1. A good thing to not do,
  2. Is to have a genuinely wonderful phone conversation with your ex-boyfriend.
    Your only long ago ex-boyfriend. And you finally get to say the things you couldn't say when it ended. You apologize for the things you need to and he meets you there and tells you it's okay. He airs some of his regrets too. He says he wishes you would have called him years ago because he would have told you it was all okay. You both get the peace and closure you needed, even if you waited five years to ask for it.
  3. And you're so pleased because you were terrified of this phone call, it's something you never thought you'd do. But it's easy to talk to him and you've still got this comfortable teasing rapport that's just...fun and it still exists?
  4. You two are in this phone-induced time warp where you're 25 and 20 at the same time, he's 28 and 23 and he's not the same person, but he also is? His voice is the same.
    He's still as calm and dry as ever.
  5. And so, 50 minutes into your call, after you've gotten past the reason you emailed him after all these years, when the conversation winds around to him asking what music you listen to now and you say Paul Simon and he laughs because you're still listening to coffeeshop acoustic and dad rock.
    You tease him back by asking if he still only listens to Beck and Wilco and Spoon and Mutemath.
  6. And he says "Nah", and you can hear him grin. "You know, now that I'm in Nashville, I listen to country because it feels like my transplant duty. I've been listening the Chris Stapleton. I think you'd like him."
    And you're like Pfffttt, well, if it's not acoustic or One Direction it's a hard pass from me.
  7. Then he texts you later and says "'Whiskey and You' is my favorite song of his. It's a downer though, just warning you."
  8. And you text back "You know me- I love downer songs 😝"
    I mean, I genuinely do.
  9. Then you listen to it.
  10. And it's so stupid. You don't even like country music very much.
    But you just can not turn this damn song off.
  11. A zillion more times later,
  12. You stop on "one's a liar/that helps to hide me from my pain and one's a long gone bitter truth/that's the difference between whiskey and you", and dammit your heart is just ❤️💔❤️💔❤️
  13. If you're smart, you'll turn it off before you get kicked right in the chest with a kind of nostalgic pang.
    The "God, I used to love this man more than anything and now we are friendly but not in love and the friendliness itself was hard-won" pang.
  14. If you're me, you'll fall asleep to it turned down low.
    Because you've never been able to quit while you're ahead.
  15. At least (?) Chris Stapleton understands. His song "What Are You Listening To?" is me exactly.