Stylized line drawing of mark playing the flute

The Soundtrack to Love

Jane and I fell in love to music.

We used to lay on the floor in my room or hers. We would talk about everything and there was always music playing.

There was Rites of Passage or Strange Fire (Indigo Girls).

There was Imperfectly (Ani DiFranco).

Later on, we would light candles and listen to Essential Junk (Cowboy Junkies). Soft, flickering light on the walls of Jane’s bedroom as Margo Timmins crooned Sweet Jane or Blue Moon Revisited.

In my room, we’d drag my mattress out from my bedroom to the floor of the common area to avoid my roommate’s snoring. I remember sneaking a furtive kiss after Jane fell asleep listening to Jesus Christ Superstar.

There were CDs everywhere. We each had boxes of mix tapes in our cars. Those mixes have inextricably tied songs together in my mind. When I hear Istanbul Was Once Constantinople (They Might Be Giants), I expect it to fade into U-Mass (Pixies).

Jane, as she did then, sings all the time. There are still some songs that I hear only in her voice. I hear these songs now, over 20 years later, and I am transported.

I am walking up the path to the Templeton Center building at Lewis & Clark and Jane and Susan are singing Darling Nikki or Alphabet St (Prince). Or we’re driving to Fred Meyer listening to Les MisΓ©rables.

So much has happened since those early days. We’ve learned how to live together. We’ve moved cross-country multiple times. We’ve had babies and dealt with the challenges of raising them.

There has been sadness and loss, fights and forgiveness. But there has always been love and kindness and compassion. We have been through a crucible together. We are still our own people but we have also been fused together.

I hear those songs and I remember the early days and I enjoy the nostalgia for that beginning time.

But mostly I’m grateful for the life we’ve built together. And how there is still music in it.