The stories behind the songs

“I used to rule the world, seas would rise when I gave the word, now in the morning I sleep alone.”

My first boyfriend loved music and instruments. He believed that his Galitos milkshakes and ice-creams won me over but it was actually  If Everybody Cared by Nickelback. I still usually remember the look on his face as he sang it every single time I hear it. That is meant to be a good thing but you have to take into account that I was consistently thrown out from my primary school choir. In all fairness I was a baby fish in a musical micropond. Then again, you should not trust my musical opinion about the micropond. The guy used to call me every night with a new musical piece but I could not tell the difference between a guitar and a violin or piano piece, don’t roll your eyes. He clearly deserved a more musical companion and my poetry needed a softer landing. One day I will write about how come I did not learn any French.

Long before  my first heartbreak really hit me and I liked Fireflies by Owl City by heart I was hooked to Chasing Cars. All those evenings we stayed behind long after classes talking about how we were going to change the world and counting stars I could not even see. I read like I may never read again. It was then that I read Tom Clancy, Leo Tolstoy, Helen of Troy,  the Catcher in the Rye, All the President’s Men, Animal Farm, Aeneid, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, a lot of Shakespeare and a million biographies. Most importantly I discovered Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns and Chimamanda’s Half of a Yellow Sun, the two writers that changed my life. I grew up reading books but one day I will write about heartbreak by a book and the most important subsequent story. Six Degrees of Separation by the Script sums this up.

There was a time I hated hospitals then my doctor-turning-politician happened. I was avoiding going to the hospital because I had worn smelly shoes, judge me not. My dad is however one of those African fathers who only see the doctor if they think they are about to die but get so worried about very simple symptoms when it’s you. I normally say we met very late in the night and things ended the same way. I always thought doctors were snobs. I was panicking so I started ‘blubbering’. I told him I hated hospitals and we never stopped talking until last year, very many years after. I always imagined him growing old beside me. So after a million extremely high highs and very low lows and ons and offs I found myself with him in a car park after a doing a Karaoke together. He was saying things that I should have been more than happy to hear. In that particular moment I realized that after all these years we were never going to name our baby after the Nigerian footballer, we were never going to have a library as big as our living room and we would never have to fight over whether we would take our children to boarding school. Sometimes a man makes you feel like the world is yours for the taking, kisses you in the rain and when bad things happen  you have each other’s backs but it is also clear you could never listen to Forever and Always by Parachute and think of the other person and instead someone should be recommending Breakeven by the Script to one of you. You could write a million stories about him.

Next came Next. I was in this just-above-the-knee beige dress and dark brown flat shoes. To all the bad ‘ironers’ out there you should think about outsourcing before you destroy your most valuable clothes. I had held my hair in a high bun, long before I thought I needed a lip liner. I had gone to the dentist to clean my teeth months before it was due. I have a tendency of listening to a song I like for hours on end. The song of the moment was Blank Space by Taylor Swift: Oh my God, look at that face, you look like my next mistake….we’ll take this way too far…Next. This is the man who captured my heart, mind and dreams. I did not know I could giggle that much. He made me act like a girl, paint my nails and start wearing high heels like Demi Lovato in Heart Attack. Without noticing I had slowly I discarded all my vests, sweaters and khakis.  He had been saying hi a lot and he even joked that we had been running into each other a little too frequently. I almost knocked him over as I was running down the stairs one morning and he told to slow down, life was not that serious . Then one mundane morning it happened, the closest I have come to a movie moment, he looked into my eyes from across the room, this time neither of us looked away. This is a moment I wish I could have bottled up and frozen for posterity. If anyone ever looks at me like that again then I will not even think twice. I could say that it felt like he looked into me and everything was perfect and for those many seconds I was the most important person in the universe. I know I don’t read as much but all my great love stories have had something to do with a book. The rest of the details are just too interesting to be typed here but I think you can tell when you meet a good man. A book can definitely transform lives in interesting ways. A book can make you move out of home. This is one of the parts of my life I’m proud and grateful about, it was necessary but I have  also never felt this alive. Sometimes even awesome things should give way for the greater good and what is best for you. Love and war are so alike, you are never the same after. The one song that sums this up on one side, Jhene Aiko’s Spotless Mind:...Change is inevitable, did I really break your heart? Was it all my fault? You know like I know where this was headed…Turquoise seas and ocean breezes, loving you was nice, but it’s a new day, a new season…Shame on me for changing, shame on you for staying the same. A man can make you follow your dreams with such vivacity and also make you never forget him. As with most of my most important decisions, this blog and the need to share these personal stories was to a very large extent inspired by Next. I hope he still reads this blog. There are a million other songs that could define everything in my head.

Then there is Ai se eu te pego by Michel Teló. I like this song because it always reminds me of a dance-mate. If after all these stuff happening we could find things to laugh about then we are definitely the ultimate friends. I always hoped that I could have many friends like this. The ones who can dance with you, predict your moves and occasionally make fun of you. The one who left but stayed. The one that you feel easy around despite all the details you will both never bring up. He knows the real you more than many other people do.

Then I like songs like Handclap by Fitz and Tantrums or Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke that can get me out of bed at whatever time to dance. You get the gist. During slightly ratchet moments I could do Hotel Room Service and many other Pitbull songs. I love a diverse variety of songs, you could sample them.

My life is a little too sober now after making many hasty decisions and sometimes leaving my mind in heart matters and deciding on a break. I get the sobriety of Frank Sinatra, Asa, Kenny G and Coldplay but still like conventional artists like Thirty Seconds to Mars, Ed Sheeran and Chainsmokers.

I love to sing songs that no one has heard of before, that way I can never get the words wrong. I love music almost as much as I love hot afternoons in quiet and clean swimming pools. I love it when I can look up and see tall trees and imagine myself in some castle in a swimming pool the same way I hold my broomstick and imagine there is a large crowd waiting for my opera presentation. I hope that before the year ends I could do my opera voice to a more impartial crowd and ascertain its validity. Only that it has to be my own piece.

So I did this piece because someone asked about my favourite songs and the stories behind them. I ask the same.

What songs remind you of a place, a time, a version of yourself or a person who got away, came and went or stayed?


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