Fast Car

In the soundtrack of my life, this song conjures a memory so powerful, I can feel the feelings from that time. How does music do that? Every memory has a song, a time of year, a place and a movement. Some music played at home during a traumatic period in my middle school years is impossible for me to hear without crying. (I don't go out of my way to listen to it, ever.)


I love Black Pumas' "Fast Car" cover of Tracy Chapman's first hit. I am a sucker for any song with an acoustic strumming sound and an R&B feel.

June 1988, Highway 15D in Sonora, Mexico between Nogales and Magdalena de Kino, Liz played her new cassette tape, and as we drove at dusk, this song came on. It tells the story of a woman in love with a man and with dreams of comfort and freedom for her life, chipped away piecemeal verse by verse along with her spirit. Her life is the reality of a no-good husband and children to care for, dreams be damned.


Liz, a friend of my mom's, was younger than I am now and has since passed away. I'd just finished school and hoped I'd find a romantic, adventurous job living in other countries and working for a more peaceful world. I thought I'd have true love and family. Hearing this beautiful song, I was moved and full of questions, always questions. I think of Liz now and her example and I'm grateful.

We end up with ourselves, don't we? Everything that happens to us is a reflection in the mirror.


    © 2015 by Marjorie Robertson