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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The words that compose my vocabulary: contrast

Elle Manning
Blizzard snow coating a street I was walking down this winter.

First being introduced to the song, the sound waves crashed against the walls of the car, louder than I would’ve played music on my own. 

My memory has clouded since, but my photo library tells me the day was sunny. The windows were rolled down, and likely the sunroof unlatched too, embodying the cliché kind of summer drive. I didn’t drive, but the car epitomized what I wanted my car ambiance to be like when I had my license—animated and exuberant, commanding attention from passersby as a byproduct of acting carefreely. 

I had never heard the song before—I preferred to stay in my familiar musical realm of elementary indie and comfort pop then, rarely diverging from my well-worn melodic trail. 

The meaning behind the song I otherwise would’ve deemed as surface level became apparent upon explanation. The lyrical language, although foreign and unfamiliar to me, became enveloped with significance as the driver explained how the message resonated with her as profound. 

“He had such bad anxiety, and he thought that as soon as he got famous and got money, he wouldn’t be like that anymore, but he still is. Listen.”

Her thoughts and commentary wove their way around the crowded verses, so much so that they play in my mind when I hear the song as if she were featured on the recording itself. 

Her favorable narration waned as she turned down the music and warned us of a line she hated in the bridge, a vapid taint to the otherwise poignant narrative. I agreed, even though I had never heard the song before. She drove her point to the extent where, now, her distaste for the pointless line is the clearest memory I have of her lyrical analysis. 

The song, forever tainted by that summer weekend, is permanently discolored by the context in which I discovered it—marked not in a damaging way, but a painfully reminiscent one. 

As the current mid-winter, dreary gray commands the landscape, I find myself sitting in the backseat of a different car, listening to the same song once again. The feeling of a laden rock colliding into my chest occurs as I identify the song from the first chords because, upon the mere notes, there is no other time I could ever be reminded of than my favorite summer. I watch as we roll over empty railroad tracks and pass by weary telephone lines, and, wearing a winter jacket, my mind is fogged with the wistfulness of warmth. 

The song, forever tainted by that summer weekend, is permanently discolored by the context in which I discovered it—marked not in a damaging way, but a painfully reminiscent one.

A subconscious smile forms on my face as I contemplate the dissimilarity of situations. How, now, I sit in a car with people I used to have no idea existed, my hair has been dyed darker, and my face is decorated by more than clumpy mascara—in other words, I’ve grown up. 

I half-heartedly offer my vocals to the quiet chorus of my company, pretending as if the song hasn’t embedded itself in too many of my nostalgia playlists. 

My attention snaps to the car’s indecisive, yet animated, DJ as she reaches to turn the volume up and informs the rest of us her favorite part is upcoming. Without having to specify, I already know her favorite line. The irony of her beloved favorite verse being the hated lyric of a past company makes sense to me in a jumbled, disorienting way. 

I don’t feel happy necessarily—more bittersweet—but I keep smiling as I am torn from my body and view the two versions of myself from a detached perspective. As the song shifts to the next, the road flies by, and I try to forget about what it would be like to transport back to the initial listening years ago, if only for a moment. 

Calendar pages are flipped and aged archaically, volume is turned up and down, hated lyrics are loved by others, and I am the same person subjected to contrasting company. 

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About the Contributor
Elle Manning
Elle Manning, Staff Writer
Elle is a sophomore beginning her first year on The Central Trend. She loves to read novels, create extravagant Pinterest boards, and journal in her seemingly scarce free time. Her biggest passions include writing and fashion, and she hopes to one day be able to combine the two into a future career. She has been a cheerleader since fourth grade and continues to spend her time on the sidelines every football season. In the spring, she enjoys playing tennis, even though she is still learning. She is often found with Spotify open; she loves to listen to music from a variety of different genres and decades. Most recent musical fixation: Weyes Blood Dream school: Columbia University Favorite book: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt Favorite comfort films: All of The Twilight Saga (primarily the first two movies)

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