Bittersweet isn’t so bad when it comes from your mp3 player

Stumbling on memories of old friends unexpectedly is often like cleaning out the fridge – usually they’ve spoiled and all you can do is wish you’d finished the meal before it went bad. Every now and then though you find some penicillin. I found mine this morning.

I was putting together music suitable for picking up my boss from the airport tomorrow and ended up listening to Counting Crows. During the Spring of 2003 I drove to Ohio to take an old friend’s extra ticket to see Counting Crows because his girlfriend dumped him. That friendship and the ones I formed after that trip are usually what come to mind, every bitter and sweet part of learning to take charge of adulthood.

Later that Spring though Counting Crows came to Stevens Point and I went to the concert with my boyfriend and his best friend. It wasn’t the shitty boyfriend I thought of but his friend (whom I’ll call Rat) and probably one of the most tender and honest times I’ve ever had with someone.

Rat and I became very close after a domestic incident with the loser bf and unexpectedly he became a buoy in the stormy sea I’d capsized into. Slowly we got to know each other, we talked about our lives, we had our own little nerd haven of anime, D&D, Lord of the Rings, Counting Crows. There are two distinct moments I remember and together they are the most perfect example of bittersweet in my life.

The sweet moment was a kiss under a tree during a midnight trek through Scmeekle Park looking for zombies. It was the brief perfect culmination of the early part of courtship. I won’t say that no other kiss ever compared to it, but it was a first and it was perfect.

The bitter came to a head nearly a year later when I realized I had to give that up. Rat had spent a semester abroad and I’d gone to Minnesota for school and he came to visit me when he got back just before finals. I let him stay in my tiny studio apartment and he drove me home for winter break. I wanted to try and build on the connection we’d had that summer but Rat (gently) made it clear that although he enjoyed my company there was no hope for a relationship. I haven’t thought about it in ages but this morning I caught a whiff of the pungent minute when I told Rat “I like you too much to pretend that I don’t.” He was shirtless, stretched out on my floor and I was immune to his charms but somehow this perfect little burp came out and saved us both.

Such is the history of a woman who’s made a life out of following her passions. Part of that life MUST be knowing your limits so you can avoid getting in over your head. Sadly this heartbreak wasn’t a first and it wasn’t the last, but somehow it was fulfilling in the end.

There’s no need for any more surprises today, I think I’ll stick to a Maroon 5 CD tomorrow.

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Categories: getting old, reflection | Leave a comment

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