Pfc Shane M. Reifert

Pfc Shane M. Reifert
Shane during a sweep of the Shuryak Valley, approximately 3 weeks before he was killed. Photo Credit: PFC Sean Stromback

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"I thought this wouldn't hurt a lot, I guess not"

Shane and I are driving in the car somewhere. I am driving, like always, because Shane doesn't like to drive. He is sitting in the passenger seat. I declare that it's my turn to pick some music. 

I put on one of my favorite songs, "Kids" by MGMT. Shane has never heard this song, as far as I am aware. At the time, I've never heard the song played on the radio. 

The first 15 seconds or so of the song play. I'm nervous for Shane's opinion because I'm sharing a song that means something to me.

"What is this? More of your terrible world music?"

My heart sinks. 

"Oh, come on! This is my favorite song. It's good! It's MGMT! And it's not world music."

"I don't know; I think it's more of your world music that you try to get me to listen to."

"Fine you don't have to like it but I'm listening to the whole song."

Shane had hurt my feelings without knowing that he had done so. Granted, I didn't write or perform the song. But it really meant something to me and I wanted the song to mean something to Shane, too. It was the sort of song that I could listen to while laying in the grass on a sunny day, looking at clouds and thinking about absolutely nothing.

*          *          *          *          *

I find myself in the car again. I am driving alone, like always. Well over a year has past since Shane and I listened to "Kids" in the car.

I had grabbed Shane's ipod off of the table before I left the house and I'm listening to that on shuffle. Some of the songs are familiar. Some I've never heard. Some are too violent. Some make me too sad. There's a lot of skipping around while I'm driving. A few songs have played, but nothing of note, and I'm on the expressway. A familiar intro comes on, one with the sound of children's voices, and my eyes immediately well up to the point that a normal person might consider pulling over. But I've gotten so used to crying in the car that it seems almost unnatural to not cry. The song is "Kids," by MGMT. A song that Shane called my "terrible world music." And it's on Shane's ipod.

What does this mean, I ask myself. Why is it on Shane's ipod? Did he like the song? Why would it be on his ipod if he didn't like it?

I'll never get the answers to any of my questions. I'll never know why Shane had "Kids" on his ipod. I know that he purchased the song -- the entire album it's on, actually -- but that's all I know. In my mind, I think Shane remembered me playing the song in the car. That he downloaded the album at some point because he wasn't really a "singles" kind of guy. He would have listened to the entire album, from start to finish, because that's what Shane did with every album he ever purchased. And when he listened to the album or a song from it, he thought of me, because I think of him every time I listen to a song that he brought me to.

That could all be a lie that I made up to make myself feel closer to my brother. But, it could also be a fact that makes me feel closer to my brother. I'll never know for sure which one it is, but I know now that every time I listen to "Kids," I will think of Shane.

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