Kristan Hoffman - Writing Dreams Into Reality
Wed May 21 2014

Some memories live in music

It’s funny what you remember and what you don’t. Like, why did Angie and I decide to drive around and take photographs of fancy houses? I have no idea. But I remember sunlight streaming through the windshield, and the weight of the old Nikon around my neck, and Natalie Imbruglia’s voice lilting over the speakers.

That day, that day, what a mess, what a marvel…

We parked in front of a two-story behemoth, all white stucco and Spanish clay. The high-arching trees of Tanglewood threw dappled light onto the road and across our bare arms. Our shoes shuffled down the sidewalks, skipped over puddles of yesterday’s rain. We photographed ourselves in the water’s murky reflection.

Every secret shared… Why do I drink the feelings dry?

My broken heart was finally mended. I had time, distance, perspective — and now a handsome friend texting me flirty messages. Angie’s heart was more freshly torn, and I ached for her. But we were together, muddling through the humid day, talking and not talking about the things that had hurt us so.

Everything wrong gonna be all right, come September…

This neighborhood seemed like a good place to dream about the lives we would lead someday. Safe behind wrought iron gates, happy in high-ceilinged homes. It was the future, full of possibility, still tinged with the past. The first boy I had seriously crushed on lived down one of these streets. Flame-colored hair, sea-colored eyes.

Tie a silver ribbon around the pieces that remain…

When we finished our rolls of film, we got back into the car and drove away. With the windows down, I let my hand float outside, fingers buffeted by the air. We sang at the top of our lungs.

Later, most of the pictures would turn out to be crap. Some memories can’t be developed in a darkroom or preserved behind plastic.

We slid the 4×6 prints into photo albums anyway.

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10 Comments
  1. T. S. Bazelli says:
    Wed May 21 2014 at 11:24 AM

    It’s amazing what things trigger memories. A smell or a sound sometimes, or just the light on a particular day.

    I always love your vignettes :) Thank you for sharing.

  2. Kristan says:
    Wed May 21 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Aahhh now I’m wishing I’d included the day-after-rain smell of the wet leaves and the mowed grass… Ah well. :P

    Thank you! Sometimes I don’t know what these vignettes are all about… Most of the time I don’t really care. I’m just writing to get it out, and hoping that people enjoy!

  3. Shari says:
    Wed May 21 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Oh, I love this. Sometimes I think memories like these are the most important — the smaller, quieter ones that still leave a handprint on the heart. And isn’t it beautiful how music can create such a special soundtrack to our lives?

  4. Kristan says:
    Wed May 21 2014 at 6:06 PM

    Agreed! And yes, haha, I love how songs can transport me to different times and places and feelings. (Which is why I’m so excited for your songwriter story!)

  5. Juliann says:
    Thu May 22 2014 at 11:27 AM

    I love your word choices and descriptions in this. “Buffeted,” “Flame-colored, sea-colored,” etc.

  6. Kristan says:
    Thu May 22 2014 at 2:22 PM

    Thank you!

  7. Krispy says:
    Thu May 22 2014 at 5:39 PM

    Oh Kristan, I loved this! You captured so well what that day was like, even if maybe your photos didn’t. And yes, I totally agree. Music can be so grounding, a strong link to a time and place.

  8. Kristan says:
    Thu May 22 2014 at 7:52 PM

    Thanks, Krispy! Haha, I wish I had some of those photos to share with the post…

  9. Anthony Lee Collins says:
    Fri May 23 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Music does stick in the mind (though I believe there have been studies which show that smell is the sense most closely tied to memory).

    I recently listened to an album I hadn’t heard in years, and there was a song I didn’t remember at all. Only, as I was listening to it, I remembered every word of the lyrics. So, I must have been really into that song at some point, though I don’t remember it at all now.

  10. Kristan says:
    Fri May 23 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Lol that kind of thing has happened to me too. I’ll swear to Andy that I’ve never heard a song before, but then when the chorus comes on, I’m suddenly singing along!

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