Monday is quiet. The loudest noises belong to the teen girls outside the library. They share a plastic liter bottle of Cherry Coke and sing show tunes. They dance as they sit; they are all movement with no embarrassment. My ten year old and I sit on the built rock outcropping and watch them. We share quiet smiles now and again while watching the teens.
Oh, even as I don’t want to be a teen I envy them their newness. When I go to concerts now it’s the third show of the same band and I can recall how it felt to be 20 and listening to the tape play the same songs again and again in my dorm room. I see the last time the Indigo Girls played at the zoo and how I was at home and I could hear them from my front porch. How I sat on the warm concrete steps and sang until at last I couldn’t stand not being there one minute longer. I jumped on my bike and rode to a side street near the zoo. I sat on my bike and sang. Were the tears I cried bittersweet or totally happy?
All I know now is every song I really know the words to is a mix tape, full of a wide range of emotions. When the Indigo Girls sing, “Darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable, lightness has a call that’s hard to hear,” how can I not remember Carin, the friend from college who I sang these lines with who killed herself a few years after college? How I had no idea she suffered from a deeper version of depression than I did? That the letter I wrote to her parents before I knew how she died talked of the joy that emanated from Carin, how we danced and laughed? How there is a flip side to every emotion and sometimes there’s no getting unstuck from the negative? How I sing with unadulterated joy to the line “Darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable, lightness has a call that’s hard to hear,” while also holding Carin and her parents in my heart with an ache that folds right into my happy singing.
Monday is quiet. The morning after the Indigo Girls concert I remember talking with my friends at the concert, how we were like teenagers gleefully sharing every story the songs reminded us of. How we heard dark tales and tried to push each other to the light on the other side of those stories. How we held each other together with words that night even as I knew sometimes all those words we give each other don’t add up into feeling OK when we are later alone with our sadness.
But I’m not sad on the quiet Monday. I’m more an observer of the squirrel who pulls nuts from our backyard tree while staring at me with one eye as he holds the nuts between two very successful hands and eats with strong teeth. I watch the teen girls and think how I don’t want to be a teen girl yet I’m always a teen girl. How last night I watched the Indigo Girls with new friends and we were just like these girls, sharing drinks and talking fast and dancing while sitting as we sang along to songs we knew so well we didn’t have to think about the lyrics. Even though I’ve known the insatiable darkness, I’m beginning to listen for the light on the quiet days, gathering it where I can. On Monday my ten year old and I sit outside the library and pull lightness from the teen girls who don’t care that we are watching them. I no longer fully believe lightness has a call that’s hard to hear.