone told me that back then. It would hurt less. 

Back to the song. I guess nothing lasts forever.

" ... when I look back now
The Summer seemed to last forever,
And if I had the choice
Yeah - I'd always wanna be there
Those were the best days of my life. "

And to think about it, they really were. I mean, we were allowed to say anything, do anything and it would be passed off as the folly of youth.We partied like hell! We loved without end. Our friendships from that time were eternal and still are. 

With time of course, you hoped you'd outgrow those desires and dreams. But they still come back to haunt and unsettle me every time. I don't think I've ever let them disappear into the dark halls of distant, faded  memory.I can't. 

Those were the best days of my life...

The song also reminds me of one very important thing. That I know how to love unconditionally.

There was a reckless daring about us all that would give us the stones to throw everything in the ring. That's why we end up in so much fights, why we defend each other to the hilt, why we fell in love so heedlessly.  Loyalty was paramount. You picked your friends and stand by them for life I suppose.

So many embarrassing memories, so many triumphant moments that you'd never give up. But you come through all of it with a few important life lessons.

If I only knew what some of them were! Just joking.

Looking back now at that "summer" that seemed to last forever and I know now that I'm always there; that my recklessness in giving myself over to someone else will always be a part of me, that my deep seated capacity to love unconditionally still burns bright; that there will always be the impulse to keep on dreaming, that I love my guys ( no gay moment here!) without being afraid to say it, that I yearn to see them nearly all the time because they were my home when I'm not at home. That's what your buddies are. 

The first time I recognised that emotion is so strong that it overthrows your mind was when I heard this music. Bryan Adams knew how to tap into my hidden secrets. He will be forever my favourite musician and singer. But that's not the importance of the Summer of 69. 

Nope! It's the yearning you have for a return to your most carefree moments. A desire that never dies. It propels you into the flame without care. Wisdom comes with age? Bullshit! I'm still on uncontrollable fire. 

Maybe now I know that time is a healer of heartbreak, of betrayals...that's the wisdom that comes with experience. But pain is pain and heartache is as palpable as it was then. 

This time however, with age, I'm not so afraid. I'd go headlong into the abyss in a heartbeat.

I'd give it up for nothing. 

Those were the best days of my life...