I’ve found my time machine


The version of me listening to these songs now, and the versions of me that I become every listen.

Time travel may not be possible, but the next best thing is quite easily accessible. A small triangle. So minuscule, so tiny, yet it holds the power to transport me from wherever I am to wherever I’ve been in all ways other than physical.

From the passenger seat in the car, I dare to press play. The opening notes of “Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” by Taylor Swift fill my ears, and I’m in Florida. The year is 2021, and seventh grade is in full swing. I’m on spring break, and I’m anxiously awaiting the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version). Two days prior to the release date, Swift decides to release “Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault).” I listen to it on the way to the pool, all is well, and I have no school to stress over.

From my desk in geometry, the play button doesn’t need to be pressed, for Swift’s discography is on shuffle. “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)” starts playing. Suddenly, the first snowfall of the year is delicately descending, and I’m in my bedroom. It’s Nov. 12, 2021, and I’m drinking the one-day-only Taylor’s Version latte from Starbucks. It’s a Friday, the week is over, and I’ve strayed from my normal sweatshirt and leggings. My sweater is stolen from my sister’s closet, and I’m wearing my favorite jeans.

By force, each lyric is etched into my undeveloped brain, and by the time I became a Swiftie again at an older age, I already knew every word.

From my room, I crave a sense of nostalgia. I’m shuffling my liked songs, seeing what random song that I haven’t listened to in years will be chosen to reenter my life by the fate of the shuffle button. This time, I’ve gone further back than I planned. 2020, a dark time for many. “Heather” by Conan Gray begins, and I’m lying on my bed, AirPods in, staring at the ceiling. I have never been given anyone’s sweater. Also, I’ve just started seventh grade. I don’t know why I felt the need to be so dramatic.

From the hallway, I have once again put Swift’s discography on shuffle. It’s a common occurrence. The opening lyrics of “Starlight” commence, and before I can change it—it’s not Taylor’s Version—I’m in the very back of my mom’s old car. I’m around four or five, my eyes are permanently being rolled, and my hands are stuck to the side of my head covering my ears. My mom and Emily are in the driver and passenger seats respectively, and I am without a voice in the matter of what we listen to.

They control the music, and Red is loaded into the car’s C.D. player. In my unexplainable urge to be different from both of them, I strongly express my disdain for Swift as well as One Direction. By force, each lyric is etched into my undeveloped brain, and by the time I became a Swiftie again at an older age, I already knew every word.

Two lines appear, and I click pause. I am snapped back to reality, and I keep my reminiscence contained within the next song and previous song buttons.