You hope you’re just a memory to her, as you squat on the heels of your boots in a forlorn little park on a hill over the city, smoking a cigarette and looking down. You want to be a memory… faint, as though you died in an almost forgotten war.
Another reading of this song… not sure why I felt compelled to do it again, just now. I was fooling around with the minor slide tuning and remembered I used to do it in a similar tuning a few years back. The recent version had an almost jaunty folk-funk thing going… here I go back to a darkly minor feel… the feel of a storm gathering. I was hoping to suggest a cold, restless spirit driven to self-exile by his own emptiness. Not to get purple on ya.
The world is so big
then again the world’s so small…
I might be in your arms tomorrow night
or I might never make it home to you at all
true love, baby, the bottom drops out
and then you fall…
it only happens one time baby
if you’re lucky maybe not at all
I could live a thousand lifetimes
I’d never forget a single one of your lies…
I could die a million times
ant the ghost of you would still draw me back to life
*name changed from “The World Is So Big” (9/25/2007)
The relationship that had just ended when I wrote this song had been, for most of its near-three year course, one of relative stability. Oh sure, we broke up once or twice and there may have been a few indiscretions (well, there were) but by and large, we had a certain stability.
Until nearly the end of our journey together…
Like hitting a wind shear at 40,000 feet, we were thrown like rag dolls around the now-emptied fuselage of our airliner of love… bouncing off the walls and each other until we were thrown out, unceremoniously, in seperate heaps on the tarmac of our Terminal Destination.
As I wrote when I posted the first version of this song here on AYoS nearly a year ago, I was sitting in a light rain with a cheap guitar in my lap, looking out over a stormy Mexican sea when I wrote this song. I’d gone down to Mexico by myself to get away from my relationship woes and this and two other songs came spilling out soon after I sat down with a pint of Tequila and a 6 pack of Bohemia.
But this version owes little to the mood of that time. It’s as goofy as the silly season can get, complete with falsetto and bass back up vocals (all courtesy of my 3-octaves-of-nasality vocal range) and loose acoustic boogie guitar.
I‘ll admit it. This song started just ’cause I liked the sound of the title. It seemed to resonate with my “Sure, I’m guilty — so what?” attitude in the days when I wrote it — as well as my not-entirely-whimsical fascination with the notion of the trickster-teacher. Mix with a little half-baked metaphysics and serve cold…
The lyrics, themselves, sort of spilled out as soon as I wrote down the title.
Which is not to say they are in any way irony free. In fact, I felt, reading them back, like I recognized a facile if far-fetched rationalization for my particularly careless — even callous — treatment of a long-ago love.
Whether my subconscious, guided by the muses, was trying to make sense of the emotional confusion of early love or merely looking for a convenient metaphysical fig leaf, my conscious mind liked the cognitive dissonance of it all.
He lay across her bed, counting the holes in the ceiling tiles.
The afternoon sun came in through slitted mini-blinds, angling down across his naked body. A sheet lay across his thighs and strayed across the floor.
He heard her in the tiny apartment’s kitchenette.
As soon as they were done — he was done — she’d jumped up without a word and begun making noise in the other room. A coffee grinder screamed to life for ten seconds and after a few minutes he heard the gurgling of a coffee maker.
He lay there, thinking she probably expected him to put on his clothes and join her.
Instead, he lay there thinking, This means nothing.
He wanted it to mean something. He thought it should mean something. Yet it didn’t.
He wanted it to mean something to her but he wasn’t sure why. He wasn’t even sure he liked her, really.
But he wanted her to like him. And, clearly, she didn’t.
She had once.
And he had thought of her as… promising. She was attractive enough and could even transcend her own programmer geekiness when the occasion warrented — as it had several times when they first started. He remembered watching her as she moved through a restaurant on their second or third date and thinking… she could be mine.
And, while he was convinced that that was true, he never figured out a way to make it true. Previous girlfriends, mostly setups arranged through friends, had been mostly disastrous. He never knew what to say or how to say it. And, usually long before the end of the date, he would find himself shrinking from whomever he was out with.
But when he first ran into the small brunette with blue eyes and too many earrings (three — it was too many) in his company’s breakroom and noticed she was working in longhand on a C++ routine, he found himself thinking that maybe, at long last, he’d found a soulmate right in his own backyard.
But it wasn’t going to happen and he was just realizing that she’d known that for a long time.
[A brief note on this recording: I hadn’t played this song much since January when I last recorded it for AYoS. I made a point of not listening to that version before I recorded this, more or less winging the chords as I felt them under what passes for the melody. And I liked what I came up with. But then I listened to the January version and thought, Oh man, this is so much better. So… dig this ver if you will… but if you want to hear a near-definitive (yet still quite sloppy) stylistic reading of it, check out the version from January 25.]