I have been a lover of lyrics for as long as I can remember. One of those girls who took the words of a song and went with them; no matter how vacuous, I would make meaning and live by their message. Or try, at least.
At school, my contact book was covered in songs scribbled alongside the names of boys who were breaking my heart that week. As if the words would provide an answer to the problems my life was starting to pose.
I was a fan of the music – the beat, the base, the melody – but that’s not what held my heart.
You see, words are what it’s all about for me. Whilst the opening bars of a song can conjure up a memory to make you smile, well written words play out like poetry. Like a mirror, they help you see. Parts of yourself that are raw, desperately needing nurturing or even waiting patiently to be exposed are presented in the words of another and and you realise that you are no longer alone.
Before he was the boy I lived with, he was something much more complicated…
I had known him for a while but never even dreamt of kissing him. And then I dreamt it and I knew that was it. But he wasn’t so sure.
We were on. We were off. We were secret. We were scared. We were text messages. Were were dinners out. We were silent. We were tears.
And sometimes I think I dreamt our relationship in to life.
I can’t sleep. Lying close up against the wall, wrapped in my bed sheets, in my own little house, the opening notes of the piano play again and each time something else is there. I loved the song since I first heard it. But each time I press repeat the feeling builds with each bar. The lyrics resonate in different parts of my body and I cry. And I breathe. I press play again. And again. And something else is there.
“And we’ll make this thing work but I think we should take it slow”
The song taught me patience and faith and how to remain calm. It gave me time and hope. I began to understand that I cannot force perfection and that maybe it will never be. But that’s ok.
“No fairytale conclusion, it gets more confusing every day…As our love advances we take second chances, though it’s not a fantasy I still want you to stay”
And now, when we argue, which we inevitably do, I storm up to our shared bedroom and, like a child, slam the door. Hot tears burn my puffy eyes and I bite my tongue. I write angry letters full of half-meant words.
And I press repeat.
And it’s ok.
Ordinary People – John Legend (2005)