Tapes.

When I was younger, from toddlerhood til sometime in elementary school, I listened to lullaby tapes as I went to sleep. I’m not sure they always served their purpose because I remember listening to the whole side of the tape until I heard the click that signaled the end. Often, I’d creep out of bed and flip the tape over to hear the other side before I succumbed to sleep.

It was more about hearing those familiar songs, listening to the words and wondering what they were talking about. James Taylor, Carly Simon, the Carpenters, the Chordettes, these were the voices I heard as I went to sleep – and our family friend had a tape of his own songs that I particularly liked.

Julie through the glass, looking up at me…

There is a young cowboy; he lives on the range…

Listen to the song he sings. Can’t you see his music brings her crystal sleep…

Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream. Make him the cutest that I’ve ever seen…

I heard these tapes so many times that later on in life when the little people I babysat would ask for a lullaby, these were what I would sing. Those songs were the ones that came to mind whenever someone said, “lullaby”.

I play other tapes now. Different words bounce around inside my mind, some that others have played for me, some that I’ve told myself. Some are true, some are not. And sometimes I’m not paying too much attention to who’s running the jukebox in my head, because some of those tapes are warped and ugly.

Some of the tapes are just a repetition of those lies that we all tell ourselves – you know, the ones that say we’re both not enough and too much at the same time, the ones that say we love too many people and are loved by too few, the ones that lie and lie and lie.

But I still let them play.

And sometimes, that’s what I sing to other people. The warped inside warbles out.

I want to run my own jukebox. I want to play the good tapes. Listen to the song He sings… over you.

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