“But I’m in so deep
You know I’m such a fool for you
You got me wrapped around your finger, ah, ha, ha
Do you have to let it linger?
Do you have to, do you have to,
Do you have to let it linger?”
“Linger” – The Cranberries

I read last weekend that one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard is gone. Dolores O’Riordan, the lilting voice of The Cranberries died unexpectedly at the young age of 46. When I read the words, I was a little overwhelmed. The song “Linger” has always lit something in me that I can’t find words for. For some people, smells or places trigger emotions…for me it has always been music. Music has always been able to put into sound and words what was in my heart.

My memories, thoughts, and experiences to this day have a soundtrack…every single one of them. That’s why my writing starts with a lyric – one that has somehow said something I couldn’t – or maybe wouldn’t. This isn’t a music review, I’m not here to tell you what I listen to is better than what you listen to – I only want to share with you how a certain song makes me feel and where it takes me when I hear it. I think everyone has at least a few of those and it doesn’t matter if it’s popular, a hip genre, or an obscure track – if it makes you feel something and takes you somewhere else, it’s part of the soundtrack of your life and should be treasured. “Linger” is one I treasure most.

“Linger” starts with a meandering guitar track, one that has me imagining a nonchalant partner; the silent side of a singular conversation meant for two. The lush string section comes next – almost as if responding to the careless guitar –  demanding a response, pleading for a second voice in the conversation. The melancholy lyrics and the ethereal vocals by O’Riordan are accusing yet forgiving; knowing yet resigned. They make me yearn for beauty and innocence that always seems just out of my reach.

I was in my 20’s when the song came out; out of college and trying to navigate adult relationships. Many of which felt much like the one O’Riordan sang about so touchingly. And I’m sure somewhere in there, this song was playing in my head right in the middle of one of them. But it wasn’t till later in life that I realized that it’s not a feeling of sadness and loss that envelopes me when I hear the song. It’s a feeling of possibilities; of a time when I let myself fall, wrapped in the newness of someone and not realizing or maybe caring, that I just might be falling alone.

All that emotion flooded up in me Monday, making me wonder if I could do that all again. I’ve been missing that feeling of excitement, anticipation and of hope that maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t fall alone. Truth be told, I miss heartache. I miss longing and I miss that feeling of breathlessness that comes with the sight of someone you want more than you should and the ones you know you should let go of but can’t. I’ve had touches of it here and there, but I take hold of the railing and stop the fall before I’ve even slightly leaned over the edge.

Every one of those moments, like everything else in my head – has a soundtrack too. Most have been edgy, confident, and independent. I long for others more like “Linger” – an aching knowledge of something I’ve known all along yet just can’t accept – that I want to be half of something else (another song lyric – thank you The Airborne Toxic Event). I think it might be about time to get close enough to see over the edge. Loosen my grip on the rail a bit.  And maybe the next time I start to fall, I’ll close my eyes and let “Linger” give me a gentle push…

“Oh, I thought the world of you.
I thought nothing could go wrong,
But I was wrong. I was wrong.
If you, if you could get by,
trying not to lie,
Things wouldn’t be so confused
and I wouldn’t feel so used,
But you always really knew,
I just wanna be with you.”