This song was my spring of 1998
Earlier today, ladysisyphus
quipped on twitter that her Jars of Clay cover band would be called Markan Supremacy and the Two-Source Hypothesis.
I guffawed at the biblical studies joke, and then got to thinking about Jars of Clay. By the time I'd responded, I really, REALLY needed to listen to the song linked above.
I'd gotten into Jars of Clay as a high schooler a little bit, because a friend from camp, who was also my prom date, was into them. I want to point out that he was an agnostic child of fairly hippie parents, which was unusual at the time even in Kent, Ohio, and he and his best friend were really into "Flood" when it came out. They had the eponymous album and had us all listening to it when we got together on school breaks. Which we did, because we didn't have the internet so much yet, and geek camp kids like us got their parents to drive them up for slumber parties over the holidays. Man, we had such patient parents. Then again, I think my parents felt that a herd of smart kids taking over their living room and jamming on the piano was a fairly awesome thing. One kid would play laying under it, and he could play improvised variations on Mary had a Little Lamb that were amazing and funny, WHILE playing from the floor.
Anyway. So fast forward to 1998, when I was a struggling junior in college, with a horrible crush on a young man whose spiritual crises were entirely different from mine, but dovetailed into this horrible emo dramatic mess that spiraled out of control as the summer and fall wore on. The album Much Afraid
actually came out in 1997, but by spring 1998, this was on my CD player all the damn time. This song, "Fade to Grey," caught me immediately: that opening loop with the fuzzy phaser circuit effect on it still gets me immediately. I listened to it over and over and over, an hour or more at a time. I listened while I studied for finals, liked my library job better than biochemistry, worried about how badly I was doing in my major, considered taking some religious studies classes, and got ready for my first summer research job. We were all struggling with sexuality and faith, but I was so defensive I had trouble explaining a lot of things to anyone else, or even giving them the opportunity to listen. (Even though I never shut up.)
All the details of the hookup drama we were having came out over Dead Week (between finals and graduation). I remember finding out, being angry and sad and confused as hell, and joining friends from band for the season finale of some show about a girl who slayed vampires, and how she ended up--spoilers!--turning her vampire boyfriend good again but having to kill him. I bawled at this show I had never seen before. Later that week I remember me and junior crush and one of the other girls he'd been messing about with, whom I sorta-kinda had a bit of a crush on myself, moving his couch from his senior dorm room to her new apartment and taking a break on it right there on the sidewalk between Branford and JE. We were working together and giving each other shit like friends, even though we were all wrapped up in so much pain. I remember that the other girl junior crush had been messing around with had just started dating another woman in our crowd, and how terrifically adorable they were. I remember another friend, an ex-boyfriend in fact, crying on my shoulder over a horrible breakup at a crazy birthday-party-cum-band-party. Then I went home for a week or two, to see my high school prom date get married, very young, to his college sweetheart, while his best bud from high school looked on with _his_ young wife and child. I still don't understand how we packed that much angst in: I do remember sleeping, though it seems like we wouldn't have had the time.
Today, I remembered this song and had to hear it again. One listen turned into two, three, four, five, listening to other tracks from the album on YouTube, coming back to listen to this one, over, and over, and over. We're in such different places. Prom date split up with his college sweetheart and remarried to a very nice lady (from what I can tell on Facebook) and is still in Ohio. Junior year crush has an amazing wife and two gorgeous little boys in London and we've worried about him over the years as his work took him to some dangerous places. Of the other two women in the drama, one is now a religious studies prof in the Carolinas with a marvelous girlfriend who joins us to dance like maniacs and throw back the bourbon at reunions. I ended up being my kinda-sorta-crush-friend's maid of honor when she ended up marrying my ex-boyfriend who had been crying on my shoulder at that party (and yes, junior year crush was his best man), and they have two beautiful kids and live in Alabama. That couch had its legs sawed off when kinda-sorta-crush-friend and I moved to a sublet together the following summer and had trouble fitting it in the door, it was the couch from which we binge-watched more Buffy on the hottest days of the year, and it was later abandoned on Old Campus with a sign saying "COUCH, HOUSE TRAINED, FREE TO GOOD HOME." We've gone through fallings-out and reconnections, we've all changed how we describe our beliefs, religious and otherwise, and we've taken up professions we only had faint inklings of at the time.
What a difference 16 years makes, but what little difference it makes at all.