"Thanks for listening into the Delilah Show. On the line is Christine. She wants to hear a song for her daughter. Isn't that right, Christine?" Delilah's voice is soft butter, like silk flowing through your ear canals. Low, smooth, comforting.
"Yes. She's very special to me. She has HIV and I do too. She was born with it. I'm having a hard time trying to get custody of her and I love her so much." Christine's voice is scratchy, but hopeful.
"How old is your daughter, Christine?"
"And where is she now?"
"She with my sister. I'm a recovering addict, putting my faith in Jesus and I'm 15 months sober now. I take it one day at a time. But it's hard to get a job and I just want to be with her again."
"Do you get to see her often?"
"I see her every other weekend."
"Yeah. But I want her to live with me again. She's my whole world."
"What are some words that come to you when you think about your daughter?"
"She's like my Northern Star. She's always there. She's a fighter, she's brave, she's got faith like I've got faith. As long as she believes it's all going to be ok, I know it'll be ok. And she's always with me no matter where she is and where I am. She was real sick for a long time and I thought I would die without her. Now she's strong and fighting and I love her so much. And I want her to know that I'm always there for her, no matter what. I don't want her to be sick anymore. I don't want to be sick anymore."
"That's lovely, Christine. Here's a song for you and your daughter."
"Thank you, Delilah."
"You're welcome, baby."
Cindy Lauper's Time After Time begins. I smile uncomfortably at the radio, 97.1 FM staring blankly back at me. I sing through the chorus: "If you're lost you can look and you will find me/Time after Time", letting my throat tighten, letting myself get a little vahklempt. At once I am a recovering junkie mother reaching out through this summer honey radio DJ, reaching out to my daughter, who I poisoned. I hate myself for my choices but I'm trying to hate myself less. It's a transforming moment. I'm moved. Moved by sad pop FM.
Cindy's voice fades out and another song begins without interlude from Delilah the DJ. The song is Cups by Anna Kendrick. The chorus of the song is "When I'm gone/When I'm gone/You're gonna miss me when I'm gone." Once again, I'm a twenty something suburbanite giving a side eye and a slight chuckle at the morbidity of the radio play list. I feel guilty, a knee-jerk reaction.
I scan for a different radio station. But I know I'm going to go home and google Delilah the DJ. I know I'm probably going to tune in tomorrow. I'm a monster. But I'm ok with that. I've been moved by sad pop FM.