Left & Leaving
Some songs I cannot hear again. Some songs make me think of you. Not of you in the general sense one does of missing one another. Not even in the way one thinks of losing a loved one or saying goodbye.
Worse – far worse? – the songs of dread. The songs of the silence between us gnawing ever more loudly until we could no longer ignore it. The songs that dig deep into your soul and gives it a little twist with every word and chord.
Did you not hear it die? It fell with a little thud.
In your car. In the rain. In the house. In the routine. Your impatience. Leaping out at me from behind the telephone.
Everybody is a different person with different people. It would be a lie to say otherwise.
With you I was young and hot-headed. A boat without a plan. I was perfectly happy to let you captain it. But we never knew where or how to dock.
I was a person without a home in those lost days. A wanderer without a country. From bus to plane to taxi to your car. To a home which was never ours. And an us I’m growing increasingly unclear of. Is this a dream? Or is this reality?
1825 days. Half of them spent on planes. Half of them ten thousand miles apart. If not literally, then as some impenetrable chasm I never learned to cross.
I hate those songs.
You wanted to know how it came so easily to me. How I moved on. I did not. Did you know of all those nights I drank myself to imbecilic stupor to write poetry in languages I don’t speak? It looks like I walked away from our life with scarcely a moment’s thought. But it was a burden I could not bear.
The thought of loving forever a woman who did not want to marry me. The idea that I had to banish all hope for a family. That, when I left you, tethering on the edge of madness, you loved me tremendously but not enough, seemed to be what you were saying. My hopes. My dreams. It was all you. It was madness that made me circumnavigate the globe to win your heart. And it was madness that made me travel the world to lose it. We never wanted to be the people who stayed together from not having a good reason to leave. Better now than at 35, or something like it. In the end I could not bear the thought of not being enough.
I can never go back to that city and not feel quite desperately breathless again. Not for a long time at least. Waiters who want to know why I’ve disappeared. Friends who I haven’t and won’t see. That city, at the start, was all you and all us and all our secret nooks and our very own places and special people and our house and our dog. That city then grew into a nightmare that was all broken dreams as they fell apart and things that could never be and places I could not find and things I could never be. I tried to hide it and blamed your taxi drivers and horrible traffic and the pollution and the inbred circles and the wanky artists but in the end it was all us, falling to pieces and me doing the only thing I knew how to which was run very far away from responsibilities and rent because like I said I was a different person then.
The good thing about falling to pieces and putting yourself back again is you do it so many times you get faster at it, if you remember how. I ran as far away from that city as I could and hurried to build a new life for myself, it was selfish of me to. I ran and I ran and I buried myself in a dozen women’s pillows and I walked home from their darkened kitchens like a zombie every morning mortified that my life as I knew it had ceased to exist and that I had swung a fairly giant axe in its direction.
I never want to have to run again from the woman I love. I never want to turn the other way in silence biting my tongue letting an argument fester until we no longer speak. I never want to hide who I love or have to be hidden.
The seventh well can’t be found.
I’m sorry you loved me I’m sorry you wasted five years I’m sorry you gave up so much I’m sorry I hate KL I’m sorry I’m not a private person at all I’m sorry I moved on so quickly I’m sorry I loved you too damn much I’m sorry my disease made me an emotional basket case I’m sorry I never learned to stop crying I’m sorry you hate crying I’m sorry I wanted my girlfriend to also want me as much as I wanted her I’m sorry I don’t know how to be older and better I’m sorry I wish I’d done a little better