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Saturday September 23rd 2017

Taylor B’s Beat: February 2014

Where are you now?

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, or Singles’ Awareness Day as I prefer to think of it now, I usually write about love songs for the February issue of OKIE. The prompt from my editor was “songs that make me think of you, and I can’t stand it.” However, I cannot recall the last time I thought of you before this month, with or without music.

I do not regard you in an adolescent “I Hate Everything About You” way, via Three Days Grace. I do not recall you in a sense of “Lately” by the Helio Sequence, in that I claim to not think of you but in reality I pine for what we had. I do not remember you in a hazy “Thinkin Bout You” by Frank Ocean manner.

Like Norah Jones in “Don’t Miss You at All,” I just do not miss you at all.

In every significant breakup, there remains a sort of custody battle, some with greater stakes than others. You laid claim to the Netflix account; I kept all of the music.

It was simple, really. You always preferred your documentaries and sci-fi, and I reached for my headphones when the narration grew too dull. As such, there were no CDs or records to claim from one another’s places. You kept the mixtapes I made for you, as I had no use for them. The songs had been played out by then.

You had a penchant for world music, especially Bollywood scores. Even then, you never found an appreciation for Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A., even when she covered “Jimmy” from some spectacle of a disco classic. You enjoyed listening to National Public Radio on the morning commute and on the way back home. I cannot recall the last time I heard Ira Glass’ voice.

Admittedly, there are three songs which still bring you to mind without fail. “You and Tequila” by Kenny Chesney featuring Grace Potter is more or less how we ended: “one is one too many; one more is never enough.” What we craved was what we had, not what we had before us. We had too much of each other but we remained thirsty.

The second is a cheesy classic we both adored: “I Will Always Love You,” as originally performed by Dolly Parton on the Jolene album. Even though our split was amicable, we managed to find ourselves at our throats in the subsequent months. We were still full of that same heavy feeling, even as it depleted.

The third and last one is the final song I left with you: “Your Hand in Mine” by instrumental rock band Explosions in the Sky. In the Friday Night Lights soundtrack version that features an additional symphony, the mood is set for the climax about to take place, or the movie about to end. We knew what was happening long before the first echoing note.

You asked me to look you up when you moved on to the next major city, though we both knew I would most likely never have reason to set foot in those city limits. In this moment, I am led to wonder what you may be listening to in your car these days. I am playing an old favorite of mine – American Football’s self-titled album.

“So let’s just pretend/Everything and anything/Between you and me/Was never meant.”

I may think of you one last time while I play it again, but I will not like it. Maybe then I will understand my prompt.

Taylor B, an Army Brat via Fort Sill, could drink a case of you and still be on his feet.