Sometimes, being trapped inside and distanced from the world, with all of the other worries you may have on your plate, leads you to wander back to darker times.
I first heard this song back in 2001.
I'd left the east coast in the early days of the year, to move back to Ontario. My mind and body were broken. I couldn't write anymore. I was numb, to most things. When I wasn't doing shift work, I occupied myself with non-prescription sleeping pills and pint glasses of Jameson in a prayer for dreamless sleep. I was nowhere near close to being ready to address the trauma in my life or the damage I'd done to others over the past few years. I was trying to build a life and move on, but everything showed to the outside world was what I thought I should be, instead of who I was.
I recall walking through a near-empty mall, perhaps a week after September 11th. There was a pair of televisions in the middle of its atrium: an unmanned kiosk, advertising cable packages. Footage of the tragedy in New York City played repeatedly, in silence, as CNN chyrons raced to the edge of the TV displays. A nervous-looking Sikh father ushered his wife and young children through the mall. I didn't feel a single emotion over any of it. I remember being disturbed by this.
As I walked home, my shopping done, the song came on the radio, filling my ears. Its sentiment gnawed at what little was left of my soul, but I couldn't stop listening. I shifted between bawling and hyperventilation as I worked my way back to home. I finished the last of a bottle in one pull.
I can listen to the song now, without losing my shit. But the memory of the pain I felt at its introduction into my life tugs at my coat every time I hear it.