As old and outdated as it is, this iPod is the most protected object in my possession. Its chipping silver exterior and concaving buttons reflect our relationships own battered and bruised history. Most importantly, the playlists it holds within are a chapter of our lives. A chapter I don’t want to leave. So, I’ll listen to the playlists on repeat whilst gulping down ice cream and thinking about how you left me.
The first playlist is upbeat and lively like the beginning of our relationship. I remember how your friend from work set us up to go out to a fancy restaurant, but you preferred the simplicity of a food court and dancing at the club. The way you moved to this song was hypnotic, as the pink and blue club lights shone through your beautiful blonde hair. From the fun we had dancing to these songs, that first night I knew there was something special about you.
Shuffling to the next tracks your ears could go numb because of the loud, obtrusive workout playlist that I listened to when I went to the gym every day to make sure I was perfect for our next date. But you didn’t care about any of that, you simply cared about me, laughing at my jokes and my embarrassing childhood stories.
After a year of dating you said you had to get away from the torment of living with your sister so I went into work formulating the perfect road trip playlist. Songs of summer, going without sleep and staying young forever. I picked you up in my Dad’s red convertible, which I had taken without permission and you ran out of your house and jumped over the door, into the car like one of those old 60’s movies. It was perfect, me at the wheel and you sprawled out over the car seat basking in the sun. We traveled the winding beach roads that were bordered by the rocky sea cliffs and white crashing water. An escape to tranquility with you. Sitting on a beach listening to these songs together I knew this would be the girl I married.
Shuffle to the tranquil opera tracks that played in the background at the Italian restaurant. Your face was blushing as red as the dress you were wearing when I lowered my knee to the ground and asked you to marry me. The word yes was the best sound to ever grace my ears.
The first time I heard this next song was on my way to work, not that I listened to it the whole way through. Your sister’s call interrupted it, with panic in her voice. You collapsed at the wedding planners in a convulsive fit. I swung the car around with haste to get to you, but the song had already ended.
This next playlist is the hardest to listen to, but it did help to drown out the condolences of doctors, friends and family. I remember sitting there in the doctor’s waiting room crying just wishing we could dance to our music one last time but that dance would never come.
Darling, the sound flowing through these earpieces is the lifeblood that has kept the memory of you alive for the last 6 years. I hate to say it, but I need to cut the cord. I need to retire this iPod and go out and make new playlists otherwise I fear I’ll become a memory myself.
In the apple store, fumbling with the overwhelming number of features on the new iPod touch, a staff member came up to me, her name badge said Hope.
Words by Eddie McCarroll
Illustration by Sarah Burton