“Eclectic, Reminiscent, Amused, Fickle, Perverse”
By: George W.S. Trow
Ahmet Ertegun, the head man at Atlantic Records, sat in a restaurant, put one hand on the table in front of him, and snapped his fingers. He looked across the room abstractedly. Across the room, there was a brown velvet wall punctuated by English hunting prints. The prints showed an understanding of the traditional order. The brown velvet, participating in a very contemporary chic, prevented the traditional order from penetrating too deeply into the atmosphere of the restaurant. The atmosphere of this room (at the Carlyle Hotel) was sympathetic to Ahmet Ertegun. The room was impeccable without having reference to any authority that could be perceived as inhibiting. The room had, in fact, been decorated by his wife. “Mica did this, you know,” Ahmet said to me after a moment.
Today is my mother’s birthday. If she were alive, she’d be… wait… how old would she be?
I cried writing it, then shared it on social media, where it got a lot of likes, which sent a dopamine rush to my brain — “They like it, they really really like it,” I told myself — and I felt better about life.
Read it here: “Ten Years.”
When you compound that with the fact that ten years had passed, you really find yourself — or rather, I found myself — in this place where the memories of what it felt like to have a mother weren’t that fresh.
In fact, I even woke up and put a little #tbt photo on Instagram of my brother and I — his birthday was yesterday — and before I did, I considered posting one of my mother.
Because my brother and mother share birthdays on back-to-back days, I know I had thought about it being her birthday in the days leading up to it, but as far as on the day itself, it couldn’t have been any further from my mind.
That’s when my aunt sent me a message on Facebook, saying it was my mom’s birthday, and asking how I was doing. I told her I didn’t think about that much, that as the years pass by, it means less and less. She said she hoped I thought about her sometimes. And I replied:
I do, but I don’t wait for birthdays, holidays and death anniversaries to do it. Hence, if it doesn’t come to mind today, it’ll be tomorrow. People who pass are always with you, not only when it’s convenient. I’m sure you know this though.
I don’t know the specific psychological reason why I did it, I just know I was listening to a beautiful piece of music, and as all good art should, it engendered some type of emotional reaction in me.
It made me think about my family, who I’m not particularly close with, and how I miss them. Sometimes I spend so much time around other people’s families that I forget what my own feels like. Or felt like.
Hours later, I went to see my father, whom I hadn’t seen in a few weeks. I missed the warmth of his face, the comfort I’ve always found in his words, and the sheer joy I get from being around him. I missed what it felt like to be his son.
We sat and talked about music and books and life— the things we always talked about— and for a second, every worry I had dissipated. I knew that everything would be okay. I didn’t feel this heavy weight on my shoulders, this pressure to get rich or die trying.
When I left I wondered what my life would have been like if both my parents had been completely present growing up. How would I have turned out? It’s something I think about a lot. But not too much, because you can’t get caught up dwelling on what could have or should have happened.
I have been sitting in the same chair, in the same spot, in the same room, for five years. There was a time, when I first moved into this apartment, when I sat in the middle of the room, and then another time, when I sat to the far left, at an old kitchen table, which wasn’t really in a kitchen. When I ditched the low-powered laptop life and built myself a new computer in late 2008, I moved my desk into the right corner, because I needed more space, and ever since then, have been sitting in that spot.