Remember that song from back in the early oughts from Augustana? You forgot that was a band, didn’t you? I imagine people of a certain age would remember their hit “Boston,” but this one came to mind tonight. I’m positive I discovered this band through a mix cd someone made me in college, though I couldn’t tell you who or when or why. I was absently scrolling Instagram tonight, as one does, and another college friend shared this poem that hooked my heart and squeezed really hard.
I’m not sure I have anything to say that isn’t articulated or implied or remembered herein. Poetry, like painting and sculpture, is whatever it evokes in you. This one speaks volumes to me.
Tonight on my walk home from work, I noticed these petunias curiously growing out of a crack in the cement, presumably by happenstance. I feel like there’s a ripe allegory here, but the words aren’t coming to me.
Not all days are cloudy. This has been a gorgeous weekend full of sunshine, blooms, reconnecting with old friends, and peace.
I wish there were more of these soft and sweet days and that they could last longer. I know that’s the nature of life – the ebb and flow. Every spring, always after the spring solstice, when the evening walks home still have bright rays of daylight and then some, there is always a point when I can almost viscerally feel the fog clear. The clouds break. The warmth of the sun penetrates into my soul and allows me to take a deep, cleansing breath. It isn’t permanent. It still takes a while to get back to homeostasis, to a more constant state of “up,” but there is nothing like that first deep, unlabored, freeing breath.
In these mellow, reflective, grateful moments, especially after a period of being sucked so far down into the grey depths, I think of that old Velvet Underground song.
I am heartbroken by the news of Taylor Hawkins’ death overnight. Just 50 years old.
Taylor was the drummer of my favorite band, Foo Fighters. I just read Dave’s autobiography this winter and saw their ridiculous horror movie last month. This band has been part of me for 25 years. I feel like I knew Taylor so well.
I’ve seen them so many times. Their first sold out arena show in DC in 2012 back when it was still Verizon Center, on The Mall in 2014, opening night at the Anthem in 2017, their first time at Merriweather in maybe 2017 or ‘18?, and I was looking forward to seeing them soon in Boston over Memorial Day with my brother and sister in just two months. I’d been waiting for that show since before the pandemic. Incredible to think the show will go on but, without the headliner. Or, so I assume. At least without Taylor. Though I can’t imagine how they go on anytime soon. I can’t fathom it.
This feels awful. It feels really heavy and unfair and, frankly, unbelievable. As much as I am hurting and sad, I cannot imagine what his wife and children and band mates are experiencing. I feel especially for Dave and Pat, who have both already had to deal with the tragic and shocking death of another friend and band mate. And for Dave, another icon. Let’s not debate the value of Kurt versus Taylor, okay? I’ve seen that (near-sighted and self-indulgent) slant and let’s just not go there. Either way, far more tragedy than any person deserves in this life.
For months now I’ve been saying that, at some point every day, and some times all day, I feel like I am one setback away from completely losing my shit. It is terrifying not to know what magnitude of stumble might be the one to push me over the edge. Could it be something catastrophic like another Ukraine, or KBJ not being confirmed to SCOTUS, or something very trivial like not being able to find my keys one morning, or being too hangry to make dinner? Or could it be losing a beloved titan of rock n roll?
The music for the mood today is a FF song that Taylor and Dave often traded places for when they played live. I find myself hearing Taylor’s voice singing Sunday Rain this morning, singing these words while those hard rock chords pound through my chest. It does nothing to numb the pain but sometimes you need to just feel.
Fun fact: Sir Paul McCartney played drums on this track on the FF album. I just love the hell out of that.
You don’t generally think of him as a drummer. But he laid that track so fucking effortlessly. He never even heard the song – Dave kind of explained it to him with an acoustic guitar. And he was like, ‘Yeah, yeah. I think I know what you’re doing.’
Taylor Hawkins – From Rolling Stone, September 6, 2017
I don’t see the point of cold without snow. Even the grey days have a bit of beauty when everything is covered in white. Sunny ones are always better. These are from my folks — not exactly my DC view. I don’t mind longing for the cold and often endless grey of this place, because it envelops me with warmth.
Remember when the perfunctory doldrums of winter were the only things I had to write about? Never dreamed I’d miss those times.
Still a little bit of you laced with my doubt. Still a little hard to say what’s going on.
During another night of fitful sleep, I was scrolling through pictures, specifically those curated iPhoto “memories” albums and slideshows. Most are of my family or vacations. Good memories. One of them sent me searching for a photo I couldn’t find, which made me wonder if it was my memory or someone else’s. Anyway, it led me to my Instagram, the real one, not the finsta of a woman scorned. I thought I had completely purged John from that social record of my life but when I saw this from May 2020, it stopped my mindless scroll with an ache so deep, I think it was audible.
My birthday is May 12, the same day as his stepdad, Ted. I had finally gone to PA to visit my folks for Mother’s Day when, two months in, there seemed to be no immediate end in sight for the pandemic and we had all been extremely careful. In hindsight, had I known he was swapping bodily fluids with one of his roommates, not just living isolated in his basement bedroom like he said, I wouldn’t have gone home. I wouldn’t have put my parents at risk. But I was blissfully unaware. I stayed for two weeks. John wished me happy birthday while I was there and I remember thinking it was so sweet of him to remember. He was always thoughtful like that. He would always tell me to tell my family hello or ask how they were doing. Just the other day I was thinking about how he did that last Christmas but no thoughtful messages, or messages of any kind, came this year.
Originally, I was to return to physical work on May 25, so I came back to DC that weekend in 2020. John surprised me by showing up at my door that very day with flowers for my birthday and saying he missed me. I’d never received flowers from a man in my life. I was beside myself. I also remember another gift he gave me, suddenly and without warning like the alpha males of my fantasies; he took control, bent me over my kitchen counter, and got down on his knees. It was the hottest fucking afternoon of my life.
But seeing this photo last night just reminded me of that text he sent a few minutes after I told him I had discovered that he had a fiancé in October of this year. He said,
Those words still cut me now as they did then. So cruel. So cold. Abrupt? Inaccurate? There should be a lot more to say.
It makes my mind churn and my heart hurt and my stomach roil. The what-did-he-actually-think-a-one-night-stand-is of it all. Maybe don’t buy flowers for the other woman on her birthday? Maybe don’t be around for three of her birthdays? Just one of many, many decidedly non-casual details and events and time spent together that John seemed to have selectively forgotten in his desperation to tell his then “roommate,” now-wife, that I was just sex. (As if that is any more acceptable to a fiancé?)
Or I assume that’s what he said. I have no idea what he told that woman or anyone else. I know what I would have told her had I known she existed. Then again, had known she existed, all of this would be moot because there never would have been a “John & I” to speak of.
Note that this day was May 2020, an indelible memory for me nearly two years into knowing him, but also just a month after they were apparently supposed to have originally gotten married in Mexico? Remember, he left that contract on my computer too.
Ah. Today is a hard day, y’all. They ebb and flow, wax and wane. I couldn’t get back to sleep last night after that memory. And I’ve been ruminating on it all day. It’s challenging to hide this mood from my family while I’m still here visiting. An extended holiday because returning to my tiny home filled to the brim with John’s ghost is about as appealing as pulling my own fingernails out with pliers. So I’m fortifying myself here with people who have to love me, and I declined to go on a walk with them this afternoon because I was barely keeping it together and was worried I couldn’t fake it much longer. The moment the door closed, I cried. Wailed, really.
I realized that in the now two months since this happened, I haven’t been able to really let it out. I have cried, sure. A whimper here or there. A few tears in the shower or in the privacy of the single-stall restroom at work, or one might slip loose when I have hugged a friend goodbye after a dinner or HH where I haven’t said a word about what I’m holding inside. There’s something about the physical contact with another human and then the absence of it that has become almost too much to withstand these past weeks. So, yes, although my head is now pounding and my eyes are burning, it felt a bit good to cry it out with reckless abandon, without fear of the neighbors hearing through the wall or a coworker or passerby seeing the sadness. Maybe the burning eyes will help me (force me) to sleep tonight?
I hope that one day sooner than later none of this hurts anymore. That the disbelief and anger and resentment will fade. That the desire to know that karma has come for him will cease to fuel me. That the words of Damien Rice won’t echo through my skull on a loop. That courage might teach me to be something more than shy and that love will teach me anything but how to lie. But more than anything, that one day, no bits of John will be laced with my doubt.
“It’s not hard to fall, when you float like a cannonball.”