There are several songs that I hear that reach inside and take me back to a certain place in time. One of the most powerful songs that triggers a particular memory is Elton John’s “Don’t let the Sun go down on me.”
I was sixteen years of age and falling apart. Life at home was going from bad to worse and with no foundation to stand on, I was sinking fast. A war had been waged that I had no hope of winning. A dark rage had claimed me. Where I once feared my father’s wrath, now I challenged it.
Foolish I suppose. Still, I’d been pushed too far. So for several months I was continually getting kicked out the house. I stayed briefly with friends only to return to try once again. Only problem with this was there was no negotiations. Each time I came home, the noose tightened.
I was trying to tolerate a situation that was impossible.
I came home from school one afternoon to find my belongings packed. I looked at my father and asked him what was going on.
“Get in the car.” he instructed.
The fear that I felt in that moment was paralyzing.
We began driving and he told that he had made me a ward of the court. He was taking me to a group home.
I stared at him. This was crazy. I wasn’t bad. We had our differences, yes, but I was really trying to work things out.
Crying, I begged him not to do this thing.
Without looking at me he explained, “I have the chance to start a new life with Flo and you just don’t fit in that life. I think this will be the best for all of us.”
Flo was his girlfriend. She wanted me gone. My sisters had all moved out upon graduation. She wasn’t about to wait for another year and half while I finished up my schooling.
As I stared out the car window that evening, my face a hot mess of tears, Elton John’s song came on the radio. I felt in that moment he was singing it for me, to me.
I was being discarded, then again I had never really felt that I mattered to begin with. After a lifetime of abuse, I now felt reduced to nothing. Dad was effectively taking out the trash.
I found myself living with five other discarded humans.
Every time I hear that song I am reminded of the girl that was in that car. Hurt, confused and lost. The next few years were painful ones but somehow I made it out of a maze of madness to where I am today.
Songs are in many ways markers to me. Each one that is on my list has some significance for a particular point in time.
Music is a balm. Somehow I reassured myself that if someone could articulate in song what I was feeling, then I wasn’t alone. Not really.
And oddly enough, music helped pull me through some of the toughest moments of my life.