May the strings make you smile, May they always remind you of me
When others merely had one song (maybe two), he had an entire playlist. Dozens of songs that made him come to mind, make him hard to forget. With each change of tempo, each inflection of tone, chord progression, whisper, or guttural groan.
In a moment, he could be the soundtrack of my entire day — and it would be as though he was there. Together, the songs made the man I love and I could feel him there with each key. Each note. And I couldn’t try to forget the songs because there were so many. There were too many beautiful songs to skip or ignore, so he would always be with me. On the bad days, the sad days, the happy days. Even if he wasn’t at the front of my thoughts, he would sit there in the back of my mind, his eyes closed, deeply inhaling, and bouncing his shiny bald head to the beat.
“All I want to be is your love king, tonight…”
And on the days he was at the forefront of my frontal lobe, a song could transport me to a moment in time when he was mine… even though he was never mine. At least, never mine to keep. Always on loan as we loved on borrowed time.
He was a friend who was there in my time of need. Unlike the others, he allowed me to grieve; mourn the period of my life rife with anger and confusion. His humor brought so much needed levity, I couldn’t help but want to be around him all the time. And this time — unlike the last time — he had the time to entertain me. A personal jester tucked away neatly in my breast pocket.
“Now I’m gonna make a point to just focus on us…”
We’d spend nights watching movies, listening to music, and letting our streams of consciousness run wild. And during the day, we’d spend hours in between work sending each other messages about the mundane things we hated, talk about the small things we made exceptions to like, and in between all the words we shared, a love blossomed.
But our love was a special love of two people who were too scared to have their hearts broken again. Our love was a quiet one; it was fragile. It was delicate and whenever it was ever-present, we did our best to cradle it in silence and deep sighs, holding it so close to our chests, at times, we were suffocating it — stifling our little bundle gasping for air.
While we were doing our best to protect our love, we were stunting its growth. I’m not sure of how aware we were of the damage we were causing. Maybe we weren’t aware. In hindsight, however, I’m sure we were aware, but we were too frightened to see if our bond could grow into a might oak tree, or dry and go to dust in the cracked death we’d both become some accustomed to.
“Just can’t rest waiting for the phone to ring“
We were never together, which made it easy for us to not have a reason to feel as though we belonged to each other. But, he was mine. I was certain of this. And his disappearing acts, which were too often for my comfort, caused me great anguish.
One day, he was there and the next, he was a ghost — the figment of my hope-filled fantasies. For days, I’d pace back and forth wondering if I should send a text or not to check-in. Starting a message and wondering if he could see the ellipses populate as I hesitated to press send. Would it be too much to message him four times today or should I split them across two days?
All my anxiety over it was for naught, however, as my attempts to see if he was OK resulted in the same response: silence.
He once told me he’d always be there for me — even when he wasn’t, so I spoke to him in the silence. Random ramblings at 3 AM to his phone, hoping he’d see something I said and feel the urge to reach out to me as much as I needed him. I extended my hand out to him hoping he’d see the lifeline he once threw out to me. I wanted him to know I was there for him as he’d been a comfort to me. But all attempts had no resolutions.
Finally, after months of strategic ‘random’ nudges in the form of round-about thoughts or crass jokes, he told me to stop. He told me he loved me, and I was making it hard for him to stay away from me. I could hear the cracks in the glass case I placed my heart in when I gave it to him.
Even though you tell me you love me I’m afraid that you just love my disguise
I wasn’t sure what I had done or didn’t do, and so I started to turn inward and away from him — not because I didn’t want to be with him, but because it hurt too much to be without him. I started to harden myself as much as I could, trying my best to still my racing heart at the thought of him, and growing a chilly disposition. It was not easy. Not in the slightest.
“It could be U-S, there’s so many letters, but it’s only you, only you“
We played our cat and mouse game for some time. After several bouts of our ins and outs, I had gotten really good at hiding my feelings for him. Sometimes, I’d let the veneer down, but I could feel the end approaching around the corner again.
I wanted him to feel the warmth of everything inside of me, but it seemed like he wasn’t ready and I wasn’t sure if I could go through the hurt of his absence again while he attempted to figure out how much distance it would take for him to realize he missed me.
Especially when I missed him the moment he fell asleep after our nights together. Just knowing the hours would roll by and he’d eventually have to wake up to go to work left me in agony. I wanted to consume him and make him a part of my whole.
“May this song reach your heart“
It’s still hard even now to find the words to speak to who he was to me; he was everything and nothing all at once. A source of anger and the bringer of sweet relief. My muse who often deserted me after bringing a bounty of inspiration. He was… something special.
And as I mourn this love of ours, grieve for the product of our journey that I must lay to rest, I think of him as you would of a person you know will never come back. I think of our short, but meaningful time together. It wasn’t perfect, our brief moment experiencing each other. But, it was ours.
May this song journey on for you…