Ani love

by Nene

Sitting in the kitchen with the lights dimmed and the back door ajar, listening to someone’s fire outside and Ani’s voice filling the open room. Thinking about all the things she means to me: all the people, all the pieces of wisdom, all the feelings, all the moments.

The truth will set you free / but then, so will a lie / It depends if you’re trying to get to the promised land / or you’re just trying to get by

In middle school (2000? 2001?), Stephen White’s poster of her in his spray-painted room after he told me he was gay, and him playing “Napoleon”.

The individual songs I was able to download from Limewire that made me fall in love with her, until I got someone to buy me a copy of Evolve, my first album of hers.

A conversation some years later with Christine, who thought she knew who I was talking about, to which I said, “No, you wouldn’t know her. She’s pretty new”. This was no earlier than 2005.

Waking up to Evolve in the quiet, still mornings at Avery in my room at the corner of the house, her blessing my mornings with the silk of her words, sometimes cynical, something joyful, always vibrant and penetrating.

Megan giving me a copy of Little Plastic Castle. More proof that working at Pangea was the best job in the world.

Going to see her at 930 Club in DC and just staring at her most the time. I went by myself because wasn’t friends with anyone else who liked her.

At the Montgomery College auditorium, watching Ariel and someone else tune their instruments onstage when he mentions he likes Ani DiFranco. I tell him it’s the first time I meet a guy who likes her. Thus began my first conversation with the boy that I would date for two years.

Moving in with Eva, the tall militant feminist Israeli girl who wanted a kosher vegetarian kitchen and a decent date. She owned all her albums, which were strewn across her house full of cats. I remember Claire taking her self-titled album and listening to Both Hands over and over again in her car. I do believe Claire kept the album.

Getting out of bed Friday night in NDG to bike in the bitter January cold to go see her at Metropolis, conscious of having a sneaking suspicion that it would be momentous.