The One I Love
But then you changed. At first I thought it was maybe me…did my tastes change, was I looking at you through a different filter than I used to? You seemed darker and less complex while being less obtuse, all at the same time.
Then you just started being outright abusive.
It began with “Monster”. You seemed to be over our normal routine of lightly strummed, jangly tunes with intricately woven melodic structures, and veered more towards outright rage, distortion and simplistic sloganeering. Just when I started to pull away, you’d charm me back in with something like “Let Me In” or “Tongue.” We weren’t the same anymore, but I was still willing to stick around.
Then came “New Adventures in Hi-Fi”. I felt like you were angry at me, wanting me to leave, but too cowardly to just come out and say it, so you pulled this “maybe if I’m as awful as possible to him, he’ll go on his own.” I mean, how else can you explain things like “Binky the Doormat” or “Zither”? I packed my bags and opened the door, but just as I was stepping out, you called back to me with the beauty of “Electrolite”. Asshole.
By the time you croaked out “Up,” both Bill Berry and I grew tired of your mixed signals and indecisiveness. You lost a good friend and you lost me, someone who was completely and utterly devoted to you. Then you left a message for me called “Daysleeper”. It was quiet, reflective, dense, melodic, everything you used to be. I grew weak and took you back. Bill refused. Then the cycle of abuse began anew as the rest of “Up” droned by in a AAA haze.
Years later, I heard thru the grapevine you were asking about me. How was I, was I seeing anyone else, where was I living now, that sort of thing. You knew better to approach me directly at that point, so you left a message on my machine called “Imitation of Life”. Hearing it almost made me cry. It was like the old you was back again, all jangle and hooks, joy and life, like nothing bad had ever happened. How could I let what we had slip through my fingers because of a few bad choices? I had to see you. You gave me “Reveal”, a title with promise. But it wasn’t meant to be. Too much time had passed and nothing was the same. I couldn’t stay longer than four tracks.
A friend of mine saw you the other day. He said you were looking good, a little older, a little mellower, perhaps a little wiser. He told me you spoke awhile, trading off old stories and jokes, until finally the conversation again turned to me. You gave him a message for me. I refused it. I wasn’t interested in the slightest anymore. It was over. We tried and tried and it just wasn’t going to work. My friend left the message anyway, and there it sat for weeks, yellowing and gathering dust. One day, in a fit of weakness, I looked at it.
”Leaving New York” it said.
You bastard. I’m not coming back again, no matter how good this is. No matter how much it reminds me of what we once had. You’ll just hurt me again.
I’m just not going to fall for it this time. Why can’t you just be awful, or just go away?