I have a soundtrack to my life. You probably do too. Walking down the street with my headphones on gives purpose to the mundane and everyday. When I heard this song last summer, it sounded especially cinematic and made me think of those romantic build-up scenes in 80’s movies; running across campus in the rain, time is of the essence, etc.
I recently read that it’s a breakup song, but for the purpose of this piece, let’s ignore that.
I was home alone one night this summer, headphones on, sitting on the porch listening to this when the thought of my own 80’s sequence came to mind: New Year’s Eve 2011.
After five years of an on and off crush, something was changing with my friend Brandon. We’d hung out as friends the night before and things felt different. For one thing, we’d never hung out til 4am all alone before. He’d been texting me throughout NYE day, while I was bar-tending the Saturday day shift at Fuller’s Pub. He had a gig that night downtown, but really wanted to make it to Jess and Becca’s party later. He wanted to know if I would still be there late into the night.
Here’s where the 80’s synth montage comes in:
It’s 7pm and I’m closing the bar. (Fuller’s always closes early on NYE.) My hands are sticky from the Jager and Rumplemintz bottles I’d been pouring all day. There’s beer on my jeans. I’m buzzing, trying to figure out if this is all in my head: “Maybe he just wants to be like…BEST friends?”
I close the bar and haul ass across town to Roger’s Park, bust into Jess and Becca’s apartment and announce two things:
- Something is definitely happening with Brandon and he will be here later tonight
- That being said, I need to take a shower
On the other side of town, I imagine him deciding to put on that one spritz of expensive cologne that he uses only a few times a year. He put on a shiny navy blue shirt, that was actually kind of an odd choice, but he could have been in a leisure suit and I wouldn’t have cared. He dons his glasses, the old ones with the thick black frames. He straps his guitar onto his back and heads south to downtown, probably by bike, despite the sub zero temps. He plays a show with friends at a rundown house near the Gold Coast, drinks a few beers, and when he’s done, he hops on the north bound red line. It was nearly midnight.
Back in Rogers Park, my heart is racing and I have been reduced to the likes of a 16 year old Molly Ringwald. I’m glad to have our friend Mal in town from LA. I fill her in on everything. Becca thinks it’s cute, Jess is not surprised; she saw this coming a mile away.
Bran walks in, greets the dog first (as usual), meanders in, says his hellos, smiles awkwardly at me and gives me a half hug.
I wish I could tell you all of the things that happened at the party, but Belvidere vodka was involved and it was probably just a bunch of theater dorks trying to make each other laugh. At the end of the night, it was me, Bran, and Mal. She winked at me and headed off to bed. He and I stayed up talking on the futon. It was 5am. He kissed me. I said, “DAMN, BOY!” The rest is history.
Today is our last official dating anniversary, as we plan to put a new anniversary on the calendar in September. We have been dating for six years. It has been more romantic, more exciting, and more hilarious than I could have ever dreamed.
Happy anniversary, B. Thank you for making this love feel cinematic.