I was in Boston Sunday night for a concert, and before the show, my friend and I had some time to wander about Quincy Market. Which, yes, tourist trap, blah blah blah, but can I just tell you?
I love me some Quincy Market.
True story: When I was in college in Boston, I used to wake up much earlier on the weekend than my roommates... and all of my friends ... and probably, honestly, nearly everyone else in the city. I've always been an early riser. As anyone who's ever lived with other people in very cramped quarters knows, this is often awkward because you can't really DO anything without running the risk of waking the roommate, which seems rude.
So I would leave. I'd take myself off to Quincy Market, get a coffee, and then wander down to Columbus Park and look out over the harbour, drinking my coffee and thinking my thinks. When the coffee was gone, I'd go back to Quincy Market and people watch until I thought that it would probably be safe to return to our pad on Hemenway Street without waking anyone up.
I loved those mornings.
At any rate, Quincy Market is all decked out for the holidays and looking its festive best. Big old Christmas tree, lights everywhere. Fabulous. And then, much to my delight, I could hear the Boston Pops playing.
AND THEN ...
The lights started twinkling in conjunction with the music.
I know, it sounds incredibly cheesetastic. It sounds ridiculous.
It was BEAUTIFUL.
(You'd have to see it, I think. And you should. Get on the train and get over there. Have some coffee. Just sit and watch. Totally worth it.)
At any rate, I was walking in a happy holiday haze when I heard it. The beginning of the Hallelujah Chorus.
Which brings me to another "when I was in college" story ... and since I have SO few of these (which is a story in and of itself), I'll share this one too.
Freshman year in college, and I was ... sort of ... seeing a guy who lived down the hall from me. I liked him quite a lot. Right before Thanksgiving, he asked me if I wanted to go to the symphony at Christmastime to see/hear Handel's Messiah.
So he got the tickets and we planned to go.
And then I went home for Thanksgiving. He did NOT go home for Thanksgiving. Instead, he stayed at the dorm and threw me over for a slender blonde with a ridiculous nickname who had ALSO stayed at the dorm over the holiday. (This was when I learned that sometimes, in relationships? It can come down to nothing more than proximity. And blondeness.)
Suffice it to say that he kind of no longer wanted to go to the symphony with me.
A better woman than I would have been like, no, you should totally take the new girl. Unfortunately, I'm not a better woman. I was, however, a slightly bitter woman because, really? Who gets dumped for going home for Thanksgiving?
Plus, you know, the symphony. Band Geek here.
We went. I got all dressed up. My friend Jay (bless him) had a talking to with the young man about being nice to me, and maybe wearing a tie. We went to Symphony Hall. The music started.
And I forgot about cranky Dumper McCheaterson beside me. I forgot that we were barely speaking to each other or that I was still kind of mad at him. I forgot that the shoes that I was wearing were not comfortable and that I was overdressed and looked like kind of an idiot. I forgot everything except for the music.
It was so beautiful.
I'd heard it before, of course. Again, Band Geek. I was down with some Handel. But I'd never heard it like this. NOTHING had ever sounded like this. It was like being wrapped in a blanket of the most amazing sound.
I may have cried a little bit. I'm just saying.
I'd like to say that evening repaired my relationship with the Quicker Breaker-Upper. It didn't. I don't think we ever spoke again, to be honest. We just went in different directions, which I realize now is kind of what you're supposed to do when you're 18.
I thought of him, though, when I was standing in Quincy Market, hands pressed together, listening to the Hallelujah Chorus and watching the lights twinkle. I sent him a little prayer of goodwill. Because he taught me some things, about who I was and who I wanted to be, and what it meant to be gracious, and also? He gave me the Messiah.
Hallelujah for that.