Learning the Truth

November 30, 2008
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I will write the secret into a story and there it will linger. I will sing of it every time I play the guitar, the way the words break open in my mouth with my heart in my eyes. Heather will return to her perfect life, thinking she has left it behind floating in the air over the crowds once gathered to attend the concert. It will be there with Heather even when John causes her to cry, the way the teardrops start so high, but soon fall and burst into nothing like raindrops do as they tumble from the sky.

But for now, I am free to tell it to the world or whoever chooses to listen.

Heather feels the music before she can decipher the actual sound of it. It vibrates everything from deep within her body, affecting her the same way it does the rest of the crowd gathered in the dark building. Though packed might be a better way to describe the mob pushed together in this tight space. Movement is limited and though a few people soon try to throw a few moves, with the angry ripple effect any and all movement causes in this throng, they are all just as quick to mellow out like all the others.

Heather walks in on us in mid-song. John follows close behind her, like a leech, never too far away to allow her any freedom. I see her separate the tightly crammed crowd easily to make her way to the front, like Moses parting the Red Sea. One simple act for her, one huge accomplishment for anyone else.

As she reaches the front of the crowd, I look down at the stage, laced with shadows and shedding splinters. I return my gaze to her face and she smiles, supporting me, telling me without words to continue. Our song comes to a close, and I reach for the microphone to say that this next one is for the friend who usually is always there for me. Another quick glance at Heather and the song takes off, starting even before I notice the slight frown on her face. I did emphasis the usually, as in she is usually there for me instead of always. But I ignore the frown and continue to sing the truth:
“Into the heart
Into the sea
She will wait for me
But will she stay for me

Into the heart
Into the sea of love
She will wait for him
She will stay for him

Well when I fly too close to the sun
And I make a splash to far from the shore
Where she’s waiting
He will come
He will fly by overhead
And take her by the hand
To lead her to a far away land

I feel the water closing in
And I’m drowning in the sea and there’s no one to save me
I’m drowning in the sea and feel I lived too fast and I fell too far too soon
But now I don’t care

I’m drowning in the sea with no one round to save me
And I don’t care
Because I cant see her eyes shining at me
Anymore

Into the heart
Into the sea
She will wait for me
But will she stay for me

Into the heart
Into the sea of love
she will wait for him
She will stay for him

Yeah she will stay for him…but not for me, yea I say, not for me…”

My voice paints notes of blue and red. I was alone all those times she left to go see him I thought, reliving the painful memories. My gaze is on the ground. The shadows in the darkened corners of the stage form shapes; the song I sing breathes nightmarish life into them.

I feel the crowd tempted to critique, to tell me that my tale has no suspense. This is a tale of abandonment as familiar to all as the stories all our parents murmured at night when we were young, letting us fall into sleep with happy endings dancing behind our eyelids. But no one does. Could it be they also still feel the pain- the aching, haunting agony- of their own untold stories? Could it be I am not as alone or abandoned as I feel.

My voice remained steady as I continued throughout the song, until, suddenly, it wasn’t. I try to speak into the microphone again, but everyone can note the moment it quivers, and breaks off entirely.

I finally gather my courage and glance up at Heather. It scares me. Her rainbows are washed away; her bubble is frighteningly transparent before it pops. I see through everything and finally I have laid it out for it to be in her sight as well.

She does not cry, but rubs her arm to hide the chills.

I think wildly, Let’s run away. Grab some clothes first, then the items we need to be us. My guitar, Heather’s laugh, no John anywhere near, holding the happy memories we have close, and retracing the faint steps which brought us here. Follow them backwards until we can start somewhere new, into the arms of a newborn dawn, and bathe in the pristine friendship we would have once more. We would be running away to perfection.

But the notion dies with the night, as Heather grabs her John and runs. She keeps running. I return my original notion of being alone. There is no comfort from this now silent, judging crowd.

That silence is awkward, the time when everyone would rather look down to closely inspect their shoes than at each other or even me for that matter. And I stand there on the stage, guitar in hand, tears in eyes. I whisper unheard after her, “You don’t have to be left- you only do the leaving. It’s not fair. And you never left John.” But I realize that they are both the worst. They are both dreadful, and both leave behind a bleak, desolate feeling.

I have relearned the most basic truths, the truth of emotion and the truth that life is not fair. It is also the truth that Heather is not coming back. I guess I learned that one too.





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