Almost every art class, I listen to the music of my peers.  Sometimes, I feel like forcing my music on them, “Here, listen to this enlightenment,” but I am scared.  When I do work up the courage to plug in my iPod, I become very defensive and shaky.  Once in a while, I will get a complaint to switch the song, but for the most part, everyone is quiet and I’m on edge.  Although I love to listen to “The Henney Buggy Band” by Sufjan Stevens while I am painting my projects, I do not enjoy wasting energy defending my favourite artists.  People do not understand me or my music.  Sharing my iPod is not a particularly pleasant experience.


Although I normally prefer my own music (and by that, I mean my favourite music), sometimes, another student will play some music that I can enjoy without shaking.  For example, one compadre (I like that word but I don’t know what it means but it seems appropriate) played the Arcade Fire once, and I was almost dancing in my pants all day.  My leg was twitching, kind of.  Another time, I swear someone was playing Johnny Cash.  I am not a huge Cash fan, but I can appreciate.  I smiled all class.  And then today, something interesting happened.  One of my fellow estudiantes played some intriguing music that I had never heard until that moment.  And it sounded very indie.  The voice sounded familiar, even if the songs did not.  In fact, upon thinking about it, the voice made me think of the Flaming Lips.  I bet it was the Flaming Lips, since I am not an all-too avid listener.  Anyway, I wanted to stand up and shout, “WHOSE IPOD IS PLAYING?!”  It would have scared the owner quite badly, since the two-dimensional tasteless boys at the table next to mine were yelling for a song change every five minutes.  And this art class is Design in 3-D.  Step it up, boys.  Anyhow, if the owner of the iPod had revealed himself (most likely a boy, since that class is swarming with them), I would have most definitely commended him on his superior music taste and then inquired as to the artist of the songs playing through the speakers over our heads.

But I didn’t.

Here is one thing I have learned from listening to other people’s iPods during art.  I listen to many, many female artists and I am not ashamed.  My peers may be incredibly open-minded enough to listen to many different races (including and probably limited to: Whites, Blacks, Latinos or whatever is politically correct), but they are the most narrow-minded when it comes to gender diversity in music.  At least as far as singers go.  Thus, whenever I make a new playlist that I could potentially play in art, I include many female voices to make up for those that other people exclude.

By the way, I hate it when people say “close-minded” to describe someone who is not open-minded.  The antonym of open-minded.  It sounds like you are saying “clothes-minded.”  You sound like a fool.  It’s “narrow-minded.”   Picture the mind as a stream.  It can’t really be closed.  It can just be constricted to let fewer ideas through.

The reason I am typing without contractions for the most part, in this voice with all my thoughts instead of in some funny voice to amuse you is because I am sad.  I tend to do that when I am sad.  And I am going to tell you why I’m sad because today, I was re-reading “The Shared Patio” by Miranda July today, from No one belongs here more than you, and this one tidbit really stood out.  It says:

If you are sad, ask yourself why you are sad.  Then pick up the phone and call someone and tell him or her the answer to the question.  If you don’t know anyone, call the operator and tell him or her.  Most people don’t know that the operator has to listen, it’s a law.

I have been the most monotonous person today, but I felt completely normal.  Other people, though, picked up on my deficiency of happiness and asked me what was wrong, and it wasn’t until I stopped to think if there was something wrong that I realized that I was sad.   I am almost always happy, no matter how silent I am.  But it made me even more sad that other people noticed, and not even me.

Well, I would call someone, but it is his sister’s birthday, so it would be a really short phone call and it would probably make him upset to know that I am sad.  So instead, I will say everything here.

The greatest reason for my sadness is that I miss Derek.  And I think that is quite natural.  He visited me this weekend, and I can’t think about it.  I never felt safer than when I fell asleep with my head on his chest while trying to watch SpongeBob.  And Travis was sitting there, too.  It makes me want to watch SpongeBob again, but I know that if I do watch it again, it will just disappoint me there because I won’t feel that comfort of Derek right there and Travis there, also.  I also felt safe in the car ride taking Derek back to the halfway point, when I fell asleep with my head on his leg and he was playing with my hair.  I wished I could have taken care of him as well as he took care of me.  And I kind of wish I always had someone to take care of me, to have my back all the time and play with my hair.

I feel like this numb, asexual being for the most part, about as attractive, unique, or interesting as a plain white wall.  Even the boys I date do not seem to be particularly attached or attracted to me, no matter how adamant I am about them.  It’s just those two or three days out of the occasional month that I regain the capacity to be loved, that I am loveable and adorable and beautiful, that anyone could see me as anything but wry and dry and plain.  It’s like I lose my ovaries for the better part of each month.  Even when I talk to Derek on the phone, I wonder why he would want to talk to me.  I have so little to say, but I guess we tend to express things less in words.  I had the hardest time this weekend telling him that I didn’t want him to leave, just because it felt so selfish when I ran it through my mind.

So I did not tell him.

Then when we were on the phone after he arrived back at his humble abode, he sounded so happy.  I get like that, too, though, when I get home.  It’s relief from homesickness and a return to normality–never at the fact that I was apart from him.  But it always seemed like he took my departure harder than I did, like a burden on the soul, but now I realize it must be the sensation of being left behind.  I tried to explain this to him, but I guess I couldn’t do it in words, so I gave up.  And I do not think I could convey how upset I was because I didn’t cry or anything.

This sadness leads to another one.  I feel like I am destroying the lives of young boys all over America.  Normally, when I date someone, I take time to get to know them and then I find that they are as distant and unattached as I am.  And that’s that.  They have a special place in my brain, depending, I guess, on how I treated them.  And Phelan has a special place in my heart as a friend, as does Brent.  But I feel like when I end it with a boy, it’s more of me being reckless, but I have never dated and dumped anyone who really needed me.  I have just dated and lost many people who I need.  And the one I was most reckless about was the one I needed the most.

But I suppose I feel guilty.  Because while most males fail to see how I treat them like shit, or do not reflect the ugly face I make at them, I am fairly certain that Brent had the clarity to realize that I was not acting as I should have, even when I did not realize it myself.  And if it wasn’t for him, I probably would have continued my serial dating spree with truly pathetic souls.  But Brent is not pathetic.  And I think that he instinctively played the game I was playing all along, and it sort of slapped me in the face and it made me realize, toward the end, what I was doing.  I was being a bitch.  And just because I had not gotten my period in two months did not grant me any extra-special right to be a bitch to everyone around me.  This last part of the realization came right after I got my period for the first time in two months.  All I can really do is beg for forgiveness, but now that I have been reunited with the capacity to shed the lining of my uterus, I cannot help but cringe at myself for being such a dumbass and want to make it up to him.  I am well aware that another shot at dating would not be fair, advisable, or nice.  Fair, because of the advantage Derek already holds over me.  Advisable, because I am a recovering serial dater.  Nice, because I have found that I take advantage of those who leave their hearts vulnerable for my scrutiny.  But perhaps a batch of cookies will patch things up.  At least I have found a true voice of reason through all of this.  We may have different opinions on authority, and I may have been saddened by the discouragement and negativity I faced while under his care, but I am certain that if I ever find myself in need, I can go to Brent for a good old consolation party.  Or just a hearty conversation in general.

And I guess that only leaves me one thing to be sad about.  This last thing is the simple fact that I will not be around to see my boys grow up.  And I mean Travis, Charles, Coleton, Torey, and Phelan.  They are freshmen.  I have almost known them for a year.  But I have to leave them soon, and I do not want them to forget me.  Because I will never stop waving at them in the hallways.

The Darjeeling Limited

Well, there is only one song I can give you today, but I can give you a bit of a story on it.  This Saturday, Derek and I watched The Darjeeling Limited around lunchtime.  The movie is about three estranged brothers who make a cross-country train trip in India in an attempt to reconnect.  It is a Wes Anderson film.  I love Wes Anderson films because they are timeless.

Hotel Chevalier

The movie is prefaced by Hotel Chevalier.  It is a short film labelled as “Part I” of The Darjeeling Limited.  And Jason Schwartzman from Phantom Planet plays our protagonist, Jack.  You do not learn his name until you watch The Darjeeling Limited.  Well, he is waiting for a woman in a Parisian hotel.  The woman is his ex-girlfriend, played by a bruised Natalie Portman.  And when she arrives at his hotel room door, he plays this ridiculous French-sounding song.  They act formal.  She snoops around.  Food arrives.  And then they have sex.

I could relate best to Jack.  The music, the height, the French.  Travelling.  Never settling down.  But I am terrified of commitment, and it seems that Jack is, too.  He has his one mainstay woman, the one he keeps going back to, the one with the most rickety relationship.  And he has all these other women he wants and eventually gets.  But the only one he loves is that mainstay woman, that Natalie Portman.  And those other women do not love him, either, so they leave him.  He just has them as a temporary drink of freedom, I suppose, and then he misses her and it shows.

Well, here is the song.

Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) | Peter Sarstedt

After I obtained this song, I added it to my iPod and I wedged my new earphones into my ears and I laid on my bed and I pulled the covers over my head and listened to this song loudly and I just cried.  But I love this song.

I’m sorry for being sad today.  Later this week, I will bring you happiness.  I promise, also, that I feel better after writing this down.

8 Comments so far
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Comment by w

Whoever you are, w, I could hug you. Since I am unable, however, I’ll just smile at you from the comfort of my room. I love that song and the video was just incredible. It made me feel warm.

Comment by indiechouette

i’m really sorry. i don’t quite know what to say, i’ve never been in such a situation, because as soon as i don’t interact with a guy in a long long time, i kind of stop caring. that, and i’ve never had a bf. but i luffeth you, and if you’re taking the nat’l french exam tomorrow, BONNE CHANCE. btw i bet you meant you wanted a guy who would do this, but in a purely platonic way, i will always have your back and more often than not will play with your hair obsessively. <3<3<3

Comment by divya

First of all, I’m sorry that you’re sad. But I do believe deep in my heart that a day of sadness is necessary for weeks of happiness. I believe in fate, I believe that things happen for a reason. So being sad happens in order to allow other, better things to happen.

Second, I have my own story. I’m not really sure what the situation is with Derek. It seems to be like he is your best friend from…Virginia, right? Richmond? I cannot remember. Anyway, something similar, maybe, happened to me.

I had met this guy at work a few years ago and I really liked him as you know, more than a friend. But as time went on, we just hung out and I realized that I didn’t really like him like that. But I did love him as a best friend; I got along better with him than I had ever gotten along with anyone. He also came at a time in my life that was difficult for me, and he saved me. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true. We became such good friends in such a short amount of time and it was almost as if I had known him my whole life, as if we had been friends forever. But the truth is that we were only really together (as only friends, of course) for a summer. And in that summer, I had better times with him and got to know him better than I had known anyone and he got to know me better than anyone had ever known me. He knew all my secrets, I told him everything that I was afraid to tell everyone else. He fell asleep on my lap and I played with his hair :) And he took care of me. I could call him at any time and he would always say the right thing in order to make me feel a thousand times better.

Alright, enough with the walk down memory lane.

Anyway, he left at the end of that summer (this was the summer before senior year). He went to Nashville for school. And then he got married this past January. And we don’t speak anymore. He called me the other day, and although my phone was sitting right in front of me, I didn’t answer. I didn’t know if it was my place to be speaking to a married man that I used to have a crush on. Someone that, once, I was so close to. But he left a message, something he used to never do and he knew that I hated that, saying that he was driving and listening to a CD and a song came on that we used to listen to all the time, and it reminded him of me. Music was our big thing, because he was in a band, that’s what brought us together, I suppose. We would spend our times together introducing each other to new music, defending our favorite songs.

After listening to his voicemail, I decided to call him back. This time, he didn’t answer and I didn’t leave a message. After all, I hadn’t spoken to him in months, since I ran into him the day after he got married at the grocery store. (He said, “Sara! I’m sad you weren’t at my wedding!” and it took all I had to say, “Yeah. I wasn’t invited, asshole.” — We used to make jokes about how I was going to be his best man.) A few hours after I called him, he called me back. I didn’t answer.

This was a long and confusing comment. It was basically just me venting about best friends lost.

I hope things go better for you.

Comment by wellwell

rilo kiley is coming to toads place richmond on june 8th (i believe)

Comment by +

Sara, your story has stayed with me over the past few days, and whenever I get really sad, I think about it, and in some strange way, it makes me happy to think about. It’s not the pain, because I imagine it must be painful to recount. I think it is the beautiful manner in which you retold it all, and the fact that it had a conclusion in the phone calls and your resolution not to answer when he called back. I think it’s that I admire your steadfast decision in not answering. In that even though you changed your mind and called back, you decided not to answer when he returned your call later. It’s noble of you, even if there’s no doubt that it’s just drudging up feelings of nostalgia and sadness. And I can relate that to the time, out of the blue, Derek told me he had a girlfriend. It was a crushing experience. But I guess it’s strangely comforting to know that someone went through the same thing around the same time.

Comment by indiechouette

+, that is two days after I graduate! I just bought a ticket. Or my mom did, actually. You’re my savior. Thanks for tippin’ me off.

Comment by indiechouette

Good to read about Peter Sarstedt. Singer Records has just released The Lost Album by Peter Sarstedt. This is a collection of great tracks that were never before released and were thought lost for many years

Comment by Ray

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