Before reading this piece, I advise that you listen to the music linked below. Close your eyes, don't focus on the video. And once the final sighs of the song play, begin to read...
We had an hour left to drive when I turned on the playlist I had been crafting for this much awaited day. We drove through the lush green mountains and opened the sunroof to feel the new sense of freedom in the wind. Only a couple of hours earlier we were sitting in stiff chairs as the starchy headmaster announced the graduation of the class of 2015. I looked at Jake as he drove with one hand surfing the breeze out the open window. We drove around the side of a mountain and on the other side was the most breathtaking view. The song that was on comes to an end and for one brief, silent, moment we stare in awe out across at a wrinkled blanket of mountains, lakes and forests. Then, Lianne La Haves starts to whisper "Elusive" to me through the speakers.
The first sounds of the song are simple vocals "ahh, ahh". It is such a subtle sound that comes and goes, like passing a woman wearing sweet perfume. Some days when I listen to the song, I hear nostalgia in her "ahh"s, as though La Haves is remembering a romantic gesture. And on other days, I can hear her "ahh" as though Haves is letting out a long sigh before confessing the complexities of her relationship. But on this day, her "ahh" is like the Mona Lisa's smile, still mysterious and undefined.
Now the bass, then drums, and eventually the rest of the jazzy instruments have joined in a soulful rhythm that makes you want to close your eyes and sway. One solo clap can be heard throughout the song. This clap often feels like an interruption to the smooth groove that the rest of the instruments set but for some reason it makes me smile. The lone clap reminds me of that one single, middle aged woman who always sits at the back of the church but can always be heard calling out or clapping “amen”. I look at Jake as though for the first time as the chorus collides into an epiphany. He... is in his own world that is so different from mine but yet they stand parallel to each other.
La Haves sings...
He's elusive and I'm awake
Defiantly real, there's nothing fake
A mystery now to me and you
Open my eyes and I'm next to you
He says my destiny
Lies in the hands that set me free
No truth had ever been articulated so well and in such perfect timing until this day. Almost as though the song had synchronized with my life. Jake looks over at me and holds my hand. His entire demeanor is radiating a calm aura. Elusive. And I sit here, with all six senses wide awake. I can feel the contradicting forces among our current existence. "There's nothing fake", we are completely ourselves around each other but yet he is still so often a mystery to me. La Haves sings again "He says my destiny, Lies in the hands that set me free" and Jake's fingers tip toe along my wrist. All of a sudden his touch feels foreign to me. For a split second, the past six months disperse and he is nothing but a stranger.
I often refer back to this memory of the trip intertwined with the song. It was a moment of clarity. We were both at peace and in love. But yet I can't help and relate to this underlying "ahh". One of uncertainty. A persistent ping that keeps me awake and outside his elusive star crossed world.
WRITTEN SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 (AGE 18)
Photo by @markusspiske