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The Song That Changed Your Life

Mad Rush by Cristina Rizzuto

This story is on the shortlist for The Song That Changed Your Life challenge. 


Video source: Youtube

I used to think that love was best understood in silence until I heard music. I have fallen in love with it before, that brimming shadow that gives definition to all things, but there is a special place in my heart for Mad Rush by Philip Glass. It’s one of those striking compositions that affirm the experience of life, bringing with its one note beautifully played, its repetitive melody, rushing images of love and loss.

The first time I heard Mad Rush was in the winter. It was a cold evening, and I had been waiting for him for almost an hour, listening to an obscure radio station. My mind was jittery with worry, fatigue, sadness. 

“And now, we are playing Philip Glass, one of the most important composers of this century. Glass composed this piece in honour of the Dalai Lama’s visit to North America. This is Mad Rush.”

He entered my car as the notes began, both parties at once contemplative and urgent. I calmly waited for what I knew I had been waiting for all along. As he told me that he has to leave me now, that he loves me more than anyone he has ever known or will know, I heard and felt only Mad Rush. The mad rush of time, of emotion, of broken hearts and tears, of the best and worst years spiraling slowly out of my grasp, piano keys hitting earth over and over again. We cried together, our foreheads touching as the music rose and fell. We had reached the inevitable point in our strange relationship, acknowledging the time to part ways. We knew the song would one day end.

Have you ever seen a snowfall? For a few moments, time is still and the snow rushes by in a daze, briefly veiling the world. You are mesmerized, staring at the beautiful destruction from a window, your reflection shining in front of you. The music is playing, and all the snowflakes that fall from the sky are falling in the right spot, this secret, intricate pattern unfolding around us, this gossamer web we know nothing about. And suddenly the sun breaks through, sidewalks clear, cars return to the streets. Somehow, it’s like it never snowed at all. The love that came so quickly into your life left without a trace. This is Mad Rush.

Cristina Rizzuto lives in Woodbridge, ON.

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