Got a little story to tell. I am living in New Zealand right now and this past week my study abroad group and I went to the Cook Islands. I don’t need to tell you that an island like that, tropical, surrounded by coral, carpeted in deep green, is unbelievably beautiful.
But it was exhausting — the heat; being with 18 other people for 6 days straight; all of the new and amazing foods and people and sights and experiences.
We were due at the airport at 1am on our last day, and we were all staying in the same house and restlessly mucking about till it was time to leave. I’d been feeling increasingly ill and unbelievably exhausted over the past 2 days, and our 4 hours on the beach earlier that day left me burned to a shriveled crisp. All I wanted to do was leave but time seemed to stop moving. I was wandering up and down stairs, lying down only to toss and turn to try to find a place to lay that wasn’t painful. I was trying to avoid voices because I’d had so many buffeting my ears and I wanted silence.
I was standing by the door digging through my bag when my study abroad adviser, who’s got quiet insight into feeling which I hate to love, asked me if I was all right
[he texted me to see how I was feeling while I was writing this…WHAT IS THIS HOW DOES HE KNOW]. I was grim-faced in my reply and he saw that as I was pulling out my headphones to try to find somewhere quiet. He told me to go upstairs, go outside where the breeze would feel nice on my burns.
I did, and the stairs underfoot groaned loudly.
Outside in the blue moonlit night the wind was strong and the ocean far below was loud. I closed the doors behind me, locking myself into solitude, and sat on a wooden chair with my feet pressed to the railing in front of me.
When the song came on, the wind had already begun to burrow through my skin and force my bones to quiver, but I welcomed it, like my chills would cleanse me.
The Sixth Station has long been probably the most emotive songs I’ve known in my life. It’s deeply entwined with the imagery from its scene, but the song definitely lives on its own.
In the middle of the night when this song came on, while I shivered and stared at the moonlit waters, I started to cry. I cried because I hurt so badly and I so desperately needed the comfort these piano notes offered me.
Sitting on a deck in the dark overlooking the ocean, listening to The Sixth Station, crying silently because when was the last time I felt so miserable for so many reasons. It was a terrible moment but I will confess now it was terribly beautiful. It was life being felt most acutely, painfully but with sublime beauty. I’ll never listen to that song again in that place when I needed those piano notes so desperately. I’ll never redo that moment, and I doubt I’ll ever forget it.