Saturday, November 21, 2009

memory

I grew up in a house full of music. Both my parents were such lovers of music, it was impossible to live a day without it. My mom loves Nat King Cole, The Platters and Matt Monroe. My dad loves ABBA, Simon & Garfunkel and of course, The Beatles. Growing up, there was no such thing as ‘good music’ or ‘bad music.’ Everything was just ‘music’ and it was so effing fantastic, I couldn’t get enough.

I remember this one time, I was about 5 or 6 years old and I had recently discovered my dad’s Peter, Paul & Mary tapes. I was listening to Reunion and there was a track there called The Unicorn Song. At that age, I spent most of my time alone with my imaginary friends so I could really relate. The man was singing about a unicorn who was his imaginary friend. Together, they would sing, dance and gallop or whatever it is children do with unicorns. I could totally relate to the song. I mastered the lyrics and the melody by listening to it again and again and again. I would play it and when the song was done, I would press rewind and play it again. I must’ve been listening to it for a good two hours when my sister (who was studying in the next room) decided to intervene.

She was very cross. Apparently, greatness is relative. She did not share the same view on the song. She took the tape out of the multiplex and stepped on it with her large Keroppi slipper. It took several stomps from her big, stubby foot before she was able to smash the cassette into pieces. By then I was wailing and screaming and begging her to stop but she continued anyway. After a few more seconds, she declared the intervention a success and went back to her algebra book.

I was as shattered as the cassette. If I were to send a letter to Maalaala Mo Kaya, that moment would probably be in the first 15 minutes. I felt like together with the record, my sister had ruined my dreams of finding my unicorn and in turn, my happiness.

I sort of got over it. I moved on as children often do but for the rest of my waking life, I had a yearning to hear that song one more time. During the hey day of Napster, it was one of my first searches. Alas! I couldn’t find a copy. I tried to find it in YouTube but all I could find were covers. I didn’t want to settle for a remake. I needed the same version I fell in love with. I tried searching for it in torrents but it seems my dear unicorn was not popular enough to be immortalized in seeds.

Years later (or a few weeks ago), I came across a forum about the Reunion album. There, someone posted a link to The Unicorn Song. I felt like a huge cloud had been lifted. It seems my unicorn and I were to be reunited after all! I clicked the link post-haste but to my dismay, it was no longer available.

After tracking, borderline stalking the poster, I finally found her email address. I politely told her my story and asked for the link again. She replied in a nice email with the song attached. I felt like I had just won the lottery.

So a few days ago, I finally got to listen to The Unicorn Song again. I uploaded it to my iPod and after updating the album art and lyrics, I prepared myself for the journey of rediscovery. I locked the door, put on my earphones and pressed play.

As the opening chords played, I felt I was six again. I smiled and let the music fill the room.

♫ When I was growing up my best friend was a unicorn. The others smiled at me and called me “crazy.” ♫

“Hmmm… this song is… different.”

♫ But I was not upset by knowing I did not conform. I always thought their seeing must be hazy. ♫

“It’s very… err… strange.”

♫ The unicorn and I would while away the hours. Playing, dancing and romancing in the wild flowers… ♫

“It’s not how I remember it.”

♫ …and we'd sing ‘Seeing is believing in the things you see. Loving is believing in the ones you love.’” ♫

“Fuck. These people were totally high when they wrote this song.”

I stopped the song and tried to process the situation. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I felt like all those years of searching and waiting were in vain. Why wasn’t it as good as the song I had in my memory?

Memories are funny things. With them, every strength is magnified and every flaw is forgotten. The song was not as good because I was young when I first heard it. It was before I had any grasp of good and bad. The song was indeed terrible and my sister had good reason to smash the cassette tape but back then, I didn’t really know what ‘terrible’ was. All those years of searching led up to that moment when I would be reunited with my precious song. It was the build-up of the decade. If you think about it, it almost seems like I was setting the song up for failure. It was then that I learned this simple truth: things are almost always perfect in our memory.

Memory is like the lover who leaves too soon- the one who got away. We always remember the good times. We always blame ourselves for not being able to hold on to them. But given a chance to reconnect with them, the situation is often lackluster and embarrassing. You start to remember more bad times than good. You remember more pain than pleasure. The things you argued about suddenly come to mind. You recall the strange memories that managed to keep itself hidden.

Memory is a traitor. To paraphrase (500) Days of Summer, next time you look back, you should look again. Time keeps moving, with or without you and there’s a special place in hell for people who look behind them as they speed through life.

Or maybe I’m just drunk. Haha

Photo Credit: Diana Peterfreund


Peter, Paul & Mary
The Unicorn Song
Reunion




Layout#6. A few nights ago, I was playing with my template when I accidentally ruined it. I had to create a new one and I’m kinda glad I did. Although I miss my orange template, I believe it served its purpose well. I hope you guys like it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Banner Photo Credit: pbo31
True Type Font: gnuolane

35 comments:

  1. "Memory is like the lover who leaves too soon- the one who got away."

    Thank you for articulating what I cannot.

    I always suspect that memories are cinematic versions of the actual experience; our minds always the editing room. There is danger in this, of course, but there is also beauty in it; the essential part (what we deemed essential) heightened, the rest thrown away. As a consequence, the feel of it lingers. We may have remembered a different thing, but what we have felt during that time stays with us, probably (hopefully) forever.

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  2. Beautiful, beautiful post, Nyl! Lovely childhood recollections, fascinating quest for innocence lost, unexpected denouement in a lucid, coherent piece of storytelling.

    "It was then that I learned this simple truth: things are almost always perfect in our memory."

    This epiphany is so spot-on, and should be on a T-shirt, or tattooed on our minds.

    Thanks for this post! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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  3. ok. ermmm. how do i say this. what the hello kitty is that song?! =)

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  4. wahahaha. tuwa ako. ^^ kaloka ung unicorn. funny song din

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  5. omg. the unicorn song?! :D <3

    guess that gayness in you was innate.
    and i love the "I remember this one time," american pie-ish taste to it.

    cant wait to see you coffee babies soon,.

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  6. there's a fine line separating memory from fantasy..... thats is probably why sometimes, when we tell stories, we don't tell them how they happened, not even how we remember them, but the way we wanted them to happen....

    as always, hindi ko nanaman naintindihan ang sinulat ko lalo na at high na high pa ako sa KANYA.... kilala mo na yun hahahahaha

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  7. @tristan ~ i'm sure it loves you, too!

    @manech ~ i agree. i've always seen memories as little movies in our brains. i think more than once or twice, i've mentioned a projector hum whenever i would flashback to previous times.

    as for memory, perhaps it's our mind's way of protecting us from recalling bad things. is it so bad to want to remember only the good things?

    @rudeboy ~ thanks! that means a lot, especially coming from you. apparently, i conform more to traditional, outlined ways of storytelling when i'm inebriated. haha you should see my drafts. i've been trying to write this down for days but until last night, i couldn't.

    @engel ~ i know right! haha try playing it na full blast yung volume. it'll drive you nuts! haha

    @toxic ~ yeah. crazy remnants of my past. haha

    @herbs ~ i know!!! kelan nga ba?

    @YJ ~ tsk tsk delikado na yan! haha kelan mo ba dadalhin?

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  8. "things are almost always perfect in our memory" - very true.

    i was actually "reciting" that line from 500 days while halfway through this post. when dealing with memories, we always do some add/edit/delete on most part. i guess it's because that's how we wanted it to be. and the more we do the add/edit/delete, the more we hold on to it.

    PS.
    i've listened to the unicorn song and i think i like it, hahaha.

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  9. waw!
    500 days!
    hehe :P

    kung matalas lang memorya ko irerecite ko mga lines dun sa lahat ng kaibigan ko...
    :P

    haist...
    ang tanging perfect lang sa mundo ay ALAALA.

    :(

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  10. you know the unicorn is a symbol of a very spiritual masculinity and it is said that only a virgin could tame one and mount/ride it.

    i'm surprised that you didn't refer to your sister-destructo's feet at hooves crushing the cassette. (or "satan hooves" as Ms. Coco Peru does in Trick).

    but as for memory, unless you're in a depression, generally the brain has a tendency to lessen negative experiences and over-embellish positive ones -- overtime. the one exception would be, for example, a tormenting sister who constantly reinforced negative experiences and reversed the natural neurological process... hence, satan hooves crushing a delicate cassette underneath them...

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  11. Nice layout. :)

    @Lance's comment: The unicorn's horn a phallic symbol, I guess?

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  12. @VG: perhaps, but the unicorn which originated from a "one horned beast" is so much more than just a phallic symbol. and its relationship to the "virgin" who can tame it is so important symbolically for the development of the psyche...

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  13. @max ~ haha hala! a unicorn convert! re:add/edit/delete, i agree. in our desire to hold on to things, we wend up changing them.

    @gege ~ di naman matalas memory ko. suki lang ng imdb. hehe

    @LOF ~ i didn't portray my sister in an evil way because i think she was just responding the way any normal human being would. i mean, did u listen to the song? haha i guess "normal" was not innate in me. haha

    re:virgin it takes someone pure to tame a beautiful beast. what does that mean?

    as for the memory, well that makes complete sense. our body does many wonderful things to protect us. unless it was something completely life altering, i'm sure a little editing is harmless.

    @lilee ~ welcome! thanks for stopping by. :D

    @vic ~ thanks!

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  14. i'm not really sure. lol. a virgin/maiden represents a form of very immature femininity because she has not yet been "invaded" like the Kore/Persephone myth... and the unicorn is sort of a primitive/immature masculinity. yet when the two come into contact, a symbolic union is effected... the maiden is left in the place where the unicorn is last scene. the unicorn comes and rests its head in the maiden's lap and falls asleep. the king then takes the unicorn because it is a symbol of power, etc.,. what do you think?

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  15. my opinion? maybe they were high on magic mushrooms when they created that tale. haha

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  16. lol. so what's your explanation about the tale's persistence over hundreds of years?

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  17. it's like that rumor that the spice girls are a bunch of trannies or that elvis is still alive. haha i guess my ignorance of the subject matter is making me disregard the whole tale.

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  18. i do think that the regular sitings of Elvis in the rural US at remote and secluded gas stations by middle-class housewives neglected by their husbands is a fact -- psychically -- even if Elvis Presley the man is dead. i think the same process of projection is at work in both Elvis and the unicorn and the fact that they carry projections on a collective level and carry contents from the collecitve unconscious. that is only my intuition though, but i think you're on to something...

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  19. i dunno. i don't think neglected housewives are the most credible sources. if it's a matter of projection, why would the maiden project a unicorn?

    this is very interesting.

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  20. its everyone who ever believed the story that's projecting -- both onto the "maiden" and the "unicorn".... credibility is not at issue with psychic facts since whatever is genuinely held to be true for someone is true, psychically...

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  21. memories help me go through everyday struggles, when I'm down I look back on how fought and was able to stand up again

    like this post Nyl

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. @LOF ~ it's true psychically but i was hoping for a more general view of the truth. haha

    here's another theory: the tale persists because maidens and unicorns are beautiful and you know how much we value beauty. the tale is like posh spice: beautiful but pretty useless. (what is up with these spice girls analogies? haha)

    @thecurioscat ~ I'm a fan of that kind of memory- the one that reminds us that we've fallen but we were somehow able to get up.

    thanks for reading and liking it. i'm sure it likes you, too. haha

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  24. beauty is one way in which the attention of the psyche can be drawn, but it is what is within that psyche which allows a projection to remain... meaning there is something about the story (unicorn, Elvis, UFO) that points to some objective truth about humanity... di ba?

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  25. so beauty captures the attention and what we need to know now is whatever is keeping it there... perhaps (and this is my best assumption) it's plain curiosity. beauty in itself is nothing if you don't find the thing (whether it be unicorns, elvis or strange aliens) interesting, you're not going to want to pay attention to it. beauty starts the rumor. curiosity fuels it.

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  26. i see it as the impulse/instinct to greater consciousness... i find it interesting you see it as curiosity... i will think about this...

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  27. a rose by any other name or something like that. isn't curiosity the need to expand our consciosness? hmm.. wait, not exactly. it's more of a want, really. 'need' is too imperative.

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  28. parang maikukumpara ko ang song na ito sa "lemon tree". hate ko ang song pero minsan hina-hum ko. ewan ko, mukhang may kinalaman din ang kanta sa childhood ko. :)

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  29. alam ko yan! diba yan yung lemon tree very prettyyyyy and the lemon's flower is sweeet but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eatttt!!! haha wow super flashback naman!

    minsan ganun lang talaga. we associate certain songs sa childhood natin. sarap magpakanostalgic minsan..

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  30. wow. ganda ng timing ng post mo ah!

    i met my first love a few weeks back. in my memory, he was the 'perfect epitome' of a puppy love. sweet, and hard to forget. when i met him again, everything changed. i realized that he possesses everything i could possibly hate in a guy. he's not a gentleman, he's too boastful, too shallow, and too immature. 'yung tipong kering keri mambastos ng babae just to show how masculine he is. pfft.

    i regret the day i met him again. i think there are memories that we should no longer look back at. para ma-retain 'yung whatever good feeling natin about that memory. it's great to collect good memories, and not replace them with something negative.

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  31. that's why it's one of my favorite lovers. kasi unless mapalitan ng iba o bago, good memories stay good. gumaganda pa habang tumatagal. hehe

    thanks for sharing. kakamiss bonding moments natin. may blogspot ka rin ba? ayaw magpaopen ng profile mo eh.

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  32. i know, right? i still keep some of the good memories i have with that person. un lang, when i think about him, i feel like throwing up. ulk.

    nakakamiss nga! our vid-ok moments! i'll fix my blogspot account muna :)

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  33. well at least you leanred something. that's always important. :D

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