Maisonneuve | Fall 2005
Runner-up in ‘Sunshine on my Shoulders’
YOU HATE THAT SONG but you can’t turn it off. It churns up the same feelings as it did when you first heard it, but now it just makes you feel like throwing up. Those old thoughts of, ‘Holy shit, it can’t get better than this,’ are tinged by knowing full-well that you were right, it can’t, but that it sure can get worse.
You remember the first time he played you that song. You said, ‘It’s ok, but a little girly,’ but then as soon as he left you played it over and over again and sang along and clapped and finally you fessed up and told him you couldn’t get enough of it, that you loved the screaming parts, best screaming you’d ever heard in a song, and he smiled and said, ‘Yeah, it’s good,’ and it was good. It was so good.
That song makes you feel the warm summer air, even though it’s winter now and it’s been almost a year since you first heard it. You feel the freedom of not being able to find a job and not giving a shit about it, of being prepared to throw away the summer, to scrape by on no money, drop out of school and spend your time sitting next to him on his roof, not being able to stop giggling. Everything becomes an inside joke because there’s no one else to let in. You’ve never felt anything like it and you want to grab it and squeeze it and hold it so it’ll never leave, but you don’t because you’re afraid you’ll break it.
When the chorus kicks in, your stomach flips over in the same way it did when he told you he wanted to kiss you. It’s like your body only has a tiny inventory of possible reactions and it pulls out all the same moves all the time. It makes you feel like a million bucks just as easily as it breaks your heart.
This is the song that makes you fall in love with summer all the more. It brings back the first few weeks of it when you can wear flip-flops again, when the breeze stays warm until midnight. When you can’t fall asleep at night because you’re sweaty and turned on and too fucking excited. You smile into your pillow, stifle giggles that sometimes escape like dorky little squeaks. You toss and turn and stare at him sleeping there. Then finally, you wake up and he’s right there and it’s seven fucking thirty in the morning and the seagulls are screaming at each other and you can’t fall back to sleep, so you prop yourself up on your elbows and try to figure out how you can find your underwear without waking him up. He wakes up anyway, without making a noise, and yanks your elbow out from under you, and you fall back down and he grabs you and tells you that it’s seven fucking thirty and you should go back to sleep. It’s like a sauna in there and he opens the window beside his head and the birds’ screaming gets louder, wafting in with that summer air and you think, ‘fuck the underwear,’ and you want nothing more than to lie there indefinitely, smelling the morning, smelling him, feeling like your insides are going to shoot right out of you.
I hate that song. I fucking love that song.