I think I have an ally. I believe the word ally to be the strongest and best word for what this friend is to me. If I’m correct- and I think I am- then I have an ally.
It seems to me an ally is someone with whom you share the same desire of protecting. It describes the existence of a thing of potential between you both. The break-glass-in-case-of-emergency factor. Perhaps the glass remains unshattered for your entire lives. A waiting potential that if wakened, would bloom into warrior devotion, pushing aside all else until safety is delivered. An ally is what I believe I have made.
I’m not sure I’ve had more than a handful of allies my whole life. It feels actually pretty good.
You caused pain. And it overwhelmed me.
On some level I thought you’d be able to find security in the safety I tried to offer. Space to grow. It never worked that way for you though. You doubted even as I promised.
You felt so much doubt, so much insecurity, you decided it was over then you pushed me. I ended it, but I think it’s not far amiss to say it was a formality, you’d ended it already.
I’m not someone who tries to leave relationships. I’m someone who tries even as it hurts. Because my friends are valuable to me. You still have value. But I can’t help you anymore.
I don’t need to apologize.
But my brain says I should.
arent you sorry?
No I don’t have to
you know you want to
But I don’t need to. I won’t be sorry about I thing I didn’t know about.
Now shut up.
It snowed the afternoon and night before, and lay in a quiet blanket over all. In the morning I rose and went to get a shovel from the garage. I made a path and walked up the driveway. Then I noticed them. Footprints. And I wondered contentedly, who has walked up to my house? Was Dan out there? They tracked from the mailbox to the door. A delivery that did not fit in the mailbox then? But no. Nothing lay on the steps. Nothing was wedged in the door. A single set of tracks leading from the mailbox to the door. A one way trip? That didn’t make much sense. Then it dawned on me. Those are tracks leading from the door to the mailbox.
I had a friend over, and when he left that’s the way he walked. Single set of marks made by feet. Look, there’s the place he turned to make sure the door closed properly. I had to shovel a few of the tracks away (the snow compacts and turns to ice on the steps if I leave it). The rest I left there. They’ll melt away. But for now, there’s footprints on my yard. And other things.
I do not love you.
Be gone with your howling. Crying, keening, leave me be. Wretched thing!
You threaten me in my peace. You are the sound of the throbbing at my temples. You are the warning bell ominous. You are the sense of dread, my aching head, have you no remorse you monster? I do not love you. Go away.
Really what I should say is straightforward. Because what I meant to get into before is what the hell is romance?
Because what the hell is it, right??
I feel I should first mention the common answers before I immediately throw them out.
Roses, wine, diamonds, dinner- are these things romance? It just doesn’t seem like random collection of things with cultural significance as sweet or special should have EVER done it for me. Still I have enjoyed a nice rose, knowing both it’s a pretty flower to hold and look at, and it’s a symbol of effort towards affection.
So maybe romance is about the effort. At the beginning of a relationship it’s all like “what do girls like?” “what do guys like?” and the answer is so much easier. Get her something she likes. Not something girls like.
I’m very drawn to thinking it’s the affection part that makes it romance. But it’s more than that. Liking being with someone is sort of different from enjoying it when someone is happy. And it can be absolutely thrilling to see the one you love happy.
When people say “this is romantic” I think maybe they really mean, “this makes me feel extremely noticed and special, by one I love.” For me the word romance has undergone a change similar to the word love. When you are small and have never experienced romance or love, you have to guess what it feels like. Then when it happens you still have to guess that it has. There’s no one particular thing that tells you you’ve finally found it.
I don’t remember the moment I knew for sure that I’d experienced love- but I remember romance. I remember thinking this, THIS is romantic! I don’t know why I can suddenly detect it, but I have found it! And I think the components must be a strong sense of what the other person likes and how to give it to them, combined with knowledge of why it’s being given. When the gestures of love truly convey a depth of meaning from one person to another, that is romance. It is by nature an individualized thing, not any stock answer. This is why it is so hard to grasp then. And why you only get it once you get it.
I like a band called Tally Hall. Big surprise right? IRL folks already know this. I will now talk about a few of their songs for a bit.
Originally I shazam’d this song off the radio sometime in the 2000 oughties. This song was on my playlist for literally years before I listened to any other songs of theirs. I honestly thought they were a band among the 70’s greats that I had simply never heard of. I’m not exactly sure what about this song made me think 70’s. Its chaotic energy? Its strange meter? Its dynamic changes and different sections? The album art is reminiscent of something like Revolver or Sgt. Pepper. I simply had no idea this was a band consisting of men younger than me. Timing is everything in this case, and I missed even the opportunity to attempt to see them in concert because of my error. Perhaps the very recent time of my introduction was when I really needed to hear them most anyway. The honeymoon of ecstacy in hearing new music you immediately love doesn’t last forever. And I benefited from the distraction from sadness.
Welcome to Tally Hall:
I list this song second because it was my first indication that the band must be in fact relatively new. Having become bored of my at-the-moment music, I cast around for something new and decided to listen to more from “that Good Day band”. I found a Tally Hall list and played it at work through the crappy quiet computer speaker. Greener played softly and I was able to half listen. Then came this song. As soon as the rapping started, I knew just how wrong I was about them being a 70’s band. Simultaneously I knew that the crappy quiet speaker was doing them a serious disservice and that I’d need to listen on better speakers ASAP. Once I got home and did, I was hooked. Which brings me to-
Taken for a Ride:
So I legit almost had a heart attack listening to this because it so strongly made me think of Marvin the Paranoid Android that I was momentarily convinced it was a deep scifi reference. I think now it must not be. It is still a fantastic song with a fantastic video however.
This song is one I created a little emoji lyric thing for. I used a bee to represent the humming. For a day on Twitter I was microfamous with the Tally Friends. Someone quipped “new Tally Hall single: Bees!”. So that was nice.
Sweet little song about a baby’s birth. The Pingry version of this is pretty nice. I made James a playlist of Beatles songs mixed with Tally Hall songs and I’m particularly pleased with my decision to place this one just after Why Don’t We Do It In The Road. Heehee
Are you or have you ever been obsessed with the Olsen Twins? Well someone was once and this song happened. Reportedly one Andrew has some regrets over, this is an amusing ride through obsession town. Fun fact: “Mary Kate and Ashley” has the same patter as “Tally Hall and Bora”. Guess how I like to sing this song.
Out in the Twilight:
So this one kinda reminds me of a game called Grow Island. I don’t think a working version is available now, but it was Flash lookin thing that involved making choices that affected how life progressed on a little island with human life, trees, a volcano, and sometimes extraterrestrials. If you made a bunch of right choices, the music would change. The final music has a quality to it I love, sort of bouncy and fun. This song is like that.
I knew there were problems. I knew it might be a bad idea.
But I also saw pain and wanted to make it stop.
failure failure failure
“I love you”
You’ve said such words before. Meant them! With fervor. And depth. Your head and your heels have been inverted so often, it’s a wonder you aren’t permanently dizzy.
Before, when you thought you understood it.
It felt both swift and dangerous. It made you giddy and squeezed your heart. It felt warm and painful.
And you were sure, positive! That you knew its extent.
The possibility of love. A wider thing than any you’d known, but tinged, touched, colored by reality. Love the wonderful, yes. But also love the painful, the practical, the distant, the destructive, to name a few.
You have felt it change. Each time there is something new, it shows you love is larger than what you thought. Each time you are astonished. Each time you have thought, surely this is it! There can be no more! And yet again you are surprised.
There is no conclusion. How can anyone say what love is when it won’t hold still?