tremble clef

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Birdie, "I Can't Let Go" (1999)

"When I felt so cold/I could reach out to hold/Your coat is so warm/And now I can't let go." When he looks back on that relationship, he's a little surprised to realize that one of the most enduring images he has, in fact, is of Robert standing, in his brown leather jacket, at, of all places, a CVS counter. They had stopped off at the pharmacy because Robert was diabetic, and needed to pick up his insulin. It was one of several errands they were running in Robert's neighborhood. Video store, take-out place, insulin. Ingredients for an already very domestic evening.

As he watched, Robert spoke to the pharmacist, saying something funny, or at least cordial. Then Robert put on his reading glasses to read his prescription; since he always found that appealing, the combination of that gesture, and the friendliness, and the jacket, made something in his heart swell. He thought, oddly, of how good Robert looked in profile, as if he had never seen Robert in profile before. And maybe he hadn't. Things were new.

The brown leather jacket, he knew, either then or later, was something that Robert still thought he spent too much money on. Robert had stated that fact with equal amounts of ruefulness and glee. He loved it, and thought he shouldn't.

Who can ever say what happened? "Wished I had never seen/What I, what I couldn't dream to keep." Ultimately, it was only as brief as a song, sometimes as beautiful, but, now, always as wistful. "Now if we should meet on some dusty street/I'll move on my way, keep the sand from my feet/Because it's not for me." For many reasons, it seems unlikely that their paths will ever cross again. "Some things are just never meant to be."


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