Keep Art Alive :: “Don’t Forget to Remember” :: Art by Tara McPherson
“Will you recognize me?
Call my name or walk on by?
Rain keeps falling,
rain keeps falling,
down, down, down, down.”
It takes two beats, a pause and an inhaled breath as the opening notes of a nearly forgotten song play, and I’m there again, back again, standing in the rain again. I can see you taking the stairs two at a time, eyes on fire, wide and wild, as you come closer to me. Your arms are outstretched, your voice strained from running six blocks, so you stop trying to speak, reaching for me instead, your hands in my hair, tangling, shaking drops of water onto us. They slide down my face like tears, blurring my vision until I close my eyes completely, taking an intentional step forward, an invitation to become just another cliche.
The two of us kissing on the platform with this song playing out there in the distance, loud enough to get in, to be mistaken as “ours“, to become the later soundtrack of regret, and longing. We are shaking, as our close soak through the cold overtakes us until we have to seek shelter.
It all looks so pretty in the movies, but once inside I catch my reflection in the coffee shop window, black streaks stain my skin, smears of emotion, of weather, of imperfection. The girl behind the counter beams at you, standing tall and smiling wide, and in an instant the weight of adolescence falls, insecurity chanting, tugging at my arms, pulling me away, making me want to run.
The questions link arms, making a daisy chain of wilted flowers, they become vines, with thorns, pricking my skin with the pain of “why would you want me?” and “how long will it before you find someone better?” Like her, the beauty behind the counter who is everything I think I’d want to be. I turn then, dropping your hand, the grey coming in to cloud my vision, to recreate the mask I tend to wear like make-up, like armor, like invisibility.
He stops me, smiling crookedly, laughter in her eyes, mischief mixed with desire and something yet undefined. He grabs my arm, not bothered by the rain soaked sleeve, and pulls me in close enough to feel his breath on my skin. The scruff of two days without a shave tickle as he whispers oh so close to my ear, “I think she likes you“, referring to the coffee counter goddess that I was so sure was set on capturing his gaze, and I have to laugh because sometimes the voices lie, sometimes they play tricks on the truth, and sometimes they win.
But, not that day, no, not that day that is still so fresh in my memory.
That was the day I pinned your heart on my heart, wearing it like a promise, like a tattoo, like a forget me not, like the love we swore we would never give away. I wonder if you still remember.
Does this song brings it back us back to you, does it bring back that day, but in your own version? Would I recognize me in your recollection, or have you forgotten all about me?
Don’t You (Forget About Me) :: Hollywood, Mon Amour