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Essays by Karen Anderson: All About Love

Illustration by Kacie Brown

A friend sends me a play list of favorite songs and I slide the CD into my car stereo. Now, instead of the news, I’m listening to Frank Sinatra.

Instead of driving to the grocery store, I’m lying in my dormitory bed at college, singing “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” I know all the words and all the feelings by heart—by broken heart.

I am 19 years old again and have left my boyfriend back at home. He hasn’t written for a week and I’m sure the relationship is over. Sure my life is over. Frank Sinatra understands. He’s there on the album cover in the light of a street lamp, smoking a cigarette and staring into the darkness.

He knows what I know: love is everything and love is pain. I lift up the needle on my stereo and set it down again at the beginning of “Wee Small Hours.”

Now, years later, I am pushing the replay button—but I’m smiling instead of crying. Smiling to think how young I was, how pure my suffering—because it was almost untouched by experience. Now, I know how complicated love is—how it can be lost and found more than once.

Even so, I still sing along with Sinatra, sometimes in the wee small hours.

Karen Anderson contributes "Essays by Karen Anderson" to Interlochen Public Radio.