“There’s an echo in the wind
Makes me wonder where I’ve been”
The closest appliance to a time travel machine I’ve ever owned arrived in my mailbox today.
I sold my yellow Sony edition at a yard sale over a decade ago. This one is a gift from a friend who knows how desperate I’ve been for a portal back.
I popped in some AA batteries I had on hand (thank GOD) and chose a tape from the black vinyl portable cassette holder; a mixed tape whose destruction wouldn’t crush me if the Walkman accidentally ate it. SIDE B was a mix I copied in high school from my friend Rachel, kicked off by I Don’t Like Mondays, a song I used to blast in my car on the way to senior year of high school (not just on Mondays). SIDE A was the soundtrack to St. Elmo’s Fire.
I pulled out the cassette tape from its plastic case and popped it in the Walkman without much care.
I pressed play.
I wasn’t planning on going anywhere. I didn’t pack or leave a note. I just wanted to make sure the thing worked.
“All the years I’ve left behind
Faded pictures in my mind …”
I didn’t think I was going anywhere just yet, so I was pretty surprised to find myself in Thurston Hall at GWU in 1993; pretty surprised to see myself lying on a twin bed watching St. Elmo’s Fire on my white combination 18 inch TV/VHS player with Dayle and Erin and Stacia and Linnea. I know the power of music, and yet I was surprised that a collection of music I presumed held no emotional attachment over me, could suddenly sweep me back.
“So, we can be young and innocent
When nothing mattered but the moment we were in
Let’s shut our eyes and pretend
And maybe once again we can be young and innocent”
I really didn’t think I was going anywhere yet. Truth is, I wasn’t really thinking.
In that moment, I was just crying.
Tears of astonishment. Tears of gratitude.
To be swept away. To be 19 again. For Just A Moment.