Friday, June 02, 2006

but she's out with her answerphone

Type a thousand words of regret into notepad. Erase them, start again. How many times is that now? More than enough, you answer. The words never quite fit. Which friend are you writing about this time? I'm not sure - maybe all of them, you answer. You try again, this time in public; words have always failed you when it came to the truth. They probably still will. You try anyway.

Jeff Buckley

Morning Theft

Your first friend sat with you in a kebab shop that's long since been burnt down - accidentally by its own staff, no less. Huh, ironic, you think. She sits there so effervescent, her hands always moving, your eyes always darting about - the ceiling, the staff, the customers, the food, your words - everything takes on a new meaning, a new life, a new freshness when you are with her. You look away from her; out the window - you've always loved windows; looking out, looking in - raining outside: I guess I don't mind walking in the rain with her, you think.

You look back and she's made you a star out of an aluminium ashtray. You didn't smoke at this point in your life. This star: it looks like a piece of rubbish yet to be disposed of. To you it is something special, something to be cherished, a remarkable gesture, your first gift from your new best friend. You get home, hold it in your hands and then set it down... the next day you wake up and it's gone; dumped. Huh, ironic, you think, as you sit here typing these words thinking of all that happened after; all that hasn't happened since.


Your second friend was your next best friend; she wasn't a replacement. Every friend is different, special in their own way, this one is special: truly, truly special. Others stare and gawk; watch you like hawks. They think there is something more than friendship - there has to be, look at how they laugh; they think if they stare long enough it will appear, it will be written in your eyes. There isn't anything to be seen, of course, but it puts a weight between you. A heaviness hangs in the air; words unspoken, difficulties raised. You never knew what to do about these things; so you ignore them, convince yourself everything's going to be ok.

You sit beside each other, stare at the sky, the clouds, pick out patterns and faces, tell secrets that no one else would want to know. You listen to each other. Now after everything the main thing you remember is laughing with her; at friends, at music, at stupid things, at important things - laughter was your escape. These days you laugh sometimes, but it's never a real laugh. It's always a bitter laugh, ha ha ha, isn't it funny how things turn out. The guy who wrote the song you best relate to is now dead; drowned in a river, and no one will ever know whether it was an accident or not.


Lyrics stand out when they're sang by such a melodious, beautiful, and powerful voice: "friendships battered down by useless history / unexamined failure", "what am I still to you? / some thief who stole from you / or some fool drama queen whose chances were few", "though the meaning fits, there's no relief in this / I miss my beautiful friend". Sometimes friendships fall into place, and sometimes they don't, but no matter what, sometimes it's impossible to let go. So you're trying to hold onto the ones that do, while mourning and possibly repairing the ones that don't. Jeff Buckley helps. It's an ok world, isn't it? You realise you're smiling. This is the first time, since...

Relevant Bonus x 3:

The Frames - Star Star (live at the Fine Line Music Café)
Alexi Murdoch - Song For You
Cloud Cult - As Long as You're Happy (live at KEXP)