30DSC: A Song Which Makes Me Sad

Day 4 of the 30 day song challenge. Today, a song I find sad.

Yazoo – Only You

I know, right? Poor little Tommy-wommy posts a love song as the one which makes him sad, boo hoo. Man up, right? Well for me, Only You doesn’t make me feel sad about a love I once had. It makes me feel sad about one I didn’t.

I’ll always remember that last day of school. Bittersweet for everyone I think, the end of an era. But as he called my name and bounded across the room to jump up and hug me goodbye, it felt like the end of more than that. In my own adolescent way, my passions flaring beyond reason and without borders, it felt like the end of my world.

He was a friend, officially. I loved him, loved him so truly it hurt, but to the rest of the school we were just friends. Ah, and as far as he was concerned too we were just friends. Can you have a relationship without the other partner’s knowledge or consent? I don’t know, but I know it felt like we did. It was a partnership in my idle hopes, one which I knew for sure would never come true as he was straight and I was not the catch he’d have hoped for even if he was gay.

There’s a line in Stephen Fry’s excellent book The Liar which more or less sums up how I felt about this school friend-turned-object of my desires. In it, Cartwright is the unrequited subject of the main character Adrian’s love. Here’s how Adrian describes Cartwright:

Cartwright of the sapphire eyes and golden hair, Cartwright of the Limbs and Lips: he was Petrarch’s Laura, Milton’s Lycidas, Catullus’s Lesbia, Tennyson’s Hallam, Shakespeare’s fair boy and dark lady, the moon’s Endymion. Cartwright was Garbo’s salary, the National Gallery, he was cellophane: he was the tender trap, the blank unholy surprise of it all and the bright golden haze on the meadow: he was honey-honey, sugar-sugar, chirpy chirpy cheep-cheep and his baby-love: the voice of the turtle could be heard in the land, there were angels dining at the Ritz and a nightingale sang in Berkeley Square.

But back to the song’s relevance. Besides the terrific pain of our parting, there was one other moment which hurt, and variations on which continue to hurt: hearing about his on-going romantic activities. Oh boy did I ever not want to hear that he’d been kissing someone in the park at lunchtime. I felt sick for the rest of the afternoon.

It’s just jealousy, I guess. But I felt it all right. Only You makes me remember how I felt we should be back then — how it should’ve been the music playing at our passionate first kiss, but how I would only ever be a spectator there. This was the soundtrack to his love with someone else, and the soundtrack to my sadness as I stood in the background, a cardboard cut-out, a bit part in his life, and watched his happiness.


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March 2011
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