Spring Heartbeats

Dark blue zip-up hoodies and the lake. Pine trees and cloudy skies. The feeling you get when that boy, the one from cross-country with the brown hair and vintage Nikes, pulls on the strings of his hooded sweatshirt and fixes his blue eyes on you. Knowing that you’re only seventeen and yet still feeling like you have the whole world at your feet. Like you just get everything.

And then, navy blue t-shirts that just say “COLLEGE” and early morning walks down the city block. Mochas and the cloudy skies of spring. The feeling that swells, like hugging yourself from the inside, when his voice softens and lilts, and you’re suddenly smelling woodsmoke and standing across a campfire under a starry night. “In one night…” The universe is full of possibilities, of books and business and boys. You wonder what will happen today, and you’re lucky that way…to know that you’re thirty-two but can still remember exactly how it felt to feel seventeen. You still have the whole world at your feet, and now, really, you get everything.

Heartbeats, certain things you ought to know

It’s always fascinating to me, how I both know and don’t, when a day or a moment or an experience is going to become cemented in my mind + heart forever.

Little more than four years ago – it seems so crazy, how long ago that is, yet it feels like yesterday – it was a cloudy, cool, early spring day like this one. I had slipped out of bed, thrown on my favorite shirt – a navy blue “COLLEGE” t-shirt that I had gotten in NYC and thought was hilarious – a cute pair of jeans, threw my long hair up into a ponytail, slipped my feet into a pair of sandals, and strolled a couple blocks from my apartment to Muddy Waters (which later that year was replaced by Urban Bean) to grab a mocha. The plan to move up north to my parent’s lakeside cabin for the summer had already been put into place, and walking back, I took in the budding green of the trees and reminded myself to enjoy this while I could…the ability to walk two blocks to a coffeeshop (something I had wanted almost my entire adult life), to be in the middle of Uptown, and live within striking distance to all of my friends. That would all change in less than a month.

I went back to my apartment, sat next to an open window, cued up Heartbeats by José González, and wrote the above story. I remember being filled with a tingling gratitude…I was a handful of months in from having quit my 9-5 therapist gig, and I sat there, drinking my mocha and staring out the window at the cloudy day, a little giddy that I had the freedom to do all of this. I had an idea that this was going to become a day that I would remember forever, but I didn’t really realize why, or how so. Now I think back on it and remember every detail distinctly, mostly because I can now cite that as one of the last days before the summer (and fall) that would change my entire life.

As I get older, and as I sit here, at my desk by an open window, drinking a latte I made for myself (Bulletproof coffee FTW), I like remembering those things. I like looking back and remembering a day before everything miraculously, magically changed…because sometimes I want to know that those things can still happen. That the memories I’m making today, as I breathe in the early spring air, play Heartbeats on repeat, and hug myself from the inside at the thought of writing all day, might just end up what I remember as Being right before everything changed.

And there’s still a certain gratitude to all of it…being able to simply decide to write all day is not something that will ever, ever get old. I’m really lucky to have this kind of freedom, and I’m really lucky to have days like today to remind me of it.

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About Amber L.

Hi! I'm Amber. I've been telling stories with books and blogs since 2004. I also spent 10 years working as a behavior therapist, which I now put to proper use by publishing thought pieces and dissertations on '80s pop music and the defining TV shows of our current times ('The Bachelor', 'Vanderpump Rules', etc). I can also be credited with single-handedly ruining the city of Portland, OR just by moving here.

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