Some relationships
are like when someone makes you a mix tape and you get very attached to the mix tape, and the songs become their own geography for you. Sometimes this geography comes to resemble to you, your very relationship with the person who made you the mix tape. Sometimes it doesn’t; important enough in its own right, this program of tunes becomes becomes something strictly personal to you instead.

One day, a year or two after receiving the tape, you ask the mix-tape maker about a song on there that you’re especially fond of, or whose lyrics are sticking with you that day, or whose tune reminds you of something specific. The song has come to mean this thing to you, you tell the person: Whenever you drive home from work, you find you must hear this song. Or you want to let the maker know that it’s sheer brilliance, the way those two tunes on Side B slide together; they seem like a natural pairing. Or maybe you just want to know what album the last song comes from. But when you ask, the original mix-tape maker just shrugs; has no idea. The mix-tape maker doesn’t remember the song at all. The mix-tape maker is very casual about it, and very polite. Some relationships? They’re like that.

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