Music Monday: Iris by Goo Goo Dolls

Music Mondays… each Monday, I’ll pick a song from my memory banks and write about it.

The song is originally written for the 1998 movie, City of Angels. So naturally almost everyone associates Iris with Nicholas Cage & Meg Ryan.

But for me? Iris reminds me of Monica.

Monica was one of my best friends in middle school. Monica is an only child, an over achiever. She liked bands like Goo Goo Dolls and Red Hot Chili Peppers, which is pretty unusual for a Chinese teenager with a nerdy bob of a hair cut, glasses, acne, and braces.

We spent many afternoons after school sitting on her bed, listening to songs from her favorite bands while we chatted about nothing. While Monica was extremely intelligent, she somehow stooped to my level and listened to me whine about young teenage nonsense. Monica didn’t have a “crush” on any boys at school. I had a running list of “Hot 10”. Monica wasn’t into make up, or looking good. I was desperately trying to fit in with blood red nail polish and sparkly white eyeliner.

We were opposites.

But we talked, and we listened to each other, for hours on end. We wrote each other lengthy notes while sitting bored in class, and we’d slip them into each other’s lockers through the crack between the metal.

Our friendship ended fairly simply. Monica did something to another friend of ours that I could not forgive. I always knew that Monica was the type of take advantage; to step over others to get to the top. It’s not something she could have helped; she was raised that way. Monica was cursed with both a Tiger Mom and a Tiger Dad, and in a single-child family, that meant your fate was sealed.

Our friendship ended over one lunch hour, when I’d found her in the Art classroom having lunch with a group of our friends. I cornered her, my anger for the injustice fueling an hour-long “telling-off”. Monica never said a word in reply. I kept yelling even though the class bell, even through the next class filing in. I finally stopped when our Art teacher came in, and tried to gently steer me away.

When I hear Iris, I think of the countless afternoons we spent sitting on the edge of her bed, the song playing in the background. Her telling me about her parents and the next impossible task they had in store for her. Me telling her about the stories I was planning to write and her giving me her opinions on them.

Monica had been a true friend. I was too young and stupid to know how to maintain it. I was too rash to forgive. But I’m really happy that I have such fond memories attached to an old song, and I’m really happy to have known her.

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