Updated: Jan 22

My Story in Song: Part 3

One of the things I love most about music is its ability to lift us out of our present circumstances and whisk us away to another point in time. Each song, then, has the potential to become a time capsule of sorts – a container within which precious memories are housed, preserved in such a way that allows us to return to them as often as we’d like.

Powerless brings me back to my grade seven classroom, where I’m playing cards with the boy I’ve very slowly but steadily been growing to care for. He’s thrilled to share his heritage with the up-and-coming folk-pop singer, and to say that he’s being vocal about it would be a gross understatement. It’s a sweet time in my life, hopeful and new and exciting, and the memory never fails to make me smile.

Today, however, this song takes me on a detour, due to the interference of another – much more literal – time capsule. I’m talking with that same boy, but instead of touching down in the familiarity of my old classroom, we’re lingering in a church hall at the conclusion of our elementary school reunion. We’re all grown up and reminiscing about the time we used to while away playing cards.

He looks different now, older. But every so often, I catch a glimpse of the boy I used to know.

A familiar gesture. His smile. The light that flashes in his eyes when he’s got something important to say. There’s no mistaking him, and I’m drawn in – not only by comforting memories, but also by undiscovered reality. It’s a feeling I haven’t experienced since… well, since the last time I saw him, all those years ago.

Despite this, I know that the boy from my past is not the man for me. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to reach out to him in the days that follow. My reaction is polarizing. On the one hand, I want to hold on to that exciting, hopeful, newness that I thought I’d lost for good. On the other hand, my relationship may be hanging by a thread, but the bottom line is, I still have a boyfriend, and my response, though unbidden, feels a lot like cheating.

For the next couple of weeks, I’ll struggle. But I’ll hold on to the truth that I know deep within my soul:

‘He’s not the man for you.’

I repeat this phrase until the turbulence subsides and my days regain a semblance of normalcy. But what’s left in the wake of the storm is a question I still won’t allow myself to answer. If this man who elicited such a response in me isn’t my “one,” what does that say about my boyfriend, a man for whom I feel almost nothing?

That last thread is beginning to unravel. I may not be sure of what love is at this point, but I’m becoming less and less able to ignore the fact that I don’t love my boyfriend. At least not in the way that I should.

Once more, I’ll square my shoulders and knuckle down, stubbornly trying my best to “make it work.” But our days are numbered, and the end is coming sooner than we think.

Listen to Powerless here