I’m working on a new fiction novel. I’ve been consumed by it every night for nearly a month now, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever written before and I’m really excited about it.
I sat down tonight to hopefully crank out another few thousand words, and my iTunes shuffled out a ditty from Bob Dylan.
I stared at the flashing curser on my computer screen, unable to complete the sentence that I was working on before Dylan came on. I could do nothing but stare, in silence, as his chords of D and G and his raspy voice came through my headphones. I couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down my face as I was taken back to my living room many years ago when my mother and I shared a loveseat and played that very song together on matching Yamaha acoustic guitars.
My mama and daddy made a lot of music together. My mother’s voice harmonized well with his unmistakable sound as they strummed those same matching Yamaha guitars. Some of my most prized possessions are the cassette tapes that I have of them singing and playing together. Occasionally you can hear my kindergarten voice interrupt them and ask for a Flintstone Push-Up from the freezer.
I’m incredibly thankful that I was smart enough to record my mother and I playing instruments together– both guitar and piano. In the moment that we made music and shared so much joy and laughter, I knew this season in my life would one day come. I knew that one day she would be gone and I would cherish those recordings of us– just as I cherish the recordings of her and my father.
As Bob Dylan sang into my headphones, I felt terribly alone. I’ve experienced this loneliness countless times in the 14 months that my mother has been dead. I’m no stranger to the sinking feeling that I’m unanchored to this world with both of my parents now gone. But tonight, it hit me stronger than it has in quite some time.
I don’t have anyone to sit on the loveseat with me and play Bob Dylan anymore. I don’t have anyone to tell me to scoot over on the piano bench and flawlessly play Pink Floyd’s, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” I don’t have two cool and insanely talented parents to interrupt and request a popsicle while they are jamming in the living room.
Thank God I have recordings of those fond memories, but I am certainly missing making music with my mother this evening. And I’m missing the sounds of she and my daddy making music together. Our band only has one member left.
One man band.