The Enya Tax
Originally written June 22nd 2020
Tonight I paid the Enya tax. I didn’t have to; I do it voluntarily to remind me of a particular time in my life. As a very young woman, on my own for the first time, I believed there was no such thing as a good guy. This was because of a great deal of trauma I experienced. I knew about lots of trauma from other women too. I was experiencing for the first time how the pain is still with you all the time even when the persons who caused the original harm are gone. To be honest I was in a tailspin of destructive behavior. I sought out harsh things, I drank too much, and I didn’t let anything touch my heart.
Then one day I met Mr. Right. Literally, his last name was Wright. He was the good friend of a friend. They were both guys I had met at punk and metal shows in a mosh pit. Both were decent musicians. Long haired, unacceptably weird, and exactly the sort of people I felt most comfortable getting a bit wild and destructive around. In short, my people.
One night after an evening of heavy drinking at a show I stumbled home in a cab with them to their apartment.We sat around talking about the show, dissecting the music while one of the guys made up the couch for me to sleep. Neither knew I played violin or that I knew anything about music. They both looked at me quizzically when I answered correctly "what key was that song in?"referring to the night's performer's original music. So I owned up to my fiddle playing and other musical experience.
Upon this discovery Mr. (W)Right ran to his room and returned with a mix tape he had made he wanted me to hear. Our mutual friend rolled his eyes and was shaking his head,"Not this again."
This guy, Mr. Wright, was literally the best looking man I had ever seen in real life. Long dark hair, tall, with perfect teeth and a warm smile which betrayed his otherwise carefully chosen cold vampiresque style. He was in two local rock bands with a stage presence that reminded me of David Bowie. I expected some obscure goth music or maybe King Crimson to come blasting from the hifi which took up an entire wall and place of pride in the tiny apartment.
It was Enya. Like a whole mix tape of Enya and Clannad. I was lying there on the sofa speechless when he asked me “So do you think you could play on some stuff similar to this?” I laughed and said sure and asked had he written anything. He pulled out notes, and tabs and scribbled sheet music from the coffee table, eagerly showing me.
I looked over, still wondering when the joke was coming. “So why do you like this stuff?” I asked, trying not to dampen his enthusiasm as Enya, which I considered the “woodland creature” elevator music of the day, played on.
“It’s like another world: another complete and different world from my own.” He looked up from his pages. “And that’s what I want my music to do.” He looked totally serious. “I want to make something so it’s its own thing - it is the mood maker.”
“So you’re willing to pay the Enya tax?” I asked. “The fact that literally every other musician will think you are soft in the head and a corny cheeseball,” I said rather teasingly.
“Yes, because I learn something different every time I listen to something I don’t understand.” He blushed. “Plus fuck what anyone else thinks.”
Later, after we had all had many more drinks, Mr.(W)Right was tucking me into the couch when I tried to kiss him. He stopped me gently.“Oh you’re great, but I don’t do that.” He petted my head. “Kiss me when you’re sober.”
The next day they were both gone to their day jobs as breakfast cooks. I stumbled into the kitchen - pleased to see they had left me some coffee - and then to the bathroom where a note with my name in calligraphy was tied to a bottle of bubble bath.
“We cleaned the tub. Take a bath. And pay the Enya tax. The tape is rewound, just press play.”
So I did, and as I slipped into the bubbles holding my coffee I for the first time imagined really good men could exist and they might even be worth getting to know as more than just friends. I never did kiss him. But, literally every time I hear Enya or Clannad I think about him. And I still have the feeling the world could be filled with good people I haven’t met before who are worth knowing.
I still need to be reminded of that feeling from time to time. So thanks Mr. (W)Right, wherever you are. I hope you are out there happily making music that is its own thing.
Originally written on April 17th 2020
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