“Brushfire Fairytales” (2001), an album by Jack Johnson, came into my life during a magical time, in my life. I was impressionable. That was 2002; the year graduated from high school, got my first apartment and fell madly in love for the first time.
The person I fell in love with exposed me to “Brushfire Fairytales and, incidentally, created the paradigm I use for picking the music I now enjoy.
I remember the evening I first heard Jack Johnson. He was perfection on acoustic guitar. I didn’t listen intently to the music. I did imprint on the feelings it gave me.
In a messy bed I lay, naked and sweaty. We just finished making love. It was early evening.
As dusk set, there was pink twilight showing through the tie-dyed sheet, which my boyfriend slapped across his window. It was his version of drapery. I came from a family that appreciated the finer things and was used to nice perfect drapes.
Still, I still liked his idea of a window cover. The pink sky glowed through the tie-dye, the humidity, the sweat, the smells of musk and incense, the beachy sound of Jack Johnson on “Brushfire Fairytales.” As I write this, I can still smell the night, the room and the bodies. I can feel it.
My lover bought me this album a few weeks later, for my birthday. I played the album when I was home alone, cleaning, studying, falling asleep. He played it for me in his car when we’d drive into the mountains, together, for a weekend of camping. I think of all of the times we made love in his car, the smell of sandalwood on everything he had, on his clothes, in his hair and Jack Johnson as the soundtrack.
My flowing dress, covered in little flowers draped over the sides of the seats. My blonde hair stuck to my neck and back. I always wished we could run away to a tropical island together or something, with “Brushfire Fairytales.”
I still have the CD my boyfriend bought for me. I bought it on MP3, too. I’ll always update “Brushfire Fairytales,” as formats change. I always want to have it, near.
“Brushfire Fairytales” is difficult for me to listen to it today. The strong memories it evokes can paralyze me in thought. I feel embarrassed listening to it, sometimes.
I married a different man. The thoughts that flood my mind aren’t of my husband. No, “Brushfire Fairytales,” evokes memories of my first love.
Those memories are intense. I remember the true odour of love; the sounds, of “Brushfire Fairytales,” take me to in a different place. The feelings that well up in my body are not new.
I was so free, ten years ago: receptive, vibrant and free. Today, life I’m life hardened. I’m in a sleep deprived mass of automaton.
If you’re young, treasure the small things. Each nuance makes your life fuller and enjoyable, if only as a memory. “Brushfire Fairytales,” as my yesterday, makes today palatable.
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