There are certain songs that make me think of you because you played them after hooking your iPod into my car during a long drive. Or because they popped onto the radio while we swayed on the dance floor of a bar. Or because you played them on your guitar for me inside of your bedroom, just the two of us.
There are other songs you don’t even know about, songs that I used to listen to inside of my headphones at night, songs that made me think of you back when things were better. Back when I had hope that we were going to be together. Back when I believed that you wanted the same things as I did.
When I hear those songs now, with romantic lyrics that I thought related to us at the time but probably never actually rang true — at least not for you — I feel like an idiot. Even after all this time apart, it hurts to listen to them, to remember how high my expectations for us used to be before reality stomped me to the ground like a used cigarette.
And then there are songs that I hear on the radio, new songs, that also make me think of you. Songs by your favorite band that I know you must be listening to on repeat whenever you get behind the wheel of your car. Songs that you might have set as your ringtone, songs that you might listen to while you relax with whatever person took my place in your life.
There are theme songs to shows we used to watch together. Songs that played in the background of movies that we saw together. Songs that we heard at concerts together. Songs that we suffered through hearing at shops and grocery stores together.
So many songs make me think of you. Songs about heartbreak that remind me of the fresh pain I keep trying to push to the back of my mind. Songs about falling head over heels that remind me of how we used to be once before. Songs about flesh and jealousy and rejection and everything in between.
There are certain songs that I avoid at all costs, songs that I used to love, songs that I can no longer listen to without seeing your face in front of me. Without reaching for my phone and fighting the temptation to text you.
No matter what the message is behind the lyrics, I find a way to twist them to fit our situation. My brain always reverts to you. It keeps you on my mind, even when I wish that you would leave it, that you would give me the chance to move on from you once and for all.
The worst part is that I know I never cross your mind — not even when you hear the same songs that have been torturing me. To you, they’re just sounds. They might even remind you of someone else. Someone that means more to you than I ever have and ever will.