Four years ago, Sawan and I were getting ready to go on our annual fall foliage aspen viewing drive and he bought a CD of Jackson Brown. It was “The Next Voice You Hear.” There was a particular song on it that he wanted to hear, that used to be one of his favorites, that reminded him of a particular season of his life. He played it, and I’m not even sure anymore, but I think the song was “These Days” but it could have been “Fountains of Sorrow” (and it really bugs me that I can’t remember). Either way, as he listened to the words he marveled at how different life was now. I knew that the song for him was about another woman, but I didn’t ask. I knew he’d tell me eventually if he wanted to talk about it. We never did.
But we listened to the whole CD. It’s a great album. I remember exactly where we were in Deer Creek Canyon when certain songs came on, what curve we were rounding when “The Pretender” was playing. It was a great day and a great memory.
Last Wednesday, I went to see Jackson Browne live with my parents. It was one of those enchanted evenings that are hard to put into words. We had front row seats. The opening band ended up being two thirds of Nickel Creek, one of my old favorites, and they played some new stuff that was so good that it felt like I had been to church, like she had seen my heart and written a song for me.
|Me, Mom and Dad at the Paramount, 11/14/12|
I seldom ever feel Sawan near me anymore. I have seldom felt it at all in my widowhood, actually. I am learning to allow myself to lose the tug of war with his memories, learning that I cannot remember every detail and that I have to let him go. I can no longer remember the details of what his body looks like, what he smelled like, for months I have not been able to remember what his fingers felt like in mine.
But on Wednesday, with Jackson’s sweet voice singing, I felt Sawan there with me so strongly. I felt like he was next to me. I looked to my right and felt like I could see his left hand, with his ring on his finger, and felt his fingers interlaced with mine.
And then, Jackson played this song, for the encore, one I had never heard before. It’s not all entirely relevant, but it felt like it was for me, about Sawan, and I felt like we danced together. (They were filming and broadcasting it live, so listen to the first song, and then watch for my mom and dad and me at 5:07, no need to watch after that unless you’re a big fan of “Rock Me On the Water.")
Here’s the lyrics:
Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down
I don't remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must have thought you'd always be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you're nowhere to be found
I don't know what happens when people die
Can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It's like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
That I can't sing
I can't help listening
And I can't help feeling stupid standing 'round
Crying as they ease you down
'cause I know that you'd rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away