It’s funny, that word on the street sign that we walked past so many times in our young, ignorant days. We saw it countless times but it never meant anything. Liberty. All we did was strive for freedom. We wanted it so badly that we were pulled towards it, attracted to its name. And we didn’t even know it. It seemed right, I guess. It was meant to happen. Like fate, if such a thing is real.
“We have nothing to do” was our anthem. A lot of kids say that, but for us it was true. We had nothing to do and nowhere to go.
So we walked to Liberty Street, to a small, abandoned store-front with dust on the floor and white paint peeling off the walls. Bands looking to make it big came here to die. Hopeful souls poured out their lives in what was truly independent. The music was never great. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. But almost always somewhere in between. Twenty-somethings banging their heads to punk ballads about break-ups, or hipsters acoustically lulling us to near sleep. They had dreams, and they wanted freedom. But their dreams stayed dreams, it seemed.
We were the only ones there. Standing with a few inches of space between us. Swaying awkwardly to the tune, we clapped and smiled to show them we were there. We were the only ones, and that was pitiful.
But it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that we were young and had no idea what we were doing. It didn’t matter that we looked foolish, or that they looked foolish, or that we were alone. Even the future – the one we knew would come – didn’t matter.
What mattered was that we shared something. Standing next to each other, listening to the same notes, the same chords, the same words. Standing together, feet tired from walking, we shared something. We didn’t talk to each other, we didn’t look at each other, and we didn’t hold hands. We lost ourselves for a while, and we were distant. But, despite our distance, we shared something.
You absorbed that sound and through you it passed to me. And between us it was more than sound, more than music. It wasn’t just guitars, and drums, and voices anymore. It was something else. Something vastly louder and exponentially more complicated.
It wasn’t beautiful or symmetrical. It wasn’t graceful or delicate. It just was. It exploded in our ears. It hummed in our bones. It shouted in our hearts.
And as I stood there, I realized that there was nowhere I could be, nothing I could be doing, and no one I could be with who could make me feel as infinite as I felt then. We stood there, the world spinning around us, time wrapping around our feet, listening to bitter-sweet vibrations; we stood there, helping each other exist.
We shared something.
We shared what I dare not write for fear that it doesn’t exist.
We left ourselves there, on Liberty Street, to share the sound.
And we left ourselves there, on Liberty Street, to wonder what it means.