The Meaningfulness of Metallica
I'm not the biggest Metallica fan, not by a long shot. Gojira does not really have a significant place in my playlists, and my days of getting excited over Avenged Sevenfold are long gone, though there is a mud-stained A7X jogger hanging in my closet that can testify to my fondness past. I'm not the biggest fan of Metallica, but there once was a woman who was.
Small in stature with bewitching (and sort of witchy) good looks, my mother used to rock out to the Californian thrash metallers more than anyone I know. She was at her happiest at the wheel of a candy apple red Camaro made in the early nineties, her long black hair floating in the wind as "Fuel" played as loudly as she could stand, ripping through the dirt roads that surround my hometown slightly faster than the posted speed limits legally allowed her to.
Metallica has been on heavy rotation in the soundtrack of my life. From dancing on my mother's feet to "Nothing Else Matters" softly playing from our horrendous light grey boombox and being suspended from elementary school for wearing my ...And Justice For All shirt with the a red spray paint font to receiving Metallica cassettes from one of my godfathers for my 7th birthday and learning to drive in the aforementioned sports car with the legendary band playing in the background, some of my most vivid memories involve Metallica.
Without really knowing it, the thrash kings became a significant part of my life, a constant, to the point where my mother and I repeatedly made plans to go catch them whenever a show we could hypothetically attend was announced, though those plans never came to fruition.
"It's a bit far," I joked while I lived two continents away. "I can't get time off," my demanding job forced me to say. "I'm too broke," I whispered, hanging my head in shame. "There's always next time," she always replied enthusiastically. Until there was no next time.
Two and a half years ago, the beautiful woman who made my love for Metallica happen died. The last song she heard as she drew her last, laborious breath was Anthrax’s "A Skeleton in the Closet". She was a true metalhead until the end. Her passing was not unexpected, but it wasn't any less devastating.
I found myself buying my WorldWired tour ticket on a whim, my bank account slightly healthier due to a slightly-more-than-negligible bonus from my day job. I waited in virtual line for minutes that seemed like days, trying to talk myself out of shelling out so much money for a band that I like significantly less than others, but one thought kept creeping back.
Had my mother been alive, we would have danced the same way we always had, going through the usually excuses and not going to the show after all. Except I wasn’t too broke, this time. Or unable to get time off. Or lived too far. And who knows if there would even be a next time!
I will see Metallica in a little over two weeks in my mother’s name. Setlist.fm indicates that they have been playing "Nothing Else Matters" and "The Unforgiven"," which tells me that I probably won't leave BC place with my heart or mascara intact, but it also seems like they are not playing "Frantic,” so while my dignity might take a hit, my sanity should remain. And who knows? Maybe seeing Metallica will trump acceptance as the last stage of my grief. Only time will tell. Tick tick tick tick tick tick tock.