Listening to the Soundtrack

I hurt myself today.

It was the first time in quite awhile that I’ve needed a bandage.

I think I’ll live.  All that is left to show it happened is a one eighth inch wide hole in the side of my finger and the memory of the instantaneous pain when the drill bit snapped and the broken stub twisted into my flesh.  The pain is gone for the most part, but in that moment, it wouldn’t have helped to know that it was only going to hurt for a little while.

I’ve heard that before.

It only hurts for a little while.

You’re humming again, aren’t you?

Why does that happen?  I wrote the first line of this little essay and couldn’t help but hear the voice of The Man in Black mumbling the words.  Then, when the line about hurting for a little while was wrenched from my fingers and fell on the page, the tune changed and I heard the Ames Brothers and their sweet harmony right out of the fifties.

Perhaps I’m the only one who hears the music.  I may be the only one in the world with an internal jukebox playing–the selections made indiscriminately and at odd intervals (no quarters necessary).

I don’t think that’s true, but it’s possible.

Do you hear the music?

Funny.  In my head, the soundtrack starts with various stimuli–words, images, even voices–but for some reason, there is almost always a movie that plays with the soundtrack.

Someone tells me that a picture paints a thousand words and I hear the soaring voice of David Gates and his group Bread singing If, from the seventies.  But almost instantly, the scene shifts and I’m walking beside an irrigation ditch near my childhood home, singing those same words to a girl who is not there and who doesn’t even know I exist.

It happens all the time.  I don’t know why, except that our memories are strong triggers for emotions, both happy and sad.  Music is an integral part of our lives, the soundtrack being recorded and played back through all of our years.

Do you hear the music?

I said that I hurt myself today and heard that Johnny Cash song, dark as it is.  The song speaks of someone who hurts himself purposely, just to see if he still feels.  My thoughts didn’t stay on my injury, but I saw in front of me a customer whom I have befriended.  Maybe he befriended me.  I can’t remember.

The first time I saw the man–we’ll call him Rocky–he was a mess.  Oh yeah, the clothes were in disarray, and his hair was untidy, but the mess part–that was his arms.  He had five or six cuts on each forearm, one beside the other, like bloody soldiers standing in formation.

The knife didn’t slip and do that.

That doesn’t only hurt for a little while.

I never said that the movie playing with the soundtrack was funny.  Or happy.

Before he left that day, he had gotten one more thing than what he came in to purchase.  I gave Rocky a hug.

I don’t know why.  I’m not a hugger.  But, he needed a hug.

He may have cut himself to know what it was to feel, but I wanted him to know there were other things in the world to feel besides pain.

Rocky came in again yesterday.  All smiles.

No cuts anywhere.

He finished his business.  Gave me a handshake (he knows I’m not a big hugger).  Told us he loved us and walked out the front door.

He’s not fixed.

But, he’s working on it.  There is hope.

Funny.  From out of the blue, I hear a raspy voice singing.

“…and I say to myself, What a wonderful world.”

I’m starting to like this soundtrack.

“They make songs to the instruments of music, and are glad at the sound of the pipe.”
(Job 21:12 ~ BBE)

“Music is the soundtrack of your life.”
(Dick Clark ~ American radio/television personality ~ 1929-2012)

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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