Thursday, April 28, 2005

Counting Crows

I knew the song by the first beat. Utterly familiar, the cymbals marked the beginning of the song. He looked at me, put down his beer and asked for this dance.

"Did you pick this song?" I said, setting down my wine and looking over at the jukebox.

"No. I didn't. I swear." But he smiled and took my hand.

We danced in slow circles, Anna Begins bouncing off of the wooden booths around the bar.

Maybe he didn't notice how appropriate the song was. Or maybe he knew exactly how well it fit us, and that's why he asked me to dance.

My friend assures me "it's all or nothing"
I am not worried, I am not overly concerned
My friend implores me: "For one time only make an exception"
I am not worried
Wrap her up in a package of lies send her off to a coconut island
I am not worried, I am not overly concerned
With the status of my emotions "Oh", She says, "You're changing."
But we're always changing

Tom and I had just broken up, and David suggested I drive up for a visit. I spent five hours in my car, driving to the man whose last name I almost claimed.

It does not bother me to say this isn't love
Because if you don't want to talk about it then it isn't love
And I guess I'm going to have to live with that
But, I'm sure there's something in a shade of gray or something in
And I can always change my name if that's what you mean

Dancing in the bar in Watertown, NY felt strange, like stepping into a snapshot of the life you were supposed to have. David's arms around me felt both familiar and foreign. I fell into him, let him lead around the makeshift dance floor to one of my favorite songs.

My friend assures me "It's all or nothing"
But I am not really worried, I am not overly concerned
You try to tell yourself the things you tell yourself to make yourself
I am not worried
"If it's love", she said, "then were gonna have to think about the
She can't stop shaking and I can't stop touching her and.....

We were still friends, even though we were almost married but decided against it. Four years had passed since I slipped the ring he gave me off of my left hand, and there I was, dancing with him in the very town we were supposed to have lived in. I walked through the apartment we may have rented, had we married. I met all of his friends, the wives of whom I may have been friends with, too.

"Oh," his friends would say. "You're Laurie. I've heard so much about you."

"All good, I hope," I'd joke, returning their firm handshakes.

"Nothing but good."

This time when kindness falls like rain
It washes her away and Anna begins to change her mind
"These seconds when I'm shaking leave me shuddering for days" she says
And I'm not ready for this sort of thing

Dancing with him now, I couldn't remember what went wrong; Why we didn't walk down the aisle. I could see the life we would've had so clearly it hurt: His uniforms, the Officer sticker on the car, our apartment, the arguments, the laughter. Why did I give it up, only to wind up there anyway?

But I'm not gonna break and I'm not going to worry about it anymore
I'm not gonna bend and I'm not gonna break
I'm not gonna worry about it anymore
It seems like I should say "as long as this is love..."
But it's not all that easy so maybe I should just:
Snap her up in a butterfly net and just pin her down on a photograph
I am not worried, I've done this sort of thing before
But then I start to think about the consequences
Because I don't get no sleep in a quiet room and...

There is not one ounce of me, one atom in me, that doesn't feel completely loved around David. I leaned my head against his shoulder, my eyes moist with memories. I knew that we broke up because my feelings for him had changed and I saw him as more of a friend than a husband. But having spent three years of my life grasping for the commitment and adoration I so craved, I started to see the value of having someone love you wholly and without question.

David pushed me out and spun me back at the crescendo of the song, both of us laughing like kids. I felt him watching me as I turned.

"You look so beautiful," he said as he pulled me in close.

I always loved me most through his eyes.

This time when kindness falls like rain
It washes me away and Anna begins to change my mind
And every time she sneezes I believe it's love and
Oh lord.... I'm not ready for this sort of thing

I caught myself thinking, as my feet mirrored the movement of his, I could do this. I felt myself giving in to the comfort of knowing he will always love me unconditionally; To the certainty of his affection for me; To the idea of being taken care of by someone who wants to do just that.

But as quickly as I felt that, I forced the notion away. I don't want to take advantage of a good man's heart. I don't want to give him an iota less than he deserves; and I know he deserves to be loved as much as he loves me. And I know I can't give him that.

But I do love him. I always will. And right in the middle of all of my turmoil - a broken me, suddenly insecure in my solitude - I felt the soft hush of security envelop me: I will always love him, and he will always love me.

She's talking in her sleep
It's keeping me awake and Anna begins to toss and turn
And every word is nonsense but I understand and
Oh lord... I'm not ready for this sort of thing
Her kindness bangs a gong
It's moving me along and Anna begins to fade away
It's chasing me away

The song ends and David dips me, a dramatic move that he knows I love. We laugh as he pulls me back upright.

"Do you need another drink?" He asks, checking my nearly empty wine glass.

"No, I don't think so." I could feel the wine in my limbs, in my head. I sat on the hard bench closest to me.

"I'm glad you came here," he said, taking the seat across from me.

"Me too, David."

She disappears and
Oh lord, I'm not ready for this sort of thing


Anonymous said...

What a great post! I feel the same way about my ex. Whenever I feel unloved I think of him and how much he did love and still loves me and how much I love him. It also makes me happy to know that other people leave relationships on good terms and are able to stay in contact. Thanks for writing you always make me smile.

Kristi said...

wow Laurie!

thats all I have to say........

Anonymous said...

Laurie, I love that song. However, I want to ask you--this is not a simple question, simply answered--who is the "Anna", or rather the subject of the song, in your relationship? Or at least with respect to that quick glimpse story? You or David?

Laurie said...

Well, Anonymous...You're right. It's neither a simple question or simply answered.

I'm sure I could bore you to tears, dissecting the song into little pieces, pointing out the subtle similarities between the song and David & I. But I'll leave it at this:

In much of the song, I think that David is Anna, and I am the narrator of the song, convincing myself over and over that there's nothing to be worried about and it isn't love.

Only in the end of the song do I think of myself as Anna; Disappearing and fading away before he can get me.

Anonymous said...

I think you are afraid of his love. You need to make SURE that you are not making a HUGE mistake, before it is to late!