I needed something a little different this morning. And, I am not referring to my second trip to Dunkin’ Donuts already this week for an iced coffee. No, I needed something different to emit through my stereo.

While I usually love an audiobook or a podcast, I had just finished China Mieville’s The Scar, and a two week old episode of Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me! wasn’t cutting it. After two days of administering the state-mandated PARCC assessment, which consists of me walking back and forth for hours watching students take tests, I needed something with a beat because another day of mind-numbing computer monitoring was going to be rough. Peter Sagal explaining quotes from that week’s abysmal news cycle about the uncanny levels of U.S. corruption under the 45th president was not going to put a pep in my step and help prepare me for another full day of testing.

With my coffee resting safely in the cup holder and a chocolate glazed cake donut beside me, I perused through my iPhone looking for the soundtrack to Wicked. Mild annoyance and frustration filled me when I initially couldn’t find it, but I kept looking and eventually, between the options of “Defying Gravity” and “For Good”, settled on the latter.

As the voices of Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth filled my Fit, I remembered the rickety-looking clocktower on stage. Costumes and dancing flashed through my mind, as their voices ring out in unison.

“Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?/But because I knew you/I have been changed for good.”

I smiled as their voices fill my car but painfully so, as memories flooded through me. Memories of a life that seems almost foreign

Walking down the streets of Manhattan with my grandmother’s arm in mine.

Posing like the Hulk in front of the wax green goliath with my dad beside me.

And, slice after slice of New York pizza, smothered in parmesan cheese.

As the lines, “It well may be/That we will never meet again/In this lifetime/So let me say before we part/So much of me?/Is made of what I learned from you” began to resonate too strongly. I could not help but reflect on how much has changed within me and how much can never be the same. I felt my eyes begin to water. As I passed through another intersection, I switched songs because if I had wanted to waltz into work in a sad and sour mood, I would have remained listening to the Wait Wait . . . panel jokingly describe the fall of American liberty.

As “Defying Gravity,” erupted with its uplifting musical message and tempo, I found myself providing commentary to the lyrics.

“So though I can’t imagine how/I hope you’re happy right now”

I smiled solemnly and filled with melancholy as I thought, I hope you’re happy.

“Something has changed within me/Something is not the same/I’m through with playing by the rules/Of someone else’s game”

Wow, the psychic really hit the nail on the head with that one this past weekend. She even stopped her reading of someone else to tell me that while I do care what other people think, I don’t let it affect my choices or decisions.

“Can’t I make you understand?/You’re having delusions of grandeur”

Yup, worse than Luke thinking he can rescue his friends in Cloud City.

“Some things I cannot change/But till I try, I’ll never know!”

Indeed. Resistance is not futile.

“Too long I’ve been afraid of/Losing love I guess I’ve lost/Well, if that’s love/It comes at much too high a cost!”

I felt like I needed to belt out the next bit here.

Should I?

Yes.

The answer to that question should always be, yes.

I pulled into a parking spot, watching the minutes shift forward on my dash’s clock. But, I sang along, sounding more like a dying cat than the Wicked Witch of the West, as “I’m defying gravity/And you can’t pull me down” blared through the stereo.

Before the song finished, I turned off my car and headed toward another day of testing.

 

“So if you care to find me/Look to the western sky!”

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