Secret Pop

Feb 23, 2017

I Will Always Go Back to that Church

I love The English Patient. But even if you don't like the movie, there's one track in Gabriel Yared's score called "I Will Always Go Back to that Church." It's the scene when Kip sets the candles out for Hana and then raises her up in a rope harness, so she can view the paintings on the church walls up close. It's so beautiful and delicate and hopeful and sweet. I get a little sad when I listen to it, because it reminds me of a stretch of time when I pretty much listened to 5 tracks from that soundtrack on repeat and nothing else, often while sitting in the bathtub. I was living in my parents' house in Rancho Penasquitos while they lived in Italy, basically occupying the master bedroom like a studio apartment. I was 25 and alone in a quiet suburb, freshly extricated from a yuck relationship and not really sure how to fill my time. The nights were quiet, and the house was big. I used to bivouac in that room, bringing up as much as I could plan for so as not to have to go down to the kitchen for anything. I read there, wrote there, doodled in notebooks. I only went downstairs to cook or to play my violin, which I was less inclined to do, as the front sitting room felt so exposed, with French doors and cathedral windows, and I hated that my neighbors might think I was showing off.

I have these banal fantasies, like sitting in an armchair reading beside a fire with gentle music playing. I imagine I will have great thoughts or have something magical revealed to me. But when I actually try to create these moments, it seldom works out that way. I can't get the Bluetooth speaker to work. Or my dog decides she doesn't like me sitting in that chair. Or I try to read but find I have too many intrusive thoughts swirling around in my head. My brain is full of words and maybe at least reasonably populated with inspiration, but I have problems with patience. Focus. I give in to distraction. If I'm honest, I seek it out. I welcome it, and then blame it after the fact.

I would probably have said that the thing you notice when you plant yourself in a nostalgic moment -- when you transport yourself back to a time that was plagued with its own nostalgia -- is that you feel like the same person, but the things you worry about have changed. But I don't even know if that's true anymore. I don't know if I ever experienced the abandon of youth. My nostalgia doesn't transport me to a particularly happy or certain time. I was younger, obviously. But it feels as if I have always been old. Even as a child. Even as a responsible, dependable, shame-prone child who was terrified of being found out to not know the answer to every question and who was certain no other children knew how she was feeling or would like her if they did.

I have never felt young. And now that I am older, I sort of wish I had.