Have you ever questioned that ecstatic high you get when you’re listening to good music? Or that rush that delves, melting your insides when your favorite song’s being played on the radio? Or maybe the way you shiver when each high note’s being hit perfectly? A whelming sensation that tingles your nerve endings irrationally and yet is treated as the most rational phenomenon ever endured by humanity.
Personally, a part of me has always been a devotee of music. I worshipped harmony despite lacking it; I was always an impulsive mess, nothing about me was harmonized—not even the feeling I got listening to one. But, dear Orpheus, I will never believe in anything as much as I believe in music.
See, I was a creature of habit; emotional detachment was harder to quit than nicotine.
It wasn’t until my grandmother decided to attempt a change in my habits that I learned that playing instruments was better than playing words. Before I learned how to spell happy in my diary, I learned how to voice melancholy through melodies.
She was always aware of my chameleon tendencies and my stuttering silence, of how I treated emotions like they were hallucinations, of how I lacked the talent to express them—unlike the rest of her grandchildren, excelling at it to the point of being able to dramatize as well—and the motivation to want to express them. People made me feel uneasy, easily misplaced and misunderstood at times when I thought my voice was loud and clear. I gave up.
Until one night, we both snuck out to the living room after bedtime, where a piano that no one ever dared to touch except her sat under a window.
“I only managed to pour my heart out into this thing twice.” She told me. “The first time was when I fell in love with your grandfather, the second time was when he died; love and heartbreak are two of the most intense emotions your heart will ever ache with. And sometimes, no amount of words or tears will be enough to help you contain or understand them. Sometimes, the only way you can feel—is through music. Intimacy has always been a virtue of music, almost as if it’s a trait we were all born with.”
Here’s a secret: when you’re in love, your brain secretes chemicals that are responsible for the butterflies, the adrenaline rush, and the ecstatic delirium. The same chemicals are produced when you’re listening to music. That’s why listening to a new album leaves your heart racing and your lungs unable to breathe properly, like the first time you hold hands with your crush or the feeling of your first kiss.
So when I tell you I find you in all the parts of my favourite songs that I like, or that I feel you through every guitar string I’ve been itching to touch, or that I hear your lazy Saturday morning sighs when we’re cuddling in your car in every serene piano tile, or when I tell you that I made you a mixtape, or that I promise once my hands stop trembling at the touch of instruments I’ll write music for you with all the melodies that are tinted by your essence, or that I want to go to a million concerts with you or ask if you want to cruise around and put our playlists on shuffle and the volume up high, I mean I’m terribly, tantalizingly, tremendously in love with you.
When I tell you I hear music when you speak, I mean my brain’s drowning in dopamine.
When I tell you I love you more than Eurydice loved Orpheus, it means I don’t mind turning the music off when you’re around.
Header photo was drawn by the talented Tala Muhammed.