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Sometimes, the song defines the moment.

Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride – Lilo and Stitch

I am in high school. Maybe it’s senior year? I feel too free for it to be junior year. I do not know what event we are driving away from. I think we are driving to Sonic. Gosh I love Sonic. And I love the feeling of the nighttime Texas air blowing into my face. I am loud. Coupled with my even louder best friend, Erika, we are a duo not to be trifled with. We are always laughing, even when we shouldn’t be, and singing, especially when we shouldn’t be. The song for this evening is Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride. Nothing is better than the feelings you get from Lilo and Stitch. A special friendship and a great, yet under appreciated, soundtrack. I feel free. I feel like I want to dance. I feel young.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

School is over and it’s summer. Not just any summer but the summer before we go off to college. My friends and I have an anthem, a song we play to be silly and get loud. Bohemian Rhapsody is the song of my life. We sing in my room one night while Playing Cards Against Humanity. We dance around my room and have air guitar solos and take photos with my polaroid camera. Fast forward a few months and I’m at a family reunion in San Antonio. My family is packed into the car, driving on the highway, going to the hotel (I think?). We play the song to be one. We play it to show how funny we are. We play it to annoy my dad because he is the only one who does not know the lyrics.

See You Again – Wiz Khalifa

I distinctly remember voting against this song being our senior class song, and yet, the majority felt otherwise. This song became popular senior year and it being titled our senior song meant I would hear it all through summer, no matter how hard I tried to avoid it. This song makes me feel gross and annoyed. I think of people competing for scholarships and cliques and defeated teachers. This song is not, and will never be, something I enjoy. But then I walked on stage in front of pretty much my entire town. And then I sat back down with my closest friends, people who had known me before I lost my first tooth (#smalltownvibes). I remember looking at my friend Ricky and both of us crying at the same time. I remember us hugging each other even though we were all supposed to be sitting down. I remember looking in the stands for my family because I wouldn’t have been there without them. All the while knowing if my life were a movie, See You Again would be playing in the background.

Epilogue – Justin Hurwitz

We are volunteering. As per usual, the sweat is dripping off my body, BUT I happen to be in an air conditioned room. People are eating fruit and talking, I can hear their muffled voices from where I’m playing. I do not know the name of this game, or how it’s played, but I know this 6 year old is cheating hardcore. Luckily, this is my age preference of children to play games with. Someone says something about La La Land and then it begins. The sound from the piano is slow and nervous at first, but it begins picking up speed and sounding more real. They are playing Epilogue from the movie. I smile and look at the girl playing in front of me. I love tiny humans. I love music. This feels right.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

It’s time to go home now. The time is up for our KTV room. Why didn’t they have Bohemian Rhapsody? Why doesn’t the whole universe love this song? Jonah gets up and begins singing. Yes. This is it. I follow suit along with two other Duke students. At some points we are being too silly to remember if we are saying the right words or not. I know I’m singing my heart out. Who needs a microphone with a voice this loud?

See You Again – Wiz Khalifa

I still hate the song. Why is it one of the only ones the kids know? It is painful to listen to all the time. I mean, honestly, please stop. And then it’s our last Wednesday of teaching. And the kids are emotional. And I am not feeling super emotional but I think it’s okay. They ask to sing See You Again with us. Classic. That is what’s running through my mind as they begin. Then it hits me: this isn’t for me, it’s for them. And my eyes start to feel watery because when will I ever see these students again? The girls begin crying and one girl hugs me and we sob together. I feel nostalgic for high school when life was easier and goodbyes never meant for good. I want to go home and cry alone. Where are my parents? I need more time.


I’m making a playlist of memories.