Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Sunday, September 22, 2013

7-5-13 RMB Translations

7-5-13 RMB Translations
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Lately I have been paying particular attention to lyrics of songs. The creativity there, sometimes it is moving, sometimes breathtaking.
I like Melissa Etheridge. I get what she is trying to say in her songs, or maybe I interpret them as what I would be saying with those same words. My “adult” sister once took a ride in my car. She questioned the lyrics playing on the CD. “What does she mean by that?”
I proceeded to fill in the blanks. After each Melissa line, I produced a translation into terms my sister would grasp. “Did you read that somewhere? Did it say someplace that is what the song is about?”
“No, that is what I hear.” She got it then. She understood. I was glad to have been a part of that particular understanding in that particular moment.
A recent song of Melissa’s has two lines that strike a chord with me, “I won’t fade from the dark and strange.” and “Feel the moon, get to know the stars.”
“I won’t fade from the dark and strange.” I would like to think that I am that wise, that strong. My ex is. After a heated argument with my ex, who was not yet my ex, I did something I had not done for years, not since I had allowed myself to feel that deeply…many years before.
In the middle of the afternoon the next day, I picked her up unexpectedly. I didn’t think I would be seeing her that day. If I had, I would have worn a long sleeved shirt. I thought of putting on a jacket that was in the trunk, but it was a hot day. I decided it was not a big deal. The three visible marks could easily have been scratches left by my cat or from scraping my arm on something I picked up.
She noticed almost immediately. She didn’t have to ask. She grabbed my wrist, showed me my forearm and said “Don’t ever do this. Promise me you won’t ever do this again.”
I don’t know if she was looking for it. I didn’t recall ever discussing that aspect of my dark side with her. “It was just a butter knife. It barely broke the skin.” It was an exchange, one pain for another, one out of control pain for a manageable one.
“Promise me.” Her grip was tight, her jaw clenched, and her blue eyes held me in her gaze.
She knew if I made a promise I would keep it. “Okay,” I said, “I promise.” She let go, obviously shaken. Oddly, I wanted to console her. Perhaps she feared I had, or would, revisit suicide. I didn’t. I won’t.
Years later, a teen, a relative, sat across from me at a coffee shop with an arm ravaged by the same kind of marks to a degree far deeper than I ever sank. His mother had recently committed suicide. “I won’t fade from the dark and strange.” I let him know I understood it offered relief, but he has other options, he needed to seek other, better, methods of relief. I didn’t know him well enough to ask any promise of him, but I could encourage him to feel the moon and get to know the stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment