Cowboy Junkies - Sweet Jane (DL)

This song was really popular on the radio when I was ten years old, and even then I loved it. That was around the point when I started getting into music—but for reasons which escape me now, I really didn’t want my parents to know. To keep my secret, I would listen to a handheld FM radio with headphones in my bedroom late at night after my parents thought I had fallen asleep. I remember that I would keep the volume level really low—even though I was wearing headphones—so that I could be sure my parents wouldn’t hear. To be clear, there was absolutely no reason for this—my parents love music, and would have been thrilled to know I’d taken an interest.

I also slept with a knife under my pillow, in case someone tried to kidnap me. Also in the anti-kidnapping vein, I would sleep with one arm locked under the pillow, and the other entwined in the blanket in a specific, calculated way that made it difficult to move my sleeping body (or move at all, really).

I was afraid to go into the ocean (because of sharks) — and I was also secretly afraid of going in swimming pools (also because of sharks).

Just about everything I did as a child is baffling to me now — though, in all honestly, the imprint of these weird neuroses never entirely left me. I still never play my own music around my parents. And I still sleep with one arm locked under my pillow at all times. And to this day, even though I love few things more than being in the ocean, not a minute goes by that I don’t look behind me with the full expectation that a shark is about to strike.