All Again for You

Beach

Today, dressed up in designer drugs. Dedicated to the one I’ll always love, the one who really messed me up.
–       All Again for You, We the Kings

Do you ever hear a song that brings you back to a distant place and time? It may be a memory you had long forgotten about. But you hear that familiar tune – something that you forgot you had on your iPod or iPhone or computer or whatever – but you hear it, and it’s as if that memory took place just yesterday. Perhaps some of these memories you’ll recall fondly, some with bittersweet sentiment, and some will make you miss a person that walked out of your life years ago. It’s a blessing and a curse: our ability to remember. To recall memories so vividly as if they’re playing right in front of us on a television screen. The colors, the smells and scents, the sounds – it all comes rushing back. I myself had one of these moments yesterday when I hit the shuffle icon on my iPhone and the first song to come on made its debut in 2007: All Again for You by We the Kings.

The first five seconds are pure guitar, but I immediately froze as I soon as I heard the melody. So much so I nearly dropped my phone. I was paralyzed. I had not heard that song in years – I had completely forgotten about We the Kings, but now that it was playing, I couldn’t turn it off. I was like a junkie that had sobered up only to discover that plastic pouch of cocaine in an overly worn jean pocket. Just enough to get me hooked again.

It made me remember him – my first love. The man I felt physically addicted to. It’s been three years since we parted ways, and we’ve rarely spoken since then…

Memories I hadn’t even given a second thought about in so many years clouded my eyes and filled them with tears. Suddenly I was twelve years old again; when we first became friends – you’d call the house phone past 9 p.m. on a “school night,” my parents hated you even at that young age, but we stayed up while you would play songs for me on your acoustic guitar. I remember how excited and how happy you sounded – I can still see your blue eyes shining brightly, and I loved how I could hear you smile into the phone. You kept a soft spot for me, giving off such a tough exterior to everyone else, but you melted around me. And I easily melted for you. I was head over heels from the first phone call, and every single one after that.

I couldn’t sleep last night; I walked alone, on the beach where we always used to go, when we couldn’t hook up at home.

We grew up together – we fought, bickered, kissed here and there, flirted, held hands, and then one day we transformed from best friends to boyfriend and girlfriend. And you were still that rebellious kid with the boyish grin. And I loved you. And you would pick me up, telling me we were just going to your house, but then you drove us all the way out to Santa Cruz on a summer night in June, and we laid on the beach together until 5 a.m. My parents were furious, but the thoughts of your beer-laced kisses erased any worries I could ever have. You drew my name in the sand repeatedly as the waves ebbed in and washed it away over and over. You tickled my palm and pulled me on top of you as we dug our toes into the sand, and you whispered, “We are perfect together. One day you are going to be my wife.” My heart swelled, my eyes glistened, and I let the crackle of our bonfire and the crashing of the waves lull me to sleep under the stars with you.

I thought of you, and the time we jumped the fence. Pool-side, stripped down, we dove right in.

It was incredibly windy. We both loved baseball, so you decided a game was long overdue. Stuck on the bleachers, your arms could no longer keep me warm. You finished off my churro, and took my hand and lead me around the stadium, to the sections right behind home plate. Three sections of security to sneak past, but you had that look of determination in your eye. You waited until one guard wasn’t looking and ushered me past her. Two down. We made it past the second one, despite my incessant giggling. The last one was the hardest, especially since we had that gate blocking us. “He’s not looking – on the count of three…” “We are going to get in so much trouble.” “You worry too much – live a little.” That boyish grin of yours could get me to do anything. And so over we went. You had gotten us the best seats in the house for the price of forty dollars. Best seats, best memories. I will always remember that night with you.

I let you take the wheel and the driver’s seat. Strapped in, so you get the best of me.

Our second summer as a couple. I adorned one of your plaid shirts with a pair of jean shorts; I kept burying my nose into the collar of that shirt – I loved that it smelled like you. You, with your classic look, a backwards baseball cap and t-shirt. We drove with the sunroof open, side by side. Wind in my hair, a trickle of sweat traced down my spine, much like your fingers had done moments before. It was ninety degrees out, but you still knew the best way to give me goose bumps. I can’t remember where we were driving to; I just know that there was a country song playing and smiles in our eyes. The road seemed never ending – much like how I thought we would be.

We had it all in front of us, you were the one. I was in love. But you always hurt the one you lost.

I’m standing alone, trying to remember how to climb into my car and drive. Once again, paralyzed. All I wanted to do was root my feet into the ground and let the autumn breeze wash over me. Cover me with the falling leaves so no one could see me cry. I couldn’t have you see the pain in my heart that my face couldn’t hide. After over ten years of friendship, to have it end with a bitter goodbye. It was more than my broken heart could bear. I wasn’t just saying goodbye to you – I was saying goodbye to the magic we had, to kissing in the shadows of the refrigerator light, to those bright blue eyes, to that plaid shirt that smelled like you, to the masterpiece the two of us had so caringly built – I was saying goodbye to the guy with the boyish grin.

You were everything, that’s bad for me. Make no apologies, I’m crushed, black and blue, but you know I’d do it all again for you…

I swear I’d do it all again for you.

The music faded out. And just like my name in the sand, the paralysis I felt washed away.

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