Friday, October 18, 2013

love letters

Dear Em,
"I want a new life
And I want it with you
If you feel the same
Don't ever let it go
You gotta believe in the spirit of love
It'll heal all things
It won't hurt anymore..."
- Boyz II Men "On Bended Knee"

Someday (I hope) you will go to a middle school dance. If your experience is anything like mine was, you will stand in a circle with your girlfriends. It's possible that you will spend most of the dance in the bathroom with your girlfriends, half of you crying over what you won't even be able to remember twenty years later (it's funny how young hormones can make you feel like your problems are the biggest problems in the world, when really you probably don't even know what real problems are yet). But then you will hear the first notes to one of your favorite slow songs, & you might hope that a boy will ask you to dance (or you'll be brave & do the asking).

The year was 1995, & my favorite R&B group was Boyz II Men. My parents bought me the cassette tape to reward me for getting straight A's. I played that tape all day, & rewound & played again. I can remember slow dancing to the songs from that tape.

Last weekend I got to see Boyz II Men in concert for the very first time. Listening to their songs brought me back to those middle school dances. It brought me back to walking up to a boy to ask him if he likes one of my friends (circle yes, no, or maybe). It brought me back to my childhood home (or at least the home I experienced more of my childhood in than any other home). It brought me back to calling our favorite radio station to dedicate songs to our friends & our crushes. It's been ages since I've listened to their music, but I sang right along, the words & melodies never really leaving my heart.

It was awesome...but it was also a little bit sad.

This was a group who had been big, I mean BIG big. They set records for hit songs that have yet to be broken. And there they were, on a small stage, at a small venue, with just one screen. At one point, none of their lips were moving but I could still hear the words to their songs. They were playing the vocals to their songs over the speakers?

And there were a lot of...well...older women, getting a little bit rowdy to the gyrations of Boyz II Men's hips. And then it hit me. Am I an older woman too? Surely it was just yesterday that I was in middle school. If I was middle school me, would I be embarrassed to see me rocking out with the other older women? Would my middle school me think that I was totally lame? Sigh.

It won't stop me from jamming to their music in private. I downloaded their albums to my iPhone & you & I have been rocking out in the car ever since. Most of the songs are probably a little too slow for your taste, but one day when you're in middle school & you're hoping that a boy will ask you to dance, you'll understand.

I love you so,

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