Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

April 15, 2009

My subconscious can see things coming a mile away even if I can’t.  One day last weekend, the early hours of the morning found me scrambling around the internet trying to find the perfect sad song.  It started in the middle of Watchmen when the first verse of “Hallelujah” began to play.  The sweet, sorrowful, painful edge of Leonard Cohen’s voice snagged hard on my heart.  “Well it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift” stung beneath the surface.  I wanted, needed a sad song to bury myself in.  I needed to be able to control the rush of feelings, instead of having them ambush me.  Unfortunately it never works that way.  You can’t force the tears out in the name of self-protection.  They will come when they please regardless of what that means for you.

I gave up the search, switching instead between pop punk stations on Pandora.  That ought to have just enough singsong misery under the bouncing guitars to keep me happy.  Then “Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World came on.  Remember what I said about an ambush?  This was it.  Every word of it seemed aimed at a vulnerable corner of my heart.  One that I have been fiercely guarding for ages.

“There’s no one in doubt, I know
You gave us some place to go
I never said thank you for that
I thought I might get one more chance”

It was crushing, and despite all the rage and pain in the music that I listen to, none of which can make me cry, I could feel tears in my eyes.  If that weren’t enough, it went on.

“What would you think of me now?
So lucky, so strong, so proud
I never said thank you for that
Now I’ll never have a chance”

Now I was fighting tears.  Actively trying to keep them and all the thoughts they come with safely inside the confines of my head.  No go.  I stared at the computer screen, eyes growing wider and wider as the vortex closed in on me.  I didn’t need to be brought back there.  I thought I was done with all that.  I thought I had reached a point at which I could forgive myself for not being there, not saying the things that needed to be said.  I just didn’t know.  The enormity of it couldn’t or wouldn’t fit inside my skull.  That’s a scar I’ll have to live with, as I’ve said many times before.   I guess this is what happens.  I do not know how people do it.

Here’s to another round of being constantly on the verge of tears.

God. fucking. damnit.

Update, several hours later: Speaking of Pandora, a song I’d somehow never heard before just popped up, and it took all the roaring sadness right out of me.  It’s “Skyscraper” by Bad Religion, from the deluxe version of New Maps of Hell.  Here’s a video.  Enjoy!



  1. Well, fuck. Search YouTube for Emiliana Torrini’s If You Go Away….

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