I'm not in the habit of posting my projects here. It started out as teenage me being too insecure about their writing to share it with the world. I've had no lack of projects to post, but I haven't had the chutzpah to put them in a place they might be read. Adult me is equally insecure, but has the advantage of being slightly intoxicated.
This project is an exploration of memory based on a playlist.
I often associate specific songs very strongly with certain periods of my life. Songs are usually tied to periods in which I listened to them frequently and intensely, though not always. Listening to such songs now sometimes triggers flashbacks (in the psychological sense) in which I vividly recall past surroundings and re-experience the emotions of the time. It is this phenomenon that inspired the project associated with this forum topic: an attempt to express in words the way I experience memory. A set of stories associated with songs.
This project is a collection of flash fiction/microfiction pieces based on the memories and feelings that hit me when I listen to the music on my phone. They will not be in chronological order. They will be irregularly updated. There will be far too many U2 songs.
"Beautiful Day" - U2 || First Solo Trip
I have never been on a plane before, and I don’t know whether I’m excited or terrified or a bit of both. I have no idea where I’m supposed to be going or what I’m supposed to be doing; I watch the other passengers to keep from making any serious mistakes. Putting my backpack in the overhead bin sounds far too scary, so I push it under the seat in front of me as I fold up into my own seat.
It’s dark in the cabin; the sun is just rising outside. The plane starts to move. I buckle my seatbelt and watch the flight attendants’ safety presentation with great concentration. The plane turns and picks up speed. I breathe shakily, puy in my earbuds, look out the window. The person sitting next to me is thoroughly bored, flipping through the magazine the airline put in the seat-back pouch. I’m pretty sure I’m shaking, but he doesn’t seem to notice.
The plane lifts off on a song's crescendo. My heart is racing; this is the first time I haven’t been connected to the ground in some way. The plane banks. I can see Minneapolis below me, shrinking: the downtown skyline, the tangled roads, the ugly Brutalist buildings. We ascend farther, and light puffy clouds obscure the ground. The person next to me shuts the blind and leans back to sleep. I stay awake, taking in every moment of this adventure.
We land after far too short a time. It's grey in Indianapolis, raining lightly. Disembarking is chaotic - polite queueing doesn't make sense in an airplane. The inside of the airport is airy, with high ceilings and huge windows offering a panoramic view of basically nothing. I pull a printed map from my backpack, try to figure out where I am in relation to the bus station. The airport is small, and I realize I don't need the map. I put it away, walk through the clean quiet space to go wait for the shuttle I hope will come. A shuttle to a college town during spring break - not sure I can expect it to be running, but I'll be in trouble if it's not.
After some time, the shuttle does arrive. I fall asleep after a few minutes on the bus, wake up some time later to see a college billboard: "Fulfilling the Promise," cream and crimson. We must be getting close. The shuttle weaves through town; I regret agreeing to meet my friend at the second-to-last stop.
It occurs to me to wonder whether they'll even be there. Maybe it's an elaborate ruse. Maybe I'm not forgiven, and they're trying to hurt me. It would not be undeserved. I shred the map I'm holding without noticing.
"Your stop," the driver grunts as we pull up to an elaborate limestone building. I don't see anyone waiting outside. I get up and step off the bus, heart pounding. Maybe I was right. Maybe...
They step out from behind a pillar. "Hello."
"Hey," I reply lamely. "I -"
They step forward and pull me into a hug. "I'm happy you're here," they say.
"I'm happy, too," I whisper, and for once I mean it.