Category Archives: Heartbreak

My Year In Three Albums. Part One: Angel Olsen and Loneliness

There’s nothing like making a list at the year’s end to make you believe you understood what just happened.

But certainly, it seems significant to me that this past year was primarily set to three albums:  Angel Olsen’s Burn Your Fire for No Witness, Other Lives’ Rituals, and Car Seat Headrest’s Teens of Style.  My 2015 was defined by two things:  it was the year in which I’d entered more comfortable with the idea of myself as a writer, able to fully commit to my book project as a real project, and it was the year in which, as I wrote more and more about intimacy, I faced the possibility that this loneliness I feel is permanent.

This loneliness . . . it is difficult to express without sounding morose and fatalistic, delusional even, given the many and wonderful people in my life, the time I spend with them, and my own relentlessly cheery nature, even in the face of darkness.  But something inside me shifted this year, and I found myself trying to understand intimacy on a deeper level, to confront any obstacles or illusions more bravely so that I can live, if not with a loving partner, then at least more honestly with myself.  At times, in my writing, I reached bigger insights about the love I’ve felt, and I would finish an essay teary, grateful to have the chance to understand what I’ve felt or who I’ve loved differently.  Sometimes, this experience gave me great peace.  Sometimes, it brought back the loss so clearly that the profundity of my errors humbled me—nostalgia means, as Leslie Jamison says, “the twinge of the wound.”  Sometimes, that humility facilitated more vulnerability, and I felt more capable of being more present for others, as with my students; sometimes it made me feel the best any of us can do is simply to give what we can and try not to damage each other too much.

At one point this summer, I realized that the writing of these essays itself had replaced romantic intimacy for me, that I WAS, in fact, in a relationship:  with myself, with these songs. It felt good—but how couldn’t it?  What better way to protect myself from my own heart than to stop giving it to someone?  I was in control of all the conversations, never had to address the needs of another; all the negotiations were always made in good faith because there was only one bargainer in the deal.

Still, rather than read last year as mere retreat, I wanted to honor where I was, to think about how these three albums functioned as all good relationships do:  how they gave me solace and insight, how they wallowed with me, how they moved me into different emotional spaces, revealed alternate possibilities, and how, in the end, they taught me something about myself.  Listening to whole albums is an increasing rarity—at least for me—and having three full albums in a year that mattered . .  . well, maybe you don’t need to be in love to keep learning about it.

Angel Olsen:  Burn Your Fire For No Witness

I quit my dreaming the moment that I found you
I started dancing just to be around you
Here’s to thinking that it all meant so much more
I kept my mouth shut and opened up the door

I wanted nothing but for this to be the end
For this to never be a tied and empty hand

If all the trouble in my heart would only end
I lost my dream, I lost my reason all again

It’s not just me for you
I have to look out too
I have to save my life
I need some peace of mind

I am the only one now
I am the only one now
I am the only one now

You may not be around
You may not be around
You may not be around

—“Unfuck the World”

I’d first heard Angel Olsen’s “Forgiven/Forgotten” last summer and bought the album without realizing that song was by far the most optimistic on the whole thing.  “Forgiven / Forgotten” is about two minutes long and I loved it because it was like a cheerful theme song for one of my long-standing problems:  a tendency to continue to take emotional risks, even when it’s been established that there will be no pay-off.

In one of my favorite movies, The Anniversary Party, Kevin Kline and his five year-old daughter reenact the rocky marriage of the couple (Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh) whose anniversary it is:  at one point, he pushes her dramatically away from him, and she walks sadly away, only to turn and rush back, to fling herself back into his only partially extended arms.  I cry every time, identifying with the five year-old.  “Forgiven/Forgotten” went on the last CD I made (and will ever make) the Camp Romance, a last-ditch attempt to forgive someone who didn’t think he’d done anything wrong, who wanted, moreover, to be forgotten. Why did I do it? In “Dance Slow Decades,” Angel Olsen seemed to know:  “I dance because I know this one.”

More recently, I was trying to explain a questionable romantic entanglement to a dear friend and her dear husband, together since they were fifteen.  “I mean, who’s it going to hurt, other than myself?” I said blithely.  Foreheads simultaneously wrinkled, and they looked first at each other, then at me.  “Exactly, honey,” she said.

But the rest of the album isn’t about that—it isn’t about self-destruction, about flinging oneself at all.  It’s not about risk as much as it is accountability:  that quality most essential to a risk, without which a  “risk” is merely carelessness.  It’s an album about facing loneliness and choosing to be oneself.  “If you’ve still got some light in you, then go before it’s gone / Burn your fire for no witness / it’s the only way it’s done,” Olsen sings in “White Fire.” The Pitchfork review of the album agrees:

“Hi-Five”, the third song on Angel Olsen’s second album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, has got to be one of the most cheerful songs ever written about being lonely. [ . . . ]  “Are you lonely too?” Olsen warbles. A beat later, her band’s back in full Technicolor, and the next line hits like a title card in an old “Batman” episode: “HI-FIVE!/ SO AM I!”

When 2015 began, I was still recovering from the Barback, and I found a new theme song:  “Unfuck the World,” quoted in its entirety at the beginning of this section. It’s the first song on the album, and it sounds like the kind of song a sad girl would write alone in her bedroom.  Since I was a sad girl writing alone in my bedroom, I curled into it like a cat curls into a small space when it’s feeling insecure.

I was suffering to a degree clearly disproportionate to the relationship, feeling an anger I sensed was not about Jason.  And when I heard this song, I knew why.  I really did love the Barback, but I also loved that he seemed ready to give me everything I had wanted . . . with Eli.  Once, in the first month of our three months together, I’d mentioned that even after three years, Eli was never comfortable talking about getting married.  The Barback turned to me.  “How long do you think is rational before we move in together and get engaged?”  I looked up at him, startled.  “Two or three years?” I said, weakly.  “Well, I’m thinking six months to a year,” he responded.  “Eli didn’t know what he had.”  Maybe he didn’t, and maybe the Barback didn’t either, or maybe I’m just that good at inciting the one unpleasant confrontation that will end even the most committed of relationships.  But Angel Olsen knew—she knew what I had.  “I lost my dream, I lost my reason all again.” 

My heart wasn’t just breaking—it was being rebroken, in all the most sensitive places.  My grief over the end of my relationship with Eli had only reached the bargaining stage by the time I met the Barback, and I saw him, his readiness to talk about big things with me, to actively love me enough to want a future with me, as part of the bargain:  maybe if I just make the strong choice, maybe if I break up with Eli even though I love him, I will still find a lover who chooses me without hesitation and get what I want.  “I wanted nothing but for this to be the end.”  

And it wasn’t the end.  The next relationship is not the reward for “doing the right thing” in the last one.  There is no reward.  Maybe there is no right thing.  And that awareness unleashed the next phase of grieving:  anger.  It’s the emotion your friends least want to hear about, the emotion you least want to feel towards someone you once loved most.  But what I learned about anger over the first five months of this last year was that it is a motivator.  In “Enemy,” Olsen gently confronts her own disillusionment and comes to terms with the tricks her own mind has played on her:

I wish it were the same
as it is in my mind
I am lighter on my feet
when I’ve left some things behind

I knew (and still know) the anger I felt was less about either man and more about having to force myself to move forward to face being alone—really, really alone.

And I hate it.  I still hate it, mostly.  I enjoy my own company, and I do meaningful things, but I really am an extrovert, and it’s just not fun for me to have as much alone time as I do.  This essay isn’t going to end with me finding out how much I loved being alone.  The anger has dissipated somewhat, but it’s still there sometimes, although it’s changed directions (why can’t I better appreciate what so many wish they could have—this intimate time with oneself?). I still know I would far rather have a partner than be singing soft songs to myself in my bedroom.  But this album repeated to me, again and again, the soft song that would be more useful to sing:

It’s not just me for you
I have to look out too
I have to save my life
I need some peace of mind

I am the only one now
I am the only one now
I am the only one now

You may not be around
You may not be around
You may not be around

You’d think this would have been obvious—we all die in our own arms, anyway.  But somehow, this was the year in which I really understood that I might not even have someone there near the end and that I might want to start getting used to that idea.  And even though I don’t like it, this awareness feels meaningful.  Again, the Pitchfork review offers me a way to think about this meaning and grow:

Olsen knows too well that dreamers are usually loners. Not that she really minds. If she seems unafraid of—even superhumanly amped about—loneliness, it’s because her songs find an almost beatific peace in solitude. “If you can’t be psyched about your own thoughts,” she said in an interview a few years ago, “Then how are you supposed to have a meaningful interaction with anyone?”

I’m in the process of growing right now, of trying both to be open to emotions as they come, without turning them into dreamy narratives, and to stand up for myself and what feels useful, if not good.  If this year began with track one of Burn Your Fire for No Witness, it seems apt that it has ended with me thinking more about the final track, “Windows.”  After a whole album of confronting oneself and others, Olsen reminds me that all the confrontation is also not just for the sake of self-awareness—it’s so we can feel better.  I spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts last year, and some of them were powerful.  The meaningful interactions were there, too.  And I hope I can keep feeling better.

We throw our shadows down
we must throw our shadows down
we live and throw our shadows down
it’s how we get around

What’s so wrong with the light?

https://youtu.be/0CQSOoFlaxI

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divorce Closet: Songs that Are Not Yours to Sing

 

I am in the Corcoran in Washington, D. C.  Everywhere, I am surrounded by the Annie Leibovitz exhibition, A Photographer’s Life, and everywhere, I am undone by the evidence of love.   There are, of course, the famous Rolling Stone images, the ones loved by the world:  giant prints of naked John Lennon and clothed Yoko Ono, Meg and Jack White as circus performers with Meg strapped to a wheel and Jack aiming a dagger. But this exhibition also contains the photos of a dead Susan Sontag:  of Annie taking care of Sontag, of Sontag being wheeled onto planes to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, and, finally, controversially, of her corpse, alone.   I look at that thin, still body, the signature shock of white hair, and I know that all of these images are love.

But I am newly in love, and death is far off in the background of my world.  I’m still in Act One, and Mortality is merely a dusty prop in a dark corner, to be exposed once, only, in the very final scene, the very last act.  I know that I see love, but my love has never died—will never die, I think.  And so, I have to round the corner before I find the photograph that undoes me and brings tears of recognition.

Small, square-framed amidst two or three other minor works, it is a picture of a handful of seashells.  “Susan’s Shells,” it’s called.  I weep openly.  Strangers look over to see if they are missing another picture of the corpse, squint at the tiny image, glance sideways at me.  After all the chemo and bones and death and pain, Annie Leibovitz took pictures of her lover’s things.  She took pictures of the shells because Susan was loved, and because Susan loved them, the shells are loved.  The shells are love.  I am surrounded even here by love:  these images of what the lover has left, in the end.  The beloved, the beloved may be dead, but still her objects remain, and anything she touched with her notice has become love:  all that it was and all that remains.   I am surrounded by love.  And because I am in love, I feel this, and I weep.

*****

I go back to Alexandria, Virginia, to my beloved’s home to which I have a key, and I feel it again.   I am here again from Missouri, and I let myself in with this key his hands have touched.  I feel it again in his closet.  Sam’s shirts.   Surrounded by these artifacts of him, imbued with their “him-ness,” the smell of him, I am surrounded by this love of him concretely:  tactile, viscous, the densest reality of this man with whom I am in love, perhaps more than I’ve ever been.  I sigh with happiness to be this close to him, even amidst the merest traces.  He seems so present that I turn, instinctively, to look for him in the doorway.  But he is on a business trip, and I am here in his closet, looking through his stuff for evidence, the proof that his divorce was the best thing ever to happen to him and to me.

*****

I am a snoop. If you are in a relationship with me, and I have not yet sounded out the depths of your heart, unpacked and analyzed the degree to which you love me, I will secretly read your diary, pour over your photo albums, maybe look under your bed to find, among the dust bunnies and crumpled, mislaid receipts, the measure of your love for me.   It is not that I am empty, low on self esteem and skittish in my trust, but rather that I cannot accept “enough” when I could find out “more.”  I am a museum with a permanent source of funding; I am the curator herself, rubbing her hands with glee over each new acquisition, considering its possibilities, reconstructing the exhibit again and again.  I know each love is a story with the details missing, with multiple threads, and the fuller I can make the story, the more of it I can tell.   And feel.  And tell again.

This story, the story of Sam and Bryn, has infinite possibilities and has borne infinite retellings—a strong initial framework, rife with blank spaces, waiting to be filled with evidence:

We meet in Kansas, 1994, both in separate graduate programs, but he walks into the used bookstore where I work, and he smiles at me.  I think to myself—I really do:  “He is the handsomest man I have ever seen.”  He approaches the desk. 

“Hey, do you have a copy of The History of Saturday Night Live?”

In my head:  “Oh god, and he is funny, so lovely, the man of my dreams.” 

Not in my head:  “No, but if you leave your name and phone number, I can call you if it ever comes in.” 

The book comes in the very next day.

We become friends of a sort, despite his girlfriend, on whom I ask him to cheat before he returns to New York; he will say thank you and gently refuse, in the third email I ever receive.   I will receive one email from him every year, and so, we stay in touch. 

And when he visits me in Seattle, 2003, just before they get engaged, I am mid-way through my doctorate and my own happy relationship.  It will not seem so strange, although I have my suspicions, suspicions confirmed years later, in bed, when I ask him why he visited then, why I was not invited to the wedding.  Sam turns to me and holds my face.  “She wanted to get married, but I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t sleep, so I came to see you. And you seemed so happy.   I wanted to invite you, but you were the hope, and I couldn’t bear to see you.”

We are that story:  old friends with bad timing.  It bears retelling.

We decide to retell it.  I am a professor in Missouri when she leaves him 2007, and the email I receive is, somehow, not entirely surprising: “I’m getting divorced and will be in Kansas in May.  Want to meet up?”

It is not surprising—is this not how the story goes?

We meet again in Lawrence, Kansas—not the city of our meeting but the city in between that of the business trip bringing him back to Kansas, and the small, depressing university town to which I’ve willingly exiled myself, not fully anticipating the loneliness of the single, small-town professor.   We decide to meet at his hotel room.  Between us, we have eleven years of unconsummated desire, an implicit agreement that we are soul mates, permission newly granted.  And we meet at a hotel room.

Is this not how the story goes?

We begin to fly back and forth between Missouri and Washington, D. C.  I take to singing the Magnetic Fields’ song “Washington, D. C.,” joyful in its specificity, how it’s about him, it’s about me:

Washington, D. C.

it’s paradise to me

It’s not the people doing something real

it’s not the way that springtime makes you feel  no no no

It ain’t no famous name on a golden plaque

That keeps me that makes me ride that railroad track

It’s my baby’s kiss that keeps me coming back

Occasionally, he has more business trips—one or two days during the three or four I visit.  I stay, rather than return to my miserable town, consider these days in D. C. without him my chance to try out being the second wife.  I prowl the rooms, feel out a space for myself in this home recently abandoned by the first one, familiarizing myself with his neighborhood, his life, his things.

By which I mean I snoop.

*****

Still in the closet.  The mother lode is behind the shirts.  I push aside a box of files and find a giant document, beautifully illuminated with scrollwork, elaborately framed.  It’s the first ketubah I’ve ever seen, but I recognize it from the mini-lessons in Judaism Sam’s been giving me—an explanation of a blessing here, “you cover the bread so it doesn’t get embarrassed,” a definition of a word there, a “lulav” is a palm frond.  I gather in the lessons greedily:  Sam’s faith.   I laugh when others ask if he is trying to convert me.  “No,” I say.  “Not yet,” a part of me whispers, hearing the echoes of the not-yet-ex-wife, the phrase “cultural differences.”  But here it is, this ketubah, her explicit agreement that even if she is not Jewish, their children will be . . .and that she will love him forever, as will he. I find his signature (Sam’s signature) and read the lines:   “And I, Samuel Edward, say to my beloved, Sara Renee . . . .”

It is beautiful.  But I am the beloved now.  It moves and irritates me, these words of forever dismissed after two years of marriage.  Our story is just as long as theirs, and our marriage will be longer.  Is that not how the story goes?

I set the heavy frame aside, impatient, glimpsing the wedding album stacked in the corner.  This object better fits my need for evidence, contributing to the details of my collection in a more satisfactory way.  Images never lie like words.  These photographs are sepia-toned, as if from an event well in the past, one for books closed, books of mistakes not likely to be repeated.  There are many posed family portraits and few candids, and the curator inside likes this:  the “not us” portion of our love’s retrospective.  I will give it not even a full wall, this marriage never meant to be, a function of convention, John Lennon and Cynthia, Jack and Meg White’s brief marriage before the real fame came, the youthful, unquestioned “next step, later justly questioned.

The curator ignores the fact that it is the wife, the first one, who did the questioning.

Beloved, beloved . . . the writing actually on their wall.  “I, the beloved, promise to break these solemn vows, beloved, once loved, I will no longer love.”  Even as I look through this album, this bride’s face looks happily out at mine, and I know she is beginning life again with another, the bad one; they are the cheaters.  I know this from her blog.  My search is not limited to this home.  An academic knows to diversify her sources.  A curator will accept an anonymous donation, if it serves her purposes.

I close the album, full of his pain, giddy with the pleasure that I know it now.  It’s not enough, and I want more.  And then I know it’s here, somewhere.  If all these things were kept, there is another object in this house.  I will trace the failure of this marriage to its first object. I will find it and know it all.  Love him fully.  And somehow, I will know that I am, too.  Loved more than her.

I look for some place small.  Like me, my lover believes in ritual, and so, I think like him.  That’s how it is, in these stories:  two hearts, one mind.

And I find it sooner than you’d think:  in the small, shallow drawer of his valet.

His wedding ring is placed inside another circle—a bracelet of beads, protecting it from further harm. It is a gesture so Sam, I catch my breath.   Sam’s gestures.  I pick it up, note the two diamonds inside the band, and (I do), I put it on.

It is, predictably, too big for me, but there’s a coldness to this ring.  I feel less, not more.  I feel, in fact, so small:  smaller than this world I’ve made of Him and Me, smaller than a shell.

Even if this ring did fit, I know with sudden clarity what fact this evidence supports.  I am not inside this circle.  In fact, I am so far out of it that it embarrasses me. I need to be covered, like bread.  This is the truth.  It’s not the truth I meant to find.  It is, however, the truth that must be faced, and for now, there is no other corner to turn and find my face in love.

This is what it means to go through a divorce.  You exit a life that has been years in the making, and you leave it so fast, you leave a wake—not breadcrumbs leading you back to home but the pieces of the home itself. They’ve led me to see that you are the one who never wanted to leave, the one who can’t yet break the circle.  I have presumed that I could break it, reform it in my own image, simply by looking to understand you, my love, my darling, by feeling out these crumbs of a home and thinking they were mine.  But they are not mine, just as no collection of you can ever make you mine.

This is the end of this story.  Beloved, beloved—there is a blank space in another story not my own, a story of you, a stranger, this quiet hoarder.  Here is all the proof you’ll ever need that, once, you were not loved enough, not even enough for her to take the wedding china or these photos and save you from the things that were your things together. I know now these things will never be my things.  This is not my story.  I will not be the next wife.

Dodging the Bullets, By Which We Mean Hearts

One year ago this month, I dodged a bullet and ran straight towards another; one year ago this coming month, I dodged that one, too.  I’ve had a strange love year, this year, and what I’ll most remember about it is that sentence:  “You dodged a bullet.”

It’s meant to be reassuring:  a friend’s arm around you, a deep sigh, as you’re steered away from the scene of a great emotional crime or the hot mess of a person.  The chorus of Broken Social Scene’s “Ibi Dreams of Pavement” warns us against the hubris of taking on too much, the danger of engaging with others’ grotesque failings:  “And if God is what they made / cut their hands off, believers / Don’t get high on what you create.”  You end up on a couch with someone, recounting all the red flags:   the smoking, the rehab, the silence about the future, the over-promising about the future, the annoying friends, any fact that didn’t seem to want to touch you, etc.  “I knew those things bothered me.  I knew it from the start,” you say, confused.   And your friend pours you more red wine and pats your hand.  “You don’t have to care about those things anymore.  You dodged a bullet.”

But every time I hear that phrase, I feel bad, for a lot of reasons.

Because it puts me in a superior position, and that feels a little . . . superior. And does this bother me because I don’t feel better than someone else or because I do? 

I know I’m not a perfect partner:  I don’t make much money, if that’s important to you.  I’m a little helpless when it comes to technology and more than a little lazy.  I always want every dead horse beaten to a pulp, by which I mean I can never let anything go. I make irritating generalizations about men.  I have the occasional drunken outburst; at least twice, boyfriends have told me they don’t enjoy having to pour me into a car after weddings.  But it’s also true that my life has so few concrete, “big” complications:  no child, no lurking ex, a stable career and a job I love.  My physical health is fine.  I am emotionally happy, for the most part, and have been for years. No one’s coming for me—creditors, former lovers, etc.  But that’s mostly just Doing Life and either not having made some of the Big Choices or having managed their consequences by this point in time.  I hate writing this paragraph because it sounds like bragging.  And maybe that’s why my friends want to say it for me:  “You dodged a bullet.  That person doesn’t have himself together.  You do.  And you deserve better.”  I get that it’s good to be met as an equal.  Why do I still feel bad about asserting my own togetherness, much less the relatively high-functioning nature of that togetherness, as a standard by which I will search for others?

Because it makes me too aware of generic definitions of togetherness, and I hate the generic?

But “having yourself together” . . . there’s got to be some mathematical term, some biological concept, for a series of evolving wholes.  The Barback once told me his ex-girlfriend thought he had it together because he had a car, a child, a cool apartment, and was going back to school.  “I told her, ‘Yeah, but I’m just THIS CLOSE to it all collapsing, to not having it together,'” he said.  Life, for him, was always just one step away from going on hold; it would take just one attack of his chronic illness to eradicate a new path.  At least, that’s what he felt. And I thought THAT was a red flag in and of itself:  that he saw Life as a series of infinite dangers, that if one block crumbled, the whole wall would fall and there’d be no rebuilding.  It was a red flag because this belief was predicated on another red flag:  he had no faith that anyone would stick around to help him rebuild.  He wouldn’t let you.  That is, he wouldn’t let me.  One unkind word from him, two unkind words from me.  He claims I was the bullet.  I claim he was the gun.

While I do like to think my form of togetherness has a sustainability, a resilience, I do understand how wholeness itself might be, at times, circumstantial, a fortuitous intersection of the right conditions with one’s desires.  Deleuze and Guattari, in fact, saw the body itself as a fluid whole, ever becoming, a shifting series of plateaus (a “thousand,” in their most famous work), rhizomes spreading out, forming subjectivities, plural.  What could it mean to be “together,” when one’s own criteria for being (much less those of another, imposed upon one) change as we age?

What it could mean is that one is possibly both the target and the bullet.

Because when someone tells a woman she dodged a bullet, there’s a kind of reinforcement that the smartest way to be in a relationship is to maintain a level of emotional safety, to choose only partners who won’t require excessive care from you.  And that seems . . . like the worst version of the worst masculine stereotype.

I Googled “dodged a bullet,” just to see what came up, and it was pretty awful, but it was mostly pretty awful because it seemed like there were a lot of links for men about “crazy women” and how a guy could know whether he’d dodged a bullet.  I won’t provide links to these.  They were callous, and they were cruel, but the overall tenor of them was this:  you dodged a bullet if she’s “making a big deal” out of something–the relationship, the break-up, etc.  “Making a big deal,” “causing drama” . . . all these seemed like euphemisms for “caring,” to me.   But instead of “caring,” the word these sites used was this:  “insecure.”

If you’ve read my other essays about The Barback, this conflation of vulnerability and insecurity might sound familiar.  And it does still anger me—not, I feel certain, because I am “insecure” but because he judged my admission of vulnerability from a place of distance, when he had been requiring that his own admissions be met with love.  His vulnerability was “self aware” and “rational”; mine was “insecure” and “dark.”  Leslie Jamison’s beautiful essay “In Defense of Saccharin(e)”  thinks through the myriad ways we in academia are taught to avoid excess, to refine our feelings and thinking while rejecting refined sugar in any form, aesthetic or otherwise, as if, in doing so, we can prove our superiority to feeling, that we’re better than simple emotions leading us to clear-cut disasters of feeling, smart enough to know what  feelings are worth it and which are not:

We dispatch entire works, entire genres in the clean guillotine strokes of these words: saccharine, syrupy, sentimental. It’s as if sentimentality is something we don’t need to define. We only need to hate it, shield ourselves from it, articulate ourselves against it—thus asserting that we are arbiters of artistry and subtlety, an elite so sensitive we don’t need the same forceful quantities of feeling. We will subsist more delicately, we say. We will subsist on less.  In this, we make sure we’re not mistaken for the rest of the world, whose sensibilities are too easily moved by crude surfaces of feeling or meaning. We don’t examine the contours of sentimentality, we simply eschew them. We don’t worry about the fine line between melodrama and pathos, we simply assert that we’re camped on the proper side of the divide.

In one strand of the essay, a younger Jamison eschews “girly drinks” for whiskey, a strategy to look tougher, smarter—to look, frankly, “male.”  It is a strategy of which I am guilty—as if whiskey will inoculate me against the bullet I’m clearly courting, a way to have my deep feelings and still seem “securely” invulnerable from them.

Near the end of “Ibi Dreams of Pavement,” the lyrics link “dodging a bullet” to not only vulnerability but to love and, particularly, women’s love:

And if love is what they gave,
Turn wives into healers
Don’t get high on what you create
Or it might just steal ya

Excessive caring is “feminine.” Taking care of yourself and not caring are “masculine.”  And the gendering of it all—of avoiding those who will “cause drama” or who aren’t as “together” as we are, the cautioning against a wife becoming healer . . . it makes me think that what troubles me most about the phrase “dodging a bullet” is that it encourages us all, women and men, to think of caring about those who need care as involving oneself in an act of danger, an obliteration of the individual self.

Which, in fact, it is.  Or, at the least, isn’t there is an alteration of the self because it has put itself in the way of vulnerability, in the path of something fast moving and vital?

But isn’t all vulnerability a risk?  And don’t we cringe at that cliché because we want to believe someday, we will understand fully all the warning signs in advance and do everything just right, as if the signs don’t change as often as what counts as danger for us as we grow, our thousand plateaus shifting?

I know that there are risks and RISKS.  I don’t want to take care of someone who won’t take care of me.  I don’t want to be with someone I cherish but who won’t mirror back the courage I try to have when I stand in the way, willingly, of what makes them crumble.  I don’t want someone who will not sweetly, graciously catch me when someday I also fall.   A yoga teacher used to end class by encouraging us to “protect your heart with wisdom—give your heart with courage.”  I’ve thought a lot about the first part of this . . . but isn’t it painful to think of so many people as bullets, of ourselves in need of so much protection, as if giving weren’t, itself, eventually to be the result?

Don’t I carry within the barrel of my own heart, a bullet I hope, some day, someone won’t dodge?

 

 

 

Practice Rooms: Blood Memory–The Brothers and the Silence

My first draft of this disappeared when I hit “publish,” and I started crying.  I don’t even want to rewrite it, but I feel too sad to do nothing.  This won’t be as good.  You know it won’t be.

Once upon a time, the man I would fall so passionately in love with that it could, on occasion, make me sick, this man was walking through Volunteer Park, playing his bass. He was probably wearing a tank top, probably had smoked some weed, and probably was humming serenely.  His eyes were sort of hooded and he had a small, mysterious smile that made him look like George Harrison, my favorite Beatle.  He, too, was a Quiet One.

Anyway, this man heard drumming—good drumming—and he followed the sound, coming finally upon a curly-haired, Muppet-like guy with his full drum kit set up under one of the ginkgo trees. The two locked eyes, nodded, and jammed together for twenty minutes or more without speaking. They knew when to finish the song, just because they both felt when it was done. “I’m Ryan,” said the man whose love would feel like a thick cord between my heart and his. “Hey, man,” said the Muppet drummer. “I’m Jay.”

This is how Jay and Ryan met, and this is how the Brothers of Max Catharsis began. And this is how Ryan practiced.

Ryan didn’t play music.  He felt it.  He intuited it from the ether.  A friend told him about modern dance pioneer Martha Graham’s phrase “blood memory,” and he wrote a song about it, calling it, instead, “Blood Music.”  Like dancing, that song makes form fluid, runs deep into the spaces of the body that are beyond words.  The Brothers were, after all, an instrumental trio, and they didn’t need words—they ran deep enough on their own.  When I met the third member, Joe, and asked him what he did, he stared at me and replied, scornfully, “You mean, for money?  I’m a waiter,” and I felt ashamed. The three of them would build songs together, listening, responding, finding their way through the music like blind men touching bolts of silk.  When one of them would improvise for an extended period of time and really “get it,” they would nod at each other and ask, later, “You go to Havana, man?”  “Going to Havana”—that place beyond words. They put out two CD’s, but they didn’t really care who heard them.  Once, I went to a gig and was the only audience member.  They laughed and played and played, until they were all in Havana, and it didn’t even matter that I was there.

That was how I felt, at first, with Ryan:  I couldn’t always tell if it mattered I was there because, at first, he wouldn’t tell me how he felt.  He lived upstairs from me and took to hanging out on the porch when he knew that I’d be home.  That was how I came to know he liked me, and I was ambivalent.  “He never really talks, and I don’t like his goatee,” I’d tell Gretchen, wrinkling my nose.  I thought I’d give him a chance, though, and so, I did what I do with all quiet people:  I asked him questions.  What was your favorite birthday party?  When was the last time you were really afraid?  How do you feel about your mother?  And Ryan resisted—or that’s how it felt.  “Aw, man, that stuff will just come out,” he’d say, stretching his limbs out across the couch we kept on the porch.  “Let’s just hang out.”  Let’s be in Havana.

But that was how I hung out.  I was a high-wire act, rushing out into adventure and vulnerability, with very little underneath me, no net, and even less of a sense of how far down I might fall.  I was a graduate student who made her living analyzing other people’s dialogues. Words, for me,  were at the crux of all intimacy.  I don’t fall in love—I talk myself into it.  I talk myself out of it.  I find out what I’m feeling not by feeling it but through processing it out loud.  Leslie Jamison, in her essay “In Defense of the Sacchrin(e),” clearly agrees, since she says, “This is how writers fall in love.  They feel complicated together, and then they talk about it.”  I wanted a 1000-word essay from each lover on why he wanted my eyes to open on him every morning.  How could I sit on this couch in silence?  What could I feel with that?

A lot, I found.  While I never stopped needing the words, Ryan was persistent, patient, and we fell.  He’d George Harrison smile at me, reach for me, and down, down we’d go.

There was one word, though, that Ryan used a lot with me.  That word was “No.”  I’d suggest we go out for drinks.  “No,” he’d say, “let’s watch a movie.”  I’d ask if he wanted to take a walk.  No, it was cold—and he had that new song to practice.  Brunch before the Market?  No, and he’d be hungry at 3:00, that witching hour when all restaurants had stopped serving lunch and hadn’t yet started serving dinner.  Once, angry at him, I accused him of being Balkan.  “You ALWAYS say no first when I suggest something, even if you want to do it!  It’s like it has to be your idea, or you don’t want to do it.  Why, Ry?  Are you from the Balkan States?”  He laughed at that, and then said, “No.”

I see it now—that he said no because he couldn’t easily express a lot of what he wanted to say, that, like me, he was in love and frightened by the depth of the feeling, afraid, as I was, that we didn’t “get” each other.  He said no so he had some sense of control, some way to find a place in this thing that rushed, like the ground, up to meet the falling.  But then, it felt like rejection, and it felt like I was being shut out.

When I cheated on him with Johnny Horton, it was because of words.  Johnny was a poet, and Johnny had so many words, so very many words and so many ways to say yes.  And I couldn’t say no.  So I didn’t.

Ryan and I would break up five more times, over the course of two and a half years, but how Ryan and I made it past that first break-up into a better phase of our relationship taught me almost all of the words I would need to understand love, even now.  I learned that silence didn’t have to mean it was over, and he became more open, more able to talk about his fears and hopes for us. Once he came home from band practice, giddy with the pleasure of self-awareness:  “Brynny!  Guess what?  We were trying to decide what to work on, and Joe wanted to start a new song, but I said, no, we should keep practicing the old one, and he said, ‘Man, why do you always have to say no first?’  I am a Balkan!”

We were never on the same page, but that was because I wanted a page, a place onto which we could write our story.  And Ryan was a musician.  But I did learn how to feel.  Really feel.

When he moved out, after living together for one month, our second-to-last break-up, Ryan left me a list of all the things he loved most about me, all the precious things we’d given each other during our years together.  One of them was this:  “Thank you for leading me out of the Balkan States.”  So many words, in the end.  It brings tears to my eyes even now, as I write this, and sometimes, still, I am so sad thinking of him, wishing I could have sat quietly next to him forever, humming along to those songs without words.

Practice Rooms: When I Didn’t Enjoy the Silence with Amy

Last night, I went to the Tractor Tavern’s annual New Wave Cover Band Night: Love Vigilantes (the New Order band), For the Masses (Depeche Mode), and This Charming Band (Morrissey/The Smiths). It was, frankly, epic. There was a light that will never go out, and people were people on a Blue Monday. I’d been chatting up this charming man throughout the evening, and sometime during “Never Let Me Down Again,” we began spontaneously choreographing little moves.

And that’s when I missed Amy.

I believe Amy played the flute briefly, but this post isn’t about how she practiced music. It’s about how WE “practiced” music together, and why we failed, as friends.

In this case, “practice” doesn’t refer to the honing of skills through repetition; it refers to a state of being, a way of living, like the practice of yoga or the practice of non-violence. Music was a religion for Amy and me. We made each other tapes with obscure songs on them—she would hold the recorder near the record player to capture Bobby Bare’s “Skip a Rope,” and I would hold the recorder near the television to capture bits of dialogue from Singles to put in between songs. We cruised the one mile you could cruise of our town for hours, listening to Erasure and making up elaborate synchronized arm movements we could both do, even while the other was driving. We did that so much. And when I first saw Depeche Mode, on the Songs of Faith and Devotion tour, it was with her. And when he sang the line “I’m taking a ride with my best friend,” we pointed to each other.

And then, in graduate school, she dumped me.

I’ve tried to write about this before. It was the first post I ever made on this blog. We were at least in Facebook contact at that point, but after that post, it seems, it was really over. I would say that it hurt her, but I wouldn’t say I knew anything about Amy anymore by then.

This past quarter, I taught creative non-fiction for the first time, and we talked a lot about the stories you aren’t ready to write. We’d listened to a This American Life piece on “Petty Tyrants,” which, unsurprisingly, generated a lot of what is called “revenge prose” from students, as they wrote their own pieces. “Revenge prose” is when, no matter what the author says is the emotional core of the piece, the reader can tell that the real goal of the piece is to get back at someone, to make them look bad and their own selves look better. “If you feel like you’re trying to defend something or prove something,” I said, one day, “you’re probably not ready to write it.”

I said it because I’d been thinking about the Amy piece, how I hadn’t been trying to get back at her, but how I had been trying both to defend myself and to prove something to myself. I’d been trying to defend myself from my own need for the conversation that never happened after she told us we weren’t best friends anymore. She felt there was nothing more to say—she’d just wanted to say it and seemed ok continuing our friendship in a different form, although she would no longer be pointing at ME during “Never Let Me Down.” So, I wrote a piece in lieu of that conversation. I didn’t even ever think she’d read it. I don’t think it’s mean—I still think what is most clear in that piece is that I still don’t feel clear, that I still don’t understand why we couldn’t talk to each other anymore. But there I go—proving something again. Trying to prove that I tried: to understand, to communicate, but the attempt was clumsy, incomplete, unchoreographed and out of sync.

The charming guy at the show was there with his own best friend, it turns out. “I can’t tell you how much I love that guy,” he shouted during “Enjoy the Silence.” Yes, I remember that: the wordless sense of belonging with your best friend, the way your very bodies would turn in unison towards the same lights and dance the same steps. I have a weird medallion from the Songs of Faith and Devotion show—it’s metal, with the astronaut from one of their videos on it. I keep it in a box with other broken things I don’t seem to want to let go of. Maybe I’ll give it to him and accept that while I may not enjoy it, this story is always going to end in silence.

Practice Rooms (A Musical History of Why We Failed): Jason and “Big Love”

“But Bryn,” some might say, “isn’t that what the whole blog is about?”

No. The whole blog is about music and intimacy.

But it occurred to me, as I was explaining to someone why I might be willing to give Fleetwood Mac a try, that I had the musical answers to some romantic questions raised by almost every boyfriend I’ve had. No need to tell me I’ll find love again, blah blah—I’m not just practicing what I preach. I’m watching how they practice. Because I’ve realized that the way they practice music is the sonorous foreshadowing of the problems we might have—the Hitchcock-like ominous violins building, just before the shower curtain is pulled back, and a vulnerable body is stabbed through the heart, among other places.

Let’s review:

Jason and “Big Love”

While I have never loved Fleetwood Mac, Jason did, and he converted me to at least really appreciating “Big Love.” Jason could belt it out like nobody’s business, but the Lindsay Buckingham guitar part is, by Jason’s own admission, a bitch. Fast, hard, and ever-changing in its rhythmic emphasis, the guitar murmurs intensely, a schizophrenic muttering on the bus, before it bursts, an intricate attack, and the chorus promises to leave your Stevie Nicks ass in search of REAL love. Big Love.

When Jason first saw Buckingham play that song live, he thought, “I’ll never be able to play that song.”

When Jason first met me, he was 19, and I was his 29 year-old grad assistant professor. When Jason and I fell in love, 11 years later, he was a wreck—a single father with a chronic illness, an addiction to multiple kinds of smoking, living at home, and still suffering, clearly, from the PTSD of his last, unhappy relationship with a narcissistic make-up artist. But we both (foolishly) thought, “But why can’t we be in love? We’ll just take it day by day.”

“But then I thought: Why can’t I learn how to play that song?” Jason told me, as he sat strumming it on my couch. “If I at least start practicing it, a little bit every day, I’ve got to be able to do it at some point, right?”

I loved him on that couch. I loved him everywhere.

We tried to date, despite the fact that he worked from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m. and I worked among the living. I tried hard to accept that his smoking and his preference for Red Bull to real food were not deal-breakers. He tried to believe me when I said I believed in him.

After practicing the song for over year, Jason could still only play about halfway through. He could play it really well, really beautifully, but at some point, he’d have to stop, shaking out his cramping hand. “My arm gets tired,” he’d say to me, sheepishly putting down the guitar. “I just don’t have the strength.”

We fell in love so hard. “I can’t stop thinking about you as my wife,” he said one night at a party, pulling me aside and holding my face. Behind him, I saw a green flash—like a giant green light from the universe telling us “GO.” I later found out it was a meteorite. I saw both it and his face, lit up with its own celestial energy. He saw only me, his back to the cosmos.

Within a month, he’d stopped speaking to me, finding excuses not to come over, to leave my birthday party after two hours. At first, he blamed me. I’d said something cruel and cold that reminded him of the narcissist. I’d said it in response to a cruel and cold statement of his own. But eventually, when we broke up for good, he said it was not because we had been foolish but because our love had been real. “It’s TOO real,” he said. “And I’m not ready.”

The last time I heard him practice “Big Love,” Jason realized he had been playing the whole thing too fast–that, if he’d slowed it down, he was actually pretty good. “But it’ll still be awhile before I can play the whole thing,” he said.

Yes. I think it probably will.

Check back later this week for “Eli and the Bands He Couldn’t Quit.”


Valentine’s Day Writing Challenge–Day 3: PJ Harvey and the Cosmos

The song
PJ Harvey’s “One Line”

The Memory
The night before I started my move to Missouri, the Final Ryan and I went to Golden Gardens beach. I did not know my move would be temporary, that I would not be able to stand being away from this city, much less this magical beach, which is scattered liberally with the glass hearts of others for the weeks after Valentine’s Day. He had already broken my own glass heart once that summer when he told me he wasn’t physically attracted to me and then, mysteriously, continued to want to be with me for the rest of my time. More mysteriously, although perhaps not, given my own fragile state, I let him.

We split a bottle of prosecco and an iPod, and in one of his more boyfriend-y moments, he put his sweatshirt on me, since the night was cool. We could hear another couple making out nearby us, and we couldn’t stop giggling. Then we were silent for a long time with the stars, and this song came on: “Do you remember the first kiss / stars shooting across the sky?”

I kid you not. We saw a shooting star. And Ryan, who was not as in love with me as I was with him, gasped, grabbed my arm and kissed me.

I called him the “Final” Ryan even at the time, not only because I’d dated too many Ryans in a row but because I knew, even if I didn’t want to know, that while I might see him again after I moved, this was really the end. I also knew he was syndecoche for all of Seattle. What I still don’t know is what I was for him.


You Remind Me of the Babe: Labyrinths, Tegan and Sara, and Going Nowhere With Love

“That is what I HATE about American Buddhism,” my friend Sonora says. “Everyone thinks they’re detaching to GET something, instead of just BEING.” It’s true—we even need to make NOT getting, not going, a kind of getting and going. It’s “growth,” it’s “moving towards enlightenment.” My favorite Buddhist saying reflects the futility of trying to make meaning of one’s own growth in the moment it is happening: “Oh, my friend, going in circles—you may enjoy going. But not in circles.”

So the saying . . .goes.

As much as I hate the name “Tegan,” smacking as it does of made-up sorority girl names, there is one Tegan and Sara song I think of, with terrible regularity: “Where Does the Good Go?” Its chorus refuses Buddhist detachment and demands an account of feelings remaindered like unpopular books: “Where does the good go?” While other clever lines clarify the singers’ losses, what sticks out is simply the repetition of this refrain, always calmly, as if it were not a desperate statement.

I often pass, while on my way to work, a church with a bulletin board that periodically invites you to walk its labyrinth, an invitation to meditate while walking, meeting obstacles as they come.

Is that labyrinth, too, supposed to “go” somewhere? Or are you just supposed to know, with each false turn, each dead end, that God is waiting in the center? Or is he/it walking with you, “Footprints” style?

I make no claims to believing in any guiding force, but I don’t mean it as a theological (or anti-theological statement) when I say I’m coming to think of Love as a labyrinth with neither Minotaur nor Goblet of Fire in the middle. (And, frankly, if you’ll recall, the Goblet of Fire itself was actually no prize but a trick, a monstrous, deadly trick of a port key.) When the obstacles aren’t glaringly obvious—red flags of ivy and of thorn (he has no career! he has no hope!), they seem to grow up in front of you, almost of their own accord, Harry Potter-style, with no purpose but to block your way. “Try again,” they whisper, and so you turn around, try to remember which routes you’ve tried and which you still have left.

Is this growth, this retreading of old ground? Is this blog, with its obsessive reconfigurations of the past, the story-boarding of my life with an ever longer soundtrack, a discography of singular moments of intimacy and B-sides of my heartbreaks . . . is it growth? Or are these several loving walks down Memory Lane ending, again and again, with the same sign at the end: Trail ends here. Turn around.

Where does the good go? The literary soul in me feebly makes the case for Roethke’s claim that “we learn by going where we have to go.” But that, too, turns all that desire, the deep pleasure in a former loved one’s face, the feeling of their hand in the dark, into a roadmap going somewhere—turns all that glorious love into mere accumulation, the shadows of some greater “There.”

In a movie from my childhood, Labyrinth, David Bowie plays the Goblin King and talk-sings a little ditty with some now-forgotten creature:

Bowie: You remind me of the babe
Creature: What babe?
Bowie: Babe with the power.
Creature: What power?

In that labyrinth, the search is for the thing you think you didn’t love until it was taken away from you. In this one, this writing of my own emotional maze, its hedges taller every turn, I sometimes wonder if that’s what I’m searching for, too—as if, somehow, by revisiting myself as the babe with or without power, I could find out where the good goes.



When “Our Song” Became Just Mine: Feeling the Break-Up Song

In my favorite movie, L. A. Story, Steve Martin’s character stares out the window at the rain, Enya swelling in the background, as his lover sits staring out her window on a plane, about to leave him. “Why is it we don’t always know the moment when love begins,” he says, overhead, “but we always know when it ends?”

I love that movie. But I have no idea what he means.

Frequent readers might notice there’s been a considerable gap between my last essay and this one, and it’s for the saddest, most ironic reason: the last post was about falling in love and finding our song, and this one, the one I’ve been avoiding writing, is about the end of that—both the finding and the falling. The turn away from love, for him, was so sharp, so sudden, yet the break-up itself took weeks, limping through silences and empty promises to come over and talk and the dark spaces in nights when I’d wake up at 4:00 a.m., expecting him to come to me after work, to come home, and crying when he never came. The turmoil of his waters created a corresponding movement in my own, not of falling away but falling into an anxiety so foreign, so crippling, I couldn’t even wonder what had happened. I only knew something was injured, and I couldn’t reach him.

We’d been to a wedding—a fun one, a beautiful one. I’d met his friends. I liked them. They liked me. They liked us together. At one point in the evening, we found one of them gazing thoughtfully at us. “You guys have a really intense relationship, don’t you?” she said. It was a statement more than a question. We looked at each other, somewhat startled, but in agreement. Yes. We do.

We did. How then, could what followed be any less intense?

Certainly, he was hung over and tired. Perhaps a wedding, when we’d been talking about our own as if it were a certainty, made me extra-sensitive to needing to feel close to him. I woke up in the hotel, and he was already gone, out to smoke. And somehow, I felt lonely for the first time in our relationship. I had so looked forward to this weekend, to having this time with him, particularly because his night job made going to sleep at the same time an impossibility, and waking up together a rarity. Turning my body to emptiness, I opened my eyes and missed him as if he’d left the continent, instead of just the room.

The morning was fine, and we were mostly quiet on the drive back. And in the two or three hours we had at home, before he went to work, the seeds of the break-up were sown. I said I’d felt vulnerable that day: “Love me up a little extra?” And the face I loved, to which I felt nearly addicted, with all its emotional mobility and sweetness, the face that usually lit up when it looked on mine, this face went cold as an empty bed. “That just seems really insecure.”

I wonder if my own face, then, registered how stunned, surprised, I was, so sure that he would understand, if not why I was reaching out, then maybe what a gift it is to ask a lover for their hand when we are in the water—not because we can’t pull ourselves out but because it means so much to have someone to ask. I tried to explain what I thought was the difference between vulnerability and insecurity: vulnerability is having the courage to express a need, however irrational it might be; insecurity lurks and is insatiable in its neediness. He saw no difference. Worse, he compared me to the most insecure person he knew, who knew he didn’t love her but would ask to be told that he did, which seemed less insecure to me than sadly insightful, a sideways glance at a truth she wanted not to know. He said, “Why can’t I just tell you I love you when I feel like it?” We looked at each other, something like fear welling up in each of us. It was time for him to go to work. I drove him. “I love you,” I said. “We’ll talk.” And he still said, “I love you, too,” with eyes I still understood. We did talk.

But then, the next night, at an Of Montreal show, I had too many drinks, and the show was visually chaotic, and as we walked home and I brought up the insecure comment again, saying how much that hurt me, he said that was proof I was insecure, and I said, “Fuck you.”

And it was that moment, he told me later, “That moment was the moment I fell out of love with you.” He told me two weeks later, two weeks of those nights in the dark, uncertain as to what had happened to warrant his departure from my life, since I remembered only that we had been upset but not what I had said That moment had been the end of love in his eyes. “That was the moment I fell out of love with you.”

Is any single sentence more devastating?

Of course, there were other, more significant reasons we broke up, some of which I knew were problems as I rolled over in an empty bed to find him already gone, the need for a cigarette greater than the need to see my face upon waking, than holding me close in the long morning of our first weekend away together. But knowing he had a moment in which he knew his love for me had ended . . . what else could I do for weeks but stare out my window, eyes fixed on that moment which, unfortunately, swam hazily back up from the recesses into which it had been drunkenly tucked, the bad seed into the dark earth of memory, bursting suddenly from husk to the fully-grown vine that would choke out all the beauty of that love, kill all the goodness like an unexpected frost?

The hardest part about having a break-up song for Jason is that unlike him and Steve Martin, I have no moment when love ended for me. If I needed to have a moment, perhaps it could be the moment when his lovely face went cold. His face is a serious face and defaults to a frown; maybe it could be the moment when that frown was directed at me. But I don’t have a moment, and as I try to recover, it is no surprise to me that the song to which I feel most drawn, the one that seems right, is not a break-up song at all. It is Joni Mitchell’s “All I Want,” and it is not a song of endings but a song about the desire to love and the difficulties of doing so, an expression of need that is vulnerable, not insecure, because it asks for the partner to be with her on a journey to be their better selves:

All I really, really want our love
to do
is to bring out the best in me
and in you, too

Joni Mitchell asks for recognition of her vulnerability, as I did, even as she takes ownership for her own role in the pain: “Do you see / do you see / do you see how you hurt me, baby? / So I hurt you, too, and we both get / so blue.” But the pain is not the point of the song; the point is that she wants to do so many loving things for this man, “to knit [him] a sweater / write [him] a love letter / wanna make [him] feel better.” She wants to “make you feel free.” And that is what makes it my best stab at a break-up song for Jason, who once wrote me, in his own love letter, that “when something so great becomes so necessary, so quickly, it is NOT unreasonable to ask if it can be forever.” Jason’s forever ended in a moment, and he stepped off of our path, while I am

on a lonely road, and I am traveling
traveling traveling traveling
looking for something—
What can it be?
Oh, I hate you some
I hate you some I love you some
Oh, I love you
when I forget about Me.