I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster over the past month. I’ve had two childhood friends die, been lied to by friends, and haven’t had enough sleep. It’s all been bumming me out, and while I like my shrink, I can’t afford $175 a pop every time I start crying while watching a video of a cute animal on The Dodo. I wish I could talk to my mother.
The other day, headphones on, I was walking around the market trying to figure out what cereal to get (they were out of Count Chocula). I was listening to one of my favorite Badfinger songs, “Day After Day”. It’s a melancholy masterpiece that always kicks me in the gut. But in a good way. So, I’m grooving to Badfinger and I notice a guy staring at me. I turned off the song and stared back, expecting some form of sexual harassment and then having to give him a verbal beat down. All of a sudden I hear the calliope-like melody of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” piping out of the store loudspeakers. I started smiling and singing along and the guy walked away. I guess that song is a real boner-killer.
I continued down the aisle and decided on a box of Alpha-Bits (on sale!) as I remembered laughing with my mother in the car, years ago. She thought the chorus was, “They test the water” instead of “They just wanna” – I remember both of us howling with laughter as she pulled the car in the driveway and blasted the song to prove her point. We were both in tears, trying to catch our breath as she parked the car.
It was good, thinking of my mom. I laughed and sang even louder, cracking up, remembering her and the song. I turned down another aisle and heard a voice singing along with Cyndi and me. I smiled wide because the voice was coming from one of my neighbors on my block. She’s a really nice Black woman who is about how old my mother would be if she were still around.
We looked at each other, started giggling, and both shouted the chorus, “THEY JUST WANNA, THEY JUST WANNAAAA! at the top of our lungs. As we walk by each other we simultaneously raise our hands and high-five each other. Just after, I burst into tears and cried my way through the long checkout line, and then all the way home.
My mother left this mortal coil twenty years ago this February. I miss her something awful every day. She was amazing. We cracked each other up all the time. Goddammit I miss that.
Now I wanna listen to some Badfinger.
I wish I could afford my Shrink today.