Hawkmoon 269 [ 2004-10-25, 5:31 p.m. ]

The following is part of a collaborative project, Music for the Masses, hosted by Pineapple Girl . Lyrics can be found here.

Past lives or darkest secrets or unfortunate mistakes or nostalgia or wistfulness or the path not taken, memories go by a million names. They are sweet and sour. They are sad, scattered, spun. They are scent, sight, and they are song. Chest-tightening, throat-aching, mind-reeling memories well up in song, more so than with photos, words, scars or plaques. In song, the walls blur and I am Right Back There, in that moment, that life, that instant, that body.

Among my own past lives is a brief but brilliant stint as A Really Popular Girl Who Is In With All The Hot Fraternity Guys. It was brief, but I swear to you, it did exist. And at its zenith, when my skin was deeply tanned and any given day could stretch for what seemed like weeks, I could be found in the nether-regions of the Pike house or any variety of hot tubs in the town of Davis, CA. [It probably won�t surprise you to hear that the next phase of my life was Hmm, That Might Have Been A Mistake: Slutty Is As Slutty Does. My mom would be so proud.]

And on one hot day during a hot week in a hot month of the always hot summer, my girlfriend Lee drove up to Davis for the night. We bought cheap Boone�s at Safeway and sat on the lawn in front of my sorority house with my friend Lisa. The town was dead quiet and we drank and talked and laughed as the sun finally set. Soon, a smattering of frats guys from the house next door wandered over, and we all laughed and smoked and drank and flirted and before too long, we were grabbing bikes and riding to a nearby apartment complex. We hopped the fence and kicked off our shorts and flip-flops and splashed into the hot tub. We flipped off the diving board into the pool, and the guys showed off for us. We laughed and teased and climbed back on bikes and rode home.

Lee eventually got tired and went up to my room to sleep, and Lisa and I wandered into the fraternity house with the guys, and I promise you that I never imagined I�d be the sort of girl who could casually wander through any frat house on a Wednesday night when there was no party going on. But in that life, at that time, I was, and I had seen the men behind the curtains and knew what the rec room looked like in the light of day and what kinds of nasty things went on in the �girls� bathroom� when there were no girls around and finally, finally started to realize that men are just people and while they may travel in scary packs when socializing, they are no different from you or me when talking on the phone to their mom or putting in their contacts or trying to study or pouring a bowl of Cap�n Crunch. Hot guys eat cereal, same as you and me.

So Lisa and I walked upstairs and ended up in a room with one guy we were good friends with and one guy I had previously only seen from a distance. It was now well past midnight and we settled into the couch and passed beers back and forth, relaxed and comfortable. And as anyone who has ever gone to high school or college or any party, or even seen a movie about high school or college could guess, we were soon playing Truth or Dare. I�m not sure what time it was when Lisa got up and left, but I know it was late. Or early. And I don�t remember many of the questions, or even the dares. But there is one bit, one question, one moment in time that has remained crystal clear in my mind, all these years and lifetimes later.

My friend Chris, to whom I never felt any hint of attraction but will be eternally grateful to for his friendship that summer and advice (it was he who later pulled me aside in a bar and warned me that I was dangerously close to developing a �reputation.� Message received, loud and clear), asked me �Truth or Dare?� Truth, I said, because really, Truth is way more ineresting than Dare. Chris asked me,, What�s your favorite U2 song? (And before you wonder what kind of pansy-assed game of Truth or Dare we were playing, let me reassure you that boobies and peepees and virginity and dirty talk had all been more than covered) I�m pretty sure I scrunched up my nose in a way I hoped was cute and looked at the Other Guy and giggled and answered, Oh I dunno...um, Desire, I guess!

Chris slammed down his beer and came over to me. He sat between me and the Other Guy on the saggy couch, and got really close to me. He looked at me, he tugged on a curl of hair, and he said, That is not an answer, you are not that girl, Desire is not your favorite U2 song. You are not that girl, he repeated. Everyone likes Desire, but I know you better than that, and you are not that girl. What is your favorite U2 song?

My favorite U2 song was and is the same as it�d been since �Rattle & Hum� came out in 1988. You might not know it...I began telling Chris, who was still sitting close, with his hand on my knee. Don�t, he said, shaking his head while I hedged and stuttered. Hawkmoon, I said, loud and clear. Hawkmoon, from Rattle & Hum. He smiled almost inperceptably and then leaned over and kissed me, lightly, on the corner of my mouth. Now that is a favorite song, he said.

Don�t. Don�t be afraid to have an opinion, don�t give the answer you think people want, don�t answer too quickly, don�t forget who you are, don�t pander, don�t lie, don�t pretend. Don�t play a part, don�t think you are not exactly who you are supposed to be. Don�t underestimate the value of honesty, don�t chose pretty over interesting. Don�t apologize for yourself and don�t change who you are for others. Don�t.

I was 21 and Chris was 23 and I have no idea if the wisdom and sweetness and magic of the moment was really there or if I�ve Photoshopped those thoughts onto a hazy memory. I know that I ended up spending the night (what was left of it) with the Other Guy, who tasted like stale cigarettes and had a poster of Janet Jackson on his wall. I remember climbing down from his loft bed and creeping out of the fraternity house early in the morning, eager to get back to my friends, my job, my life. I don�t remember the Other Guy�s name, and I have no idea where Chris is now, but that night, that moment, that song are perfectly captured, frozen in my mind, lovely little souveniers from a past life.

There are certain songs, scents, scenes that capture more feeling than all the words in the world ever could. And Hawkmoon 269, for me, is one of those songs. The first time someone told me it was okay � no, it was better to be myself. The first time I went to bed with a guy and woke up not caring if I ever saw him again or not. The first time I told the truth, to a man, and didn�t worry about what he thought. Realizing that hot guys could be geeks and geeks could be hot. The smell of grass at dawn. The feel of a scratchy couch in a room where you really shouldn�t be. The utter lack of responsibility. Chlorine and hair spray and lip gloss and hormones and boxer shorts and regrets and tears and friends you were about to lose and people you had no idea you�d meet. Bare feet. Jeep Wranglers. Fumbling. The walk across the damp lawn, back to your room, back to your life, back to yourself.

All Lyrics are the property and copyright of their respective owners. All lyrics are provided for educational purposes and personal use only.

Hawkmoon 269

by U2
Like a desert needs rain
Like a town needs a name
I need your love.

Like a drifter needs a room
I need your love.
I need your love.

Like a rhythm unbroken
Like drums in the night
Like sweet soul music
Like sunlight
I need your love.

Like coming home
And you don't know where you've been
Like black coffee
Like nicotine
I need your love,
I need your love.

When the night has no end
And the day yet to begin
As the room spins around
I need your love
I need your love.

Like a Phoenix rising needs a holy tree
Like the sweet revenge
Of a bitter enemy
I need your love.

Like heat needs the sun
Like honey on her tongue
Like the muzzle of a gun
Like oxygen
I need your love,
I need your love.

When the night has no end
And the day yet to begin
As the room spins around
I need your love
I need your love.

Like thunder needs rain
Like a preacher needs pain
Like tongues of flame
Like a sweet stain
Need your love
I need your love.

Like a needle needs a vein
Like someone to blame
Like a thought unchained
Like a runaway train
Need your love,
I need your love.
Need your love
I need your love.

Like faith needs a doubt
Like a freeway out
Need your love.

Like powder needs a spark
Like lies need the dark
I need your love.

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