Wednesday, September 20, 2017

You are here and warm, but I could look away and you'd be gone

One of my favorite love songs is Bob Welch's "Sentimental Lady." I love the simple but playful lyrics, and the song's melody pulls me back to a decade that exists only in my earliest of memories, completely buried beneath everything that has happened since the 80s.

I can't recall the first time I heard "Sentimental Lady." I'm sure I heard it many times on the bus, in the endless bus rides I've taken since I ventured out of Las PiƱas to go to a university in Manila, then to a different one in Quezon City, in the heavy traffic of the MRT and Skyway construction. This song is a favorite among bus drivers, for sure.

I'm quite certain I didn't hear it first from my friends. None of my close friends, the ones I spent a lot of time with, listened to Fleetwood Mac or Bob Welch. Maybe I first heard it from my father? He probably sang it on videoke, and so terribly, that summer in the 90s he brought our first VCD/CD player home.

Some songs have stuck with me and they have their own stories that I can recall clearly. This song, it just feels important and as to why, this is all I have: One particular day, I heard it on the bus. The timing was perfect, something significant was happening, and I told myself: When you hear this song again, this is the moment you will remember.

Now, here's what I actually remember. I was traveling and had just had a happy moment where I felt that I had "all of the things that I said that I wanted ... fourteen joys and a will to be merry."

Maybe I was with someone I loved or came to love. Or maybe I did something for the first time. I'm sure I understood that I would never have that moment again, so as soon as the song played and I thought it so apt, I tried to commit it to memory.

But I have a lousy brain for recollection.

If I can't remember the exact thing that happened, it must have been a small event in the grand scheme of things, big only to me in a moment. I imagine now that it is equal in significance to a first sunset, shooting star or even a root beer float. But at that time, I was in the center of its magnificence and I was so certain I would always remember.

I guess, in a way, I do. When "Sentimental Lady" plays on the radio, it still serves as an anchor, more to sentiment than specific detail. I had something good and I lost it, but what was essentially good remained. That thought still warms me.