Back to blog
cassette tapes on the road
Share your work with family and friends!

The songs we loved, the ones that used to blare from her little 1986 BMW, didn’t make me feel safe anymore. The Beatles White Album was off limits, every song made me weepy. George Michael’s Faith was definitely a no go, it took me right back to the passenger seat next to her, barely able to peer over the dashboard, zooming up Marin Avenue in Berkeley. The sweetness of Elton John’s I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues could be catastrophic, sending me into a dark hole for the rest of the day, a hole with no mother, no security, no deep belly laughter and no future where I do not miss her, where my primary emotion is not sadness.

There was also the sound of the ocean, cold Pacific waves crashing on golden sand, that reminded me of the day we scattered her ashes into the water. We should have been cold and yet I felt nothing beyond loss, and wonder at the angel shaped clouds streaked above the crowd gathered to grieve and celebrate. This was the place she chose to move us to, though within a year she was gone. Now the waves crashed just for me. Now I couldn’t find her in those long flower printed dresses walking for hours on the sand. Now she would never age past 43.

Other sounds too, like American cheese melting on scrambled eggs, or seltzer water being poured from the dispenser. The sound of a slight Midwestern tinged hippy talking on the phone and the sound of big huge laughs against adobe walls. There were chanting sounds and Om sounds and ATM sounds and SUV sounds. The sounds of chiles roasting in Santa Fe and thunderstorms in summer on tin roofs. And I still have the sounds of her voice on a cassette tape, from TM teachings when she was 20 to an interview for a radio show at 40. I listen to them once a year to hear her breathing, feel a few moments of closeness. I can put on the tapes and, for a time, she is here and the sounds have been washed of some of their sadness.

Leave your comment...