I sift through piles of hard plastic cases, many of the names and titles long forgotten, after nine years in my attic.
“What are those Mama?” My daughter asks.
“Music,” I say. There must have been hundreds of CD’s spread out in front of me, all listened to, all loved, at one time, back when buying music was a commitment and not a whim we acted upon while playing on our laptops or phones. It was the pre-download era, a time when you didn’t buy songs but you bought albums.
Every title I scanned in that pile was more than an album, but a memory. The Go Go’s, U2, Peter Gabriel, Morphine, they were long car rides and break ups and all night study sessions and make out sessions and long discussions on the telephone until 1:00 in the morning, when people didn’t text but still talked.
Then, it catches my attention, my thumb smudging away the cover dust that makes the baby and the water look blurry.
There was a time, in the 90’s that my Doc Martens were more than a prop on my blog header. They were my uniform, my way of life, along with my flannel shirt and ripped jeans and the matching soundtrack to go with them, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains. And while Nirvana wasn’t necessarily my favorite of the grunge bands, they were a part of the message. They were the message. Anti-establishment, desire for freedom, not really giving a you-know-what about what anybody else thought.
I often wonder what would have happened had Kurt Cobain made the other choice. And as I sit there, sorting CD’s that I plan to sell at my moving sale the next morning, I begin to wonder what would happen had I made the other choice.
My youngest would go to our neighborhood kindergarten in the fall.
My daughter would continue on the competitive cheer squad.
My son would have another summer at the town pool with his best friend.
I would continue the part time job I found where I can work around school hours.
I’d have the support of my mother, only thirty minutes away.
Yet, instead of visits with my mom, we will have skype calls.
Instead of cheer, my girl will surf.
Instead of a pool, my boy will play in the ocean.
Instead of going to an office, I may try making a go of working for myself.
I pull Nevermind out of the sell pile. Even if I never listen to it again, I wasn’t quite ready to part with it, for it reminds me not so much of Cobain or his ultimate choice, but of a time in my life when I thought that anything was possible. It reminds me of a young woman who was open to learning new things and taking chances and not worrying that much about the future.
It reminds me that we all have choices, more choices than we sometimes allow ourselves to realize. Freedom can be scary. I’ve often talked myself out of things with an, “I can’t do that,” accompanied by well rationalized excuses.
It reminds me that one day I will look back on this moment as a memory, and every moment as a memory, and that when I do, I want to know that I stayed true to that girl in the Doc Martens, barring a few detours along the way.
Despite those big funky boots and loud music, she was wiser than I gave her credit for.
What did you do when you came to your last fork in the road?
What do you think your life would have looked like if you had made the other choice?
Were you as in love with all of those bands from Seattle as I was?
Linking up with Alison and Galit for Memories Captured. I’m so glad it’s back!