Monday, September 19, 2005

Melancholy Monday: A Gift You Can't Receive

I am an IPod devotee. I bring it with me when I work out to drown out the grunts and groans from the body builders at the Gym. I also bring it to listen to the music I developed a taste for in college. My theory is that your music tastes get pretty fixed in College. I rarely listen to a new group unless I accidentally hear them at a friend's house.

When I was in graduate school, I dated my first musician. I made the mistake of dating three more. In my early twenties I was drawn to musicians because they seemed so "sensitive" or "profound." I found the artistic temperament stimulating. The mercurial nature of a musician tended to augment passion. Thankfully I got over that phase (sadly, it took until late twenties).

I dated my last musician when I was 30. And, unlike the temperamental musicians from my twenties, he was a rather steady and predictable fellow. He liked sports, played softball with the "guys," drank beer, farted (alot), and held a steady, blue collar job.

When I first met him, I wasn't swept off my feet.

I found him stable, honest and predictable which is what I thought was all I needed at that time.

I had come off a horrible relationship. The first and only time I was ever engaged was to a man who I later realized was profoundly abusive. I got out of the relationship pretty quickly after that realization, but the scars of it lingered for years. I withdrew into my home. I slept all the time. I didn't like leaving my house during the daylight.

Then I met my steady musician boyfriend. He seemed to care. Soon after we dated, I contracted a high fever that put me in the hospital for 6 days. He visited me everyday, and snuck in milkshakes. This behavior was so different from my ex-fiancee that I thought it was supererogatory.

He attended to many details in my life that I simply couldn't handle in my advanced depressed state. So, I tried to be his girlfriend.

While doing sit ups at the gym, a song that my stable musician wrote for me came up on my playlist. A few weeks ago all of my playlists mysteriously got erased, and so now when I listen to the songs on my IPod, I never know what is next. I started listening to the lyrics of this love song that stable musician boyfriend wrote, and I struggled to identify the song.

That is the truly melancholy part of the story. After hearing the refrain, twice, I figured out it was his song. 30 seconds more and I remembered that he wrote it for me. I sat a few minutes longer and remembered, finally, why he wrote it.

He wanted so desperately to rouse me from my depression, my heartbreak, and to inspire me to love him. The first time I heard him play this song publicly, I decided to give him a chance. I had never been so moved by a gesture and I figured that any man likely to write a song like that was worth being with.

It didn't work. In fact, it ended really badly. And, truth be told, I broke his heart. I make no excuses for this. I broke his heart because I simply could not return his love. One of his lyrics goes: " I will wait till the sunlight's in your eyes. I will wait till your meadows are gold." The title of the song is I'll Never Rise, which comes from his lyric: "because without your love, I'll never rise."

I couldn't love him. There are all sorts of complicated reasons why I couldn't. And to, hopefully, stave off all comments that I just don't like nice guys, let me say that is simply not the best description of what happened.

What haunts me is that I didn't instantly recognize a song that he wrote for me. I played it three more times after it accidentally showed up on my random playlist. For, perhaps, the first time, I heard how desperate he was for my love. I couldn't give him what he wanted.

He handed me this gift of a song, and I simply couldn't receive it.