Right now she’s 11 and has a playlist called “Best Songs Ever” which has 125 songs on it. As she gets older, the list will narrow.
She’ll get better at making lists, but “Best Songs Ever” – if she still has a list like that – will have (I predict) eight songs on it. Maybe nine.
One song for when she was 13 or 14 and was nursing her first heartbreak. Maybe it’s actually his heart and she broke it. She’ll lay on her bed in her room and lock the door and write in her diary and listen to that same song over and over again. It’ll make her feel as sentimental as a kid can feel at that age. She’ll write something along the lines of “I remember when life was much simpler and all we worried about was whose house we were going to have dance practice at.”
On the “Best Songs Ever” list, she’ll choose a song for when life was simpler and, indeed, they had dance practice at her house seven of ten times. Zoe’s the other three… And the song will be something she remembers she and Zoe and all the rest of the girls singing together, a cappella in a mom’s car when the mom turned the volume down to answer a cell phone call.
Another song will remind her of her own mom and all the road trips they took together. It will be a song she discovered in her tweens that her mother – determined that her daughter would not listen to “Kids Bop” or other such crap – played for her as a baby, that she then rediscovered in her 20s when she heard it covered by a really cool college band she knew personally.
She will wistfully include a song by the college band, whom she knew because her roommate dated the bass player and with whose drummer she once slept with when everyone was drunk after some other band’s show. The song of theirs she chooses for the “Best Songs Ever” list will involve the drummer playing piano instead of the drums, and it will be an uncharacteristically sweet song.
The next song will be the aggressive, loud, female rocker man-hating song her roommate played repeatedly for her when she finally realized the drummer wasn’t going to return her calls.
Another song will be a poppy number covered by the jazz band that played at the patio bar at the restaurant near the office of her first real job. Bankers, lawyers and government employees always gathered there on Thursdays. She was almost always the youngest and normally the only one wearing heels.
She’ll include the song that makes her think of sitting alone in another city’s airport when what was playing over the speakers at the Starbucks matched her mood while she waited to board the plane to her grandfather’s funeral five states away.
Another will be from the CD she listened to when she and her cousin drove the old man’s car back across the country, deciding to stop at attractions like the hotel with a basement pool carved out of a cave and a monastery open to the public.
And another will be for the first time she narrowed the list of Best Songs Ever.