It’s always cologne and lyrics. It’s always me walking around minding my own business when one of those two things comes along and stops me dead in my tracks. The memories come flooding back and I find myself paralyzed by all of the times we touched and all the words we never said.
This is a story of different people, different times, different places, different memories and the soundtrack that played to each of those bits of my past.
Turn your lights down low
Never, never try to resist, oh no
I remember a decade ago. I remember a heart that was bursting and ready to love, and a mind without any of the good sense to know just how I should do that. I remember couches in basements. I remember Lauryn Hill and Bob Marley, Wyclef and Claudette, you and me and a world I swore would never come between us. A world we didn’t know shit about then and probably still don’t know shit about now. And though I think it would be the safe thing to do to call it puppy love, there is this fraction of me that just believes it was simply before our time. Because there is a fraction of me that still sees how super dope you are. There is a fraction of me that stops scrolling every time you pop up on my Instagram feed and I see your life reverberating with the kind of passion I fight to bring to mine each day. That is the part of me that is always grateful that we had a chance to turn those basement lights down low.
Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
There were cold nights and knock-down-drag-out fights. Now the hideous memories are so inflated that I couldn’t see our past straight if I tried. Loving you felt like an out-of-body experience. I don’t know that girl anymore. Life changed me in ways that built me to never endure what I so openly chose to undertake by ushering you in. And I ushered you the fuck in. I took you on. I held you down. I drew you near. I let my heart be reckless because I thought that meant somehow, it would work. We would work. Back then I thought it was supposed to be extreme and ugly. I thought it was supposed to sting and hurt. I thought we were supposed to hurl unforgivable words at each other. Sometimes feeling awful numbs us so much we think it feels good.
Damned if I do
Damned If I don’t
You know I got a girl back home
You got a man but you want, but you want
There is not a you here, not a specific you, but you are all the things I could never have, all the pieces I could never put together, all the carrots that just dangled in front of me. It’s you and you and you and you and you. It’s every last one of you. It’s all the fire I played with and all the shitty thoughts I pondered and all the greed I had. It’s all of the electricity and frenzied energy that accompanies only pursuing something because you know you can’t have it. There is all of the devilish possibility that swells in your head and heart knowing something is not within your reach. There is the reality that sometimes we are simply shit. We are fragile. We are complex. We are complicated. We are not good or bad, right or wrong, angelic or devilish. We are people and people sometimes have an impulse to fuck it all up, burn all the bridges, torch the happy homes people worked tirelessly to construct or the ones they built with their very own hands. Yes, sometimes we are simply shit. If you haven’t ever been, I implore you to live a little longer. Sometimes we are just human, and we pray on most days the Universe intercedes so we can’t act on what feels like such a basic instinct.
I stayed just a little too long
Now it’s time for me to move on
They say I’m hopeless
As a penny with a hole in it
It was a Friday morning. You were getting ready for work and I was getting ready to leave. Dionne Farris came on and we turned it up. We blasted it. We bobbed our heads. I swayed my hips. You lip sang while you put on your Converses. I cocked my head back and laughed my loud, ugly laugh. And in that moment, we were perfect. We didn’t need anything else. We didn’t want anything else. We couldn’t think of anything else. We would collapse only a few days after that, but in that moment, I swear we were perfect.
Call me crazy
Shit at least you call me
It’s freezing outside, but it is sub-arctic between us. And I wish the airport weren’t so close because I need more time to think and talk and plead my case. And I wish it weren’t Valentine’s Day weekend because then this wouldn’t feel so cliché. And I wish it weren’t a slow airport morning so I could just drop you off without having to get out of the driver’s seat and stumble through a goodbye. And I wish that just you touching my back didn’t feel so electric because maybe then this moment would not feel so dead. But it did. So it does. And I am silly puddy in your hands. I don’t get it. I never will. Two years will pass and I will still wonder just what the hell all of that was. It won’t make a lick of sense, but the volt that jolts through me anytime you pop up reminds me that some people always remain dangerous and delicious. Every time I hear Diced Pineapples, I think of that debilitating ride to the airport and I’m grateful that we could at least both hum along to that song. It was our greatest common denominator in a moment jumbled by all of the words on our two separate pages. Our bodies spoke a lingua franca all weekend, and then we went mute. But, every time I hear that song, I think about you.