A little sliver of love.

"We made a plan that was subject to change
So whatever way it works out we both get the blame
In the arms of this low"

We met for dinner at a cabana themed restaurant with an alliterative name and too much space. Jimmy Buffet was playing when I arrived.

I was late. You were gracious.

"And you took the wind right out of my sails
By sweating me out on all the little details
In the arms of this low
In the arms of this low

I came direct from work, all khakis and pinstripe shirts. You were dolled up in a deep, flat blue dress that set off your white skin. We greeted each other on the sidewalk outside as if we were lovers but we both know better now.

"So thread the light
So thread the light"

Dinner was poorly lit and prepared using a three ring binder and plenty of kitsch but the waiter was cheerful and the bread delicious. We spoke of life, and your place in it. You seemed happy and collected for the first time in over a year. I was content to frolic in that wellspring of joy like a puppy in a sprinkler.

"We made a choice and we knew we would pay
For stealing the joy and trying to escape
From the arms of this low
And if by some chance you break from the pack
You know I'll be waiting to welcome you back
Into the arms of this low
In the arms of this low"

After dinner you spoke of him and your eyes lit up with the hope of a hundred thousand children. Your voice held the shiver of a candlelight burning for someone lost at sea. You spoke of everything that had gone wrong over half a dozen years and how right it all still seemed. You could be so happy if things had just worked out differently.

"Thread the light,
Thread the light,
Thread the light,
Thread the light,
Shine the light,
Don't hide the light,"

I was content to drink from this too. To let my thoughts turn inward to my own histories, to the ones I speak of still with hope and trepidation. I gave you the best advice I could: I said nothing of substance.

"Live the light,
And give the light,
Seek the light,
And speak the light,
Crave the light, and brave the light,"

A part of me wanted to lunge across that too-wide table and upset plates and cups and grab you fiercely by the face and scream at you "SAY YOU ARE SORRY EVEN THOUGH IT IS HIS FAULT. TELL HIM YOU CAN'T FUNCTION UNTIL HE LETS YOU IN OR SHUTS YOU OUT FOREVER. BE HONEST AT THE EXPENSE OF EVERY DEFENSE YOU'VE EVER BUILT!"

But another part of me knew better.

"Stare the light,
And share the light,
Show the light,
And know the light,
Raise the light,
And praise the light,
Thread the light,
And spread the light."

The truth is, I won't say it either, though it all goes double for me.

The real world taught us dignity, it is still teaching us self-reliance. It taught us that sometimes settling is the most mature thing we can do. We are adults now, and all our childhood dreams will fade in time, like a lover that has been so long away that we forget. First the curve of her cheek, then the color of her eyes, and finally the pealing clarity of her laughter when she was surprised by something beautiful.

So there is the best advice I can never bring myself to give, but still take every day. My own personal dose of lithium. Welcome to the real world. Let your dreams fade. You'll be better off.

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova - This Low

Wednesday, October 14, 2009