Now I’m free?

1989

Tom Petty’s seemingly omnipresent hit “Free Fallin'” is the soundtrack to my summer. Every time it’s on the radio, j turn it up. Every time it’s on MTV, I stop what I’m doing and watch the video in its entirety. It’s the sound of public swimming pools, cross-country road trips and double dip cones from Baskin Robbins on hot August evenings.

1995

I purchase “Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits” on cd, and “Free Fallin'” is still one of my favorite songs. It becomes the soundtrack of fishing trips, teenage shenanigans of questionable legality and my first taste of beer.

2018

“Free Fallin'” is an oldie now, and Tom Petty is dead. The song plays in the background while I’m at work. My hands are old and cracked and bleeding. It’s the soundtrack of bills I can’t pay, health ailments I don’t understand, and failure. I’m an oldie, too–written by someone who had a lot of potential but somewhere along the line got tossed in the bargain bin.

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