This morning, driving to work, the radio on, a song begins. I hear the opening chords and immediately relax. I don’t recognize the song, but I recognize the tone. Perhaps, I think, it will be a boring song, a mundane song, one that is embedded in my past, but too familiar to be interesting. Still, something in me settled down deeply, with pleasure, as if into an old familiar armchair. This was not going to be a brand new song I needed to pay attention to to see if I liked it. Nor would I have to endure a song I didn’t like much, or turn off the radio to silence one I hated. No, something was coming that my body knew I loved.
And then the voice came in. Of course, Van. Into the Mystic.
And I am transported to the cocoon of bed and night and Geoffrey then.
We do not go to bed without music. In his apartment there must always be a soundtrack. For sleeping, he makes special tapes. The wrapper he makes for them is of lavender construction paper with the songs of Side A typed in a column on the left, the songs of Side B typed in a column on the right. He types the title on the spine, then cuts the paper with scissors to fit perfectly into the hard clear plastic case. There are many lavender tapes, and many other collections, all typed, titled and color-coded -- red for loud rock, blue for softer.
The lavender sleep tapes weave a soft web.
I listen as we fuck every night in the sheets we rarely wash. They have a comfortable familiar scent, the smell of New York City apartments that have been lived in a long time. The same with the nubby electric blanket.
Into the Mystic, Van’s voice, Madame George – these endless strings of soft, warm sound carry me beyond where I am. I yield to those songs so easily in the dark. These nights with Geoffrey’s body so natural to mine, so easy to fall asleep with, his arms with no ambivalence around me, his body under me, still inside, my head fits his shoulder perfectly. And Van sings so long, so far out into the night without boundary, far enough away that we all stay lost till morning.