Iron & Wine's Kiss Eachother Clean came out in 2011, when I was living in my studio apartment in Portland with Eli. We both loved that album; listened to it all the way through, nonstop, on Saturday mornings while I swept the checkered linoleum floors and he made coffee in the french press. It's one of the albums that feels so tied to a person, to a place -- to my life at 23. I hadn't listened to it much since then. Not out of avoidance or anything. The songs just weren't living to me anymore. They were artifacts.
I was sitting on the back porch last summer, while the man I'm dating now was inside playing guitar. The windows were open and the music came out. And, I recognized the song ... but just barely. It didn't sound anything like the boppy, upbeat version from the record. A song about two people who grow up and grow apart, and eventually into a different relationship. really, a different life.
Time isn't kind or unkind you used to say, but I wonder to who.
and what it is you're saying today.
It knocked the wind out of me. I thought of all the times we'd listened to that song and how I'd never really heard the words before. It sounded just like kind of agnostic thing Eli would say. For a flash of a moment, all the space that separated now from then collapsed in on itself. And all I could see was us there, in that apartment, listening to this song and not knowing (or maybe, always knowing) how we'd be strangers someday.
How, eventually, we wouldn't even think about each other much anymore. Except for after the occasional pang, from the sharp corner of the empty space.
(listen) Iron & Wine - Tree by the River (photo) on expired film | the alley along Mississippi Ave, 2011.