The Soundtrack of My Life – 12 – Just Around the Riverbend

So, if you weren’t aware by now, I am a homosexual. If me mentioning my husband and my boyfriend wasn’t enough to let you in on the secret, I thought I would drop in my next track. It also pulls double duty and reveals my immature nature and love of anything Disney. (However, they’re kind of on my shit list at the moment for obvious reasons.)

When this movie came out it made just as much, if not more so, of an impact on my life like Beauty and the Beast had a few years prior. All summer I listened to this tape (yes, tape) over and over again, re-enacting scenes and singing it at the top of my lungs. How my parents did not know I was gay is truly beyond me. I guess hopeful, Christian longing for your son to have a wife and kids, I suppose. (But side note: kudos to my parents for being so supporting and accepting of who I was as a “straight” man and not forcing toxic masculinity upon me.)

This song was a particular favorite of mine. I imagine it spoke to my need for something new and exciting, and the longing for something more, even though it may be scary not knowing “what’s around the riverbend.”

This ballad has been on my mind a lot lately primarily because: 1) it’s a banger and 2) the summer that this movie was released into my open “obsession slot” I went up to stay for a week with my grandmother in the house her and my grandfather had built in the woods. I would wander all through the woods and up the dirt road, listening to this tape and singing. You would have thought that after she and I watched a mountain lion walk up the dirt road, in front of her house, I would have stopped doing that, but no. The show must go on. Even if you may be the meal for an apex feline predator.

It is truly in the middle of nowhere and it’s about 3-4 hours from any of my family, so getting up there to do maintenance is non-existent. As far as I am aware, it is sitting vacant, rotting away. Which is unfortunate. My grandmother loved, loved, loved this house. She truly did not want to concede that she could not live there anymore, because of her age, but she understood the risk of living so far from anything. She ended up coming to live with us, with the caveat that my mother and father would take her up there for a visit from time to time. We hardly did that unfortunately.

From time to time my thoughts become obsessed with “the cabin.” I’ll dream of it in some sort of danger, like an encroaching roadway or housing development. I don’t quite know what these dreams mean, but they genuinely cause me a lot of distress. I dreamt of it a few nights ago and it has been on my mind since. I think because I dread of the state of it. It wasn’t in the best of shape the last time I saw it, some ten years ago.

It’s amazing how something that played such a huge role in your life can just be left in the past. My grandmother would be devastated to know it hasn’t been used in some time. At least, as far as I know. It’s not someplace you can just pop in for a visit. If you go, the first day is mainly cleaning/maintenance. That’s if you can get to it. The winding, hilly dirt road isn’t very friendly if you don’t have a truck or SUV. This last fact has kept me away because I don’t really have any means to get back there, and I am sure as hell not going to put my Toyota hybrid at risk for some sentimental excursion.

Another memory just popped into my head, but this was also the summer that I definitively decided I wanted to be a writer. This was between my 3rd and 4th grade years, which means I had just read “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” and fell in love with the written word. I was enthralled with the ability a story had to say one thing but mean something entirely different. I have tried since then to imitate C.S. Lewis’s care-free writing style, but I lack the finesse and polish.

I remember making the grand pronouncement to my grandmother and she was so supportive. She listened to or read EVERYTHING I gave her. I will never forget her support. She was everything to me.

In between singing aloud astride a mountain, my pencil scribbled away in a Lisa Frank spiral notebook about a prince named Kool who comes across a young man, alone in the woods, suffering from amnesia. Kool decides to name him Speed and the two go on wild adventures together. Symbolism for me finding my true identity?! Find out on the next mindless drone of the continuing adventures of a middle-aged faguette!

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