I’m not as pretty as I was

“And you be the Captain, and I’ll be no-one” Kasey chambers, The Captain

The longest relationship I’ve ever had lasted 5 years. Well, actually, a little over 5 years. It’s with out a doubt the relationship that’s taught me the most, so I remember it well.

“Well I have handed all my efforts in, I searched here for my second wind”

It was her birthday a couple of weeks ago and I sent her an email wishing her all the best. We usually exchange emails about 2-3 times a year and birthdays are always one of those times. It got me thinking… could I remember what I gave her on any of the birthdays we were together? I could not.

“I’ve kicked myself at times because I’ve lied”

I didn’t give up, these last two weeks I kept on thinking… and a few came to mind. The last year we were together I was living abroad and I sent her a foot-long panoramic photograph. I remember the picture, she was standing pretty along a ridge that overlooked the craters of two volcanoes to her left and right. I think she liked it… Then I remembered that our first year together I gave her a reproduction of the first page of a British paper covering the fall of the Berlin Wall (a time in history I knew she particularly liked). I think she liked that as well… Finally, the last one I could remember was a fancy hour-long couple’s massage at a spa. I liked that…

“So I will have to learn to stand my ground. I’ll tell ’em I won’t be around”

So I’m happy I was able to remember 3 out of the 5, even though the massage got me thinking that I kind of mailed that one in and that I could’ve come up with something better. She was a great girl and I have absolutely no regrets of spending 5 years of my life with her. Our relationship should have ended 1 or 2 years before because we seemed to have different expectations, but we had a lot of fun and, as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the relationship taught me a lot.

“And if I tread upon your feet, you just say so”

That was not the relationship I wanted, but it taught me what I want out of one. When I look back I always think it was time well spent, 5 years was a bargain when I think about what I took from the experience. Plus I met a great person, from a nice family, that I still keep in touch with today. I don’t remember the fights, the struggle of being long distance (3 out of the 5 years) or the periodic discussions on “where is this going?” whenever it came up that I might go off to work abroad. I remember the good stuff. We traveled to more than a dozen countries, shared a ton of laughs, made friends in common and enjoyed seeing each other become something better than what we were when we first met (at least in her case). There are only a few people I get really excited when I hear something great has happened to them, she is one of them.

“Did I forget to thank you for the ride”

This song is for her. Well, actually it’s for me, to remind me of her. I really like this song, but she loves it (or perhaps loved, who knows). She once told me that she listened to it occasionally when she missed me. I honestly don’t miss being with her, but I’ll take a page out of her playbook and use it to remember her… that I like doing.

“I tend to feel as though I owe one to you”

 

Fallen Robin

“You told me again you preferred handsome men, but for me you would make an exception” Leonard Cohen, Chelsea Hotel No.2

In my attempt, through this blog, to write about specific memories of the last 10 years of my life, one of the artists that will come up is Leonard Cohen. For me the classiest songwriter of his generation, or at least classiest in the way I like, which means that he’s able to say all the things going thought his head, be them beautiful, filthy or despicable with style and grace.

His song Chelsea Hotel No.2 I would love to say reminds me of a personal relationship I’ve had, but that’s simply not the case. However, the song (dedicated to Janis Joplin) depicts so many elements of a relationship that didn’t last, that it’s hard not to find a lyric in there to which one can relate.

It goes from sex…

“I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, you were talking so brave and so sweet, giving me head on the unmade bed…”

to separation…

“Ah but you got away, didn’t you babe, you just turned your back on the crowd, you got away, I never once heard you say, I need you, I don’t need you..”

to a simple memory…

“I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best, I can’t keep track of each fallen robin. I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often.”

I few years ago I began dating a girl I’d been friends with for a while. It didn’t last very much and the relationship ended for reasons that could have been obvious from the beginning. We had fun, but at the end things went sour, had a rough couple of weeks, moved on and I haven’t heard from her since. While I’d have many reasons to have a bad memory of her, that’s just simply not the case. I wish I could be as smooth as Leonard Cohen and say “I can’t keep track of each fallen robin” (not so many fallen robins on my list…), but for other reasons it’s clear that I really didn’t love her the best and simply don’t think of her that often.

I just simply “remember” her; I have isolated memories. Everything in between which are the feelings I had, the things I liked about her, the things I didn’t, her personality, the things I wanted when I was with her… all of that is completely gone.

So I can say I remember her… well? Not really, at her apartment, at a beach, at a hotel (not the Chelsea), but not much else, none of the good stuff.

Anyway, we’re ugly, but we have the music: