All the girls here are freezing cold

The lights moved over me but mostly, I was thankful for the darkness, the space to embrace some stillness. Next to me, T. was silent, a hand over her mouth, eyes straining to watch the French quartet, whose strings were plucked with something between precision and abandon. They were beautiful. We had just had an overdue conversation -- she's one of those friends we've dubbed "the extra Baden sister" -- that was cut short when the lights went down and the music started. I'm having trouble writing this post, and have stopped and re-started multiple times. I don't want to be dramatic. But it's hard not to be when I think about Tori Amos; my life with her. This weekend I saw both shows at The Beacon; I've lost count, but I think they were shows 41 and 42. (It's important to note my number is actually quite small in comparison to many other Tori fans; I remember talking to some people at a show during my college years who were on their 100th viewing, and that was 10 years ago.)

The thing is, Tori is a barometer for me. She is a photo album. When she sings "Beauty Queens" and leads right into "Horses," I cry, remembering being 16 and 17, sitting on the carpeted floor of my bedroom in front of my 7-disc CD changer; how I was a senior in high school, driving my first car and stalling out on a perfect Fall day, what that meant, who I thought I was. Then she pulls out a U2 cover, and then does a "God"/"Running Up That Hill" (Kate Bush) mash-up, and I think about being 15, or 22, and the same things happens -- a tide of memories.

I hope everyone has a musician, or something, they can mark their lives against the way I can with Tori.

My best girls either came to the shows with me or met up with us beforehand, or after, and it was like I felt the shift happen right under me: that, before, wasn't a memory, but this, here, now, is.