[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] 5pm_weds

Ain't Nobody
Clare Maguire
Light After Dark

: I don't want to comment on having missed this place. I just want to fall back into it, head first, so to that end, here I go stepping out of my temporary apartment in Budapest, three years ago almost exactly. Despite not having traveled alone since then, it's still among my most loved travel traditions: the first day I arrive in a new city, jetlagged and dazzled, I drop my suitcase and step outside with my camera, headphones [and albums specially downloaded for the trip], and a map. And then I just start walking. Fall into the city, head first.

Budapest was not, at the time, the most pleasant experience of my life. I was in an exceptionally raw, new place -- and something shifted in me about two days in. I had expected to spend the trip as a sort of romantic getaway with myself -- reconnect with myself, figure out what I wanted, take the time to bask in the glow of Fibs. Instead, I got smashed in the face with a whole delirious host of adult uncertainties. The trip was not a celebration of my independence, but a big question mark at the end of who I was at all. I fell apart. I am still putting myself back together. It will take me a lifetime.

But, three years have passed, a whole delirious host of adult changes in the interim, and when I look back on Budapest (or 2011, proper) now, I no longer see it as this dead zone of a year. As I wrote about with 2009. In fact, these days, I find myself returning to those years more often than the ones where I felt most intensely. That may have something to do with metaphysical emotional ~states that I won't get into right now, but I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that I was feeling a lot. Things were potent. I just didn't know how to -- or that I was -- processing them.

Thank god for music. Thank god for being able to return, in some small way, to that space, and to know that I am both of that time, in that time -- and far removed from it.

This album -- electro-Britpop, soulful powerful female vocals -- was on my headphones before I knew how to process: as I stepped out of the antique storefront below my apartment and onto Vámház körút. And when I hear it now, I am back there -- but more than that, I am back there at the beginning, before that paradigm shift, before I knew I was going to break. I was in Budapest and I was whole and this was my soundtrack. And what a soundtrack. It stands alone; it's a song I've always wanted to share with you independent of the story attached. But it is vibrant: it is a song that encapsulates that wholeness, in me. It was a song dedicated to what had loved me (more accurately, what I had loved) up to that point, an anthem against being in a relationship, a direct hit to the heart of cherry cocaine.

Now, I've changed (obviously; you know better than anyone!) -- but that independent, fiery little passionista is still raging in me somewhere. And a few weeks ago, when I broke out this song again, I felt her rise --- & it is a violent relief.

Part of me aches to be back in Budapest -- Europe, period. The scent of melting snow in late February, that freshness in the air, the promise of spring -- all that, wrapped around grey. Grey skies, grey architecture, grey streets, and Europe, despite its urban beauty, is always grey in my memory. Not negatively, at all -- and maybe that's the point. That grey feeling I get, when I am all too adult -- it's not all bad. It's mixed up, but there's a lot still there.

There is a lot here, too.
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