Experience through ethereality


Eva L

In the car on the way home from a family function, I forced my dad to listen to the song which had been on my mind for so long: “Experience.”

How is it that a simple mashup of notes written on a sheet of paper and translated to notes on a piano can be so exquisitely convoluted? Even without words, an elementary tune can spark a conflagration in the mind and body of any given listener. 

Especially one with synesthesia. 

Synesthesia is, in simple terms, experiencing one sense through another, like tasting colors or hearing textures. Synesthesia, however, is not merely one sense provoked by one sense. Rather, it’s the interspersion of an inexplicable sensory experience into the mind of the listener. 

For some people, myself included, hearing a simple song can create entire movies in the mind. I listen to music every chance I have. I’ve made art of what these songs stimulate in me—I’ve written them out, but nothing compares to Ludivico Einaudi’s Experience. 

Despite not having any words, Experience has given me the most ethereal vision of any song I’ve listened to. 

It’s the same every time—though illusory, the amalgamation of these images in my head never fails to leave me agog. 

She stands behind the white beaded curtain, waiting for her cue to walk down the lined aisle. 

The flowy gown, the makeup caked onto her face, hair pulled into an immaculately-styled bun; this isn’t her. She knows that. She wants nothing more than to run away from this place, away from the life her family created for her. The life she’s never wanted but has been forced to live. 

She glances around her, flowers drooping off of the sides of the gazebo. She backs away from the curtain. She leans over the rail; what if she does it? What if she were to escape? 

And she runs so far and so fast that the world behind her is completely gone—completely new. 

But she remembers why everybody’s gathered there: she’s to be wed to an amazing man. He’s wealthy, he’s handsome, he’s kind—why can’t that be enough for her? She despises the way her heart and mind clash over something so simple—it’s only the rest of her life, why doesn’t this suffice for her? 

She peeks her head out of the opening in the drapes that had been shading her from the gaze of everybody in the yard. She sees her father talking to the priest, her mother fixing the flower arrangements. She watches her future husband pace back and forth over the fallen petals on the ground, knowing full well that he isn’t happy, either. 

And that’s when it clicks. 

This isn’t merely what’s best for her. 

And so without a second thought, she runs. 

Out the back of the gazebo, she runs. 

Despite the frantic shouts following from where she had left, she runs. 

Her father bellows in a rage—now he can’t get what he wants—but she continues to run until she can’t hear the screams anymore. 

Edges of her gown in her grasp, she kicks off her shoes. The open field awaits her. She had never been given an opportunity to feel the grass until now. The smell of fresh lilies—even the putrid stench of manure as she runs past the cattle field—is all astonishing to her. Entirely new, entirely real. 

And she runs so far and so fast that the world behind her is completely gone—completely new. 

Train tracks appear in the distance, and she’s enamored with the steam she sees coming up over the hill. Curious as to what this new world holds, she sprints toward it. 

The train comes faster than she’d imagined any manmade body could possibly travel. She leaps toward it in an attempt to catch up—to understand how any worldly being could possibly be so free and guided all at once. 

Until the train is out of reach.

Alas, she continues to bound over the land beneath her like a drop of water cascades down a glass pane. 

Because, like me, she’s free. 

The convoluted creations by even someone of a commonplace community will always captivate me. 

I will continue to create based on these.

And, this time, synesthesia won’t be the only culprit.