Sometimes the sound of your voice shatters me. Its unexpected, that kind of violence within, because for so long hearing you sing was one of my favorite things. Your music always connected with me, before we met, after, and even on the days when we battled, or went into a web of silence. You said the same of my writing that night, as we sat across from each other in that tiny restaurant, the place I took you to, one of my favorite places. It was the last time we were still okay, you and I.
This morning a song of yours came on unexpectedly. Well, as unexpected as it can be, I do keep your music in my collection, your songs still weave in and out of playlists, and album collections. It still felt like a shock to my system though, to hear your voice come through my speakers. The sun had just started to rise in the sky, and I’d only made it through three sips of coffee, and then there you were. It felt like cold water splashed on my face, or a pointed blade sliding in-between my ribs. Sharp stabs hit me, my chest tightened, and my face tingled in that way that means tears are on their way. Soon enough they arrived, and I let them come, I let them fall, I let them wreck my make-up. Sometimes you can’t fight it anymore.
I grow tired of this though, the sadness, the missing, the gaping hole in the center of my soul. This cycle I ride, one minute feeling strong and resilient, like I’ve gotten past it, and over you, and then out of nowhere the crash of being lost, helpless and full of so much fucking longing. It is more than loneliness, more than memories, more than missing, it is the lack of us, the harsh reality that what we had is gone. And those dreams and plans, all of them, so many that we could have filled a stack of composition books and still needed more. well they are all fiction now, fantasy, a long list of wishes that will never come true.
And yet I did not stop the song from playing. I do not delete your music, smash your albums, erase your music from my life. Maybe that is a new version of self-harm to add to my collection. Perhaps this is a way I emotionally cut myself, ripping my skin open, watching in fascination as the blood pours out, hoping that if I look deep enough at my insides I will find a way to remove you. But, would I ever remove you? Would I take the Eternal Sunshine cure? If I did, would I be like Joel and mid-erase fight so desperately to keep you? Is there anything left for me to keep?
You throw ropes at me still. Words and requests, but no reasons or whys, no blueprints of how this all works anymore. I read them over and over trying to suss out what they mean, what you mean, what you want from me at all. You made choices that cannot be changed, or taken back, and they were made without me, in spite of me. And now, well there are consequences, there are reactions, there are tiny deaths that resulted. I wear the holes, the damage done, the invisible bruises and scars. If you looked hard enough, though, I know you’d recognize them. You could always see straight through me, you could always see my everything.
Its easier not to look now, not too close. The ropes come from a distance, and you keep objects between us, barriers and boundaries. Yet you still look, peering over the wall, asking me to peer back. And I do, you know I do, I can’t help myself, but I’m not sure what I see anymore. I’m not sure how I could ever fit anymore. I don’t think you know either.
The song goes on. I hit play again hours later, pouring salt in my cuts, letting your voice wash over me. I recognize the pauses and the lifts and falls, hear your slight accent, your hesitations, your stories; I hear all of you in all of it, the emotions between the lines. You told me once that you kept finding me in the songs, even the older ones, the ones that came long before you knew me. And now I do it, I hear me in them, I hear you I hear us. But fuck it hurts to do it, to know I can, to know how. It makes this all so fucking unbearable. It makes me feel like I’m breaking.
Do you look for my words? Do you read them over and over? Do you see yourself in them? Do you see me? Us? Is it fucking unbearable for you, too? Is it wrong to say I hope it is?
I hope it is.
Scars :: James Bay
To Build a Home :: The Cinematic Orchestra
On Your Side :: Pete Yorn
16 Days :: Ryan Adams
Kansas City :: The New Basement Tapes
Without You :: Tobias Jesso, Jr.