The past is but a song away; songs have the power to unlock memories, some long forgotten — memories, sometimes, best left forgotten.
For example, I remember the stench of stale tobacco and sunlight in my eyes when I think of Ocean Drive — somehow, this was once a happy memory. I remember a red Toyota, now forever trapped in ’99; it was scrapped and swapped for a green Ford Escort, one without a cassette player.
I can’t listen to it anymore, but Ocean Drive was once my home from home, it took me to a place that no one else could go. It took me to a summer’s day whilst in the harshest winter, it took me to my own childhood idea of blissful paradise.
The words, back when I was so young, I did not understand; they were not relevant to me. All I recall is being told that the sun will shine on everything I do and, back then, it did.
But, in the years since ’99, so many things have changed; the driver of that car is gone because he wanted more than us, he wanted more than just his family; the boy who dreamt of Ocean Drive is gone, his peaceful memories have faded, and no one listens to cassette tapes anymore.
Now, Ocean Drive only exists inside that red Toyota — for me, anyway. Like the car, and all my memories before he walked away, it has been crushed and discarded.
There is no going back to nineteen-ninety-nine, not even in my mind; time has left me black and blue, inside. Of that past, all I have left is this cassette — and nothing to play it on.
(Song recommendation by Sean Cunningham)