I’ve never been to shy away from shedding a man tear. It’s almost always your usual stuff like the scene from “I Am Legend,” where Will Smith’s character has to put down his only friend, his dog Sam, with his bare hands, or the scene in “Field of Dreams,” where Kevin Costner’s character asks his ghost dad if he wants to play catch. Sometimes something weird will sneak in and assault my eyes like one of those damn Budweiser puppy and Clydesdale commercials, but for the most part I could pretty much guess everything’s that going to get my water works going.
Not any more. Since my mom’s death I’ve been tearing up at all sorts of innocuous shit. This moved quite a few people to ocular perspiration, but I was a silent wreck after watching “A Star Is Born.” I also can’t listen to a good chunk of Kanye West’s discography without restraining myself from tapping into the seemingly endless well of pain and grief and expelling it through my tear ducts. I touched on that here, I’d love for you to give it a read. Maybe there’s a trend, maybe it’s just music that’s been able to pierce my frozen emotions lately. At any rate the latest ridiculous thing I cry at is the theme from “Lonesome Dove.”
It’s not really the song that gets me. Or the movie. I’m sure on their own both are more than capable of producing streaked cheeks, I’ve just never been vulnerable to any sort of evocation either creation produced until now. A few days ago I came across a particular piano arrangement of the theme while searching for a relaxing soundtrack to attempt to do some writing to, and as soon as I heard my throat became lumpier than a twenty year mattress. I couldn’t stop myself, I just started weeping. As I leaned into this salt wave and rode out the tears I sat back dumbfounded as to just what the hell it was about that tune that could’ve brought so much emotion out of me. I immediately pressed replay, and as the song began again I found myself sitting on the carpet of a house that seemed bigger than I’d ever discover, with late afternoon sunlight coming in through two poorly placed windows in the living room. I was elementary aged, old enough to perceive and remark on the world but young enough dusk’s rays were a harbinger of bedtime. Softly, too far away to grab my attention I heard it again. The somber melody evoking introspection, reflection, and reminisces upon its listeners while the names of various actors and actresses scrolled down a screen in flowing gold script.
With a little over a minute I returned to the present and realized it wasn’t the song, it was where the song took me. My first memories of “Lonesome Dove” were when I was arguably at my most receptive to the relationship between my mom and I. Much like my ability to perceive the rest of the world, I was old enough to form my own judgements on how my mom and I interacted but still young enough my dependence and vulnerability left me totally at the whim of a woman who expressed her love through words of affirmation and physical touch. Hearing that song brought back some of that same love I’d not felt in over eight months. For the five and some odd minutes it played it gave me my mom back, and let me sit beside her and bask in her boundless love while we passed an evening watching Larry McMurtry’s novel come to life.
I could’ve never expected my subconscious would carry so much attachment and emotion to a song, but I’m glad my memory provided me with not only so much nostalgia and reflections of perfect love, but that it placed it with a creation as enjoyable as “Lonesome Dove.” Who knows what the next ridiculous thing I cry at will be, but I hope it brings a smile with the tears it flows, and helps me drain a little of that well of sorrow.
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