My first love (who, I admit without shame but with some dismay, still holds an enormous piece of my heart, even half a lifetime away from our last goodbye) used to make me mixtapes. They weren't just tapes of songs he thought I'd enjoy, or that meant something to us, they included little recorded interludes where he recollected incidents from our time together, or how I had made him feel, or what his hopes were for our future. After he broke my heart, it took me a good three or four years to get over him - well, over him to a point where I my heart could half-function. I don't know that we ever come back from that first heartbreak. On the very darkest of nights, even years later, I would sneak those tapes out of the trunk where I kept precious letters and other treasures from loved ones, and play them, not just to relive the high points of our relationship, but to hear the familiar sound of his voice, no matter what he was saying. It was a salve.
That trunk of precious memories has been sitting in the crawlspace of my parents' house for the better part of a decade as I have travelled the globe and made my home in various places. I don't even own a tape recorder that I could play the tapes on now. But that desire to hear the voice of a lost love? I've never lost that. Since that First Great Love, I've had many lovers, but only two that I've truly offered a piece of my heart to. For various reasons, mostly due to my own folly and insecurities, they, too, are lost to me now. I think of them often. Daily. Yep, that's right. There are at least three people out there in the world, who I think of every single day - to whom I say not a single word.
That seems like another post for another day.
Anyway. Even today I find that same desire to hear these lost loves, and without a mix tape, I have discovered that YouTube is the most wonderful tool, in the most internet stalker-y way. Fortunately, these three men have achieved some renown in their chosen careers, and I'm able to find video of them so that I can listen to their voice, remember their cadence, their particular turns of phrase, the way they pause to think, or to laugh, to exhale. This may seem sad to you, but I find it so, so comforting. These people are absent and feel irretrievable to me, but for a brief moment, I have them again. I feel like I have put so many barriers around my heart that it's now impenetrable. It's nice, even for a few moments, to have a reminder of what it felt like before the wall went up.