We’ve had fallouts and fights and no one was ever wrong or right and it just happened sometimes. We made up, most times, necessarily, because parting after a fight is the worst you can do to a relationship because sometimes your loved one tends to not come back.
She said she hated me, once, twice, thrice, too many times, “I hate you ‘cause you breathe” and the first time it was scary but then I realised she didn’t mean it like that. It was just her way of saying “I hate you right now, but not in general” because we always made up afterwards.
And now you say it and it makes me think of her – sometimes – but I don’t know if you mean it because as much as I love you, I still don’t know everything about you, so maybe that’s indeed your way of saying “I genuinely hate you”, but then you get angry and me too and angry kisses turn into angry holding turn into angry sex turn into making up again, and you probably never mean it. Just as she never did.
I don’t know if it runs in the family or why people need to be like that at all, but you’re such a pretentious morning person sometimes – if the night was not too exhausting for us – and you set your alarm for 8 AM but we never get up before 11 because you hit the snoozer six times, sometimes more, and while I’m awake at the latest at 10, you’re not really making sense for another hour or more. And I end up watching you sleep, big blue eyes closed, face halfway buried into the pillow, and when you’ve got your own strands of hair in your mouth I gently pull them out so you don’t choke, and I could watch you sleep for hours. You’re the moon when you’re asleep, pale and cool and calm and your dark hair is the night surrounding your face. You’re the sun when you’re awake, attentive and happy and warm, and blinding, blinding beauty radiating off you, and you make me feel warm most times, and then hot, and then everything at once.
“You waste your life expectancy”, people say when they see us smoking, cigarettes and weed, and drinking and excessing in general, but even if we do, we do it while we can, while we’re in our twenties, while we’re in love. Sometimes I’m mean when I don’t mean to, when we’re talking, and I regret saying stupid things a lot, but sometimes I can’t help it, like telling you you throw away your hopes and dreams when you could be so much more. More than a touring member, than standing at the back of the stage, at the side even for some songs, and you’re so underappreciated it hurts. I know you’ve tried hard, but no one let you have the success you deserved. No one appreciates your way of words or your broken voice or all the instruments you can play and then there’s me telling you you throw away your hopes and dreams by going on stage with people who have made it, who can live off that. And you can live off them, without really wanting to, because you want to make your own money and make a living and do the things you really want to do, independent and on your own, and showing people you can do it. I’m sorry, I am, and sometimes I can’t help it. Because that’s the reason we fight. I know I’m not any better off, taking advantage of the same people, and maybe that’s why we got along so well immediately. Because we share the same love for the same people and we share the same problem, lack of success, lack of fame. But where I have a well-paid job and a beautiful place to live in an amazing quarter of town, you mostly live in the studio and you’ve got flatmates and being here is just not the same as being at your place.
And as much as you’re the sun when you’re awake, you get along best with the stars in London – and the satellites in New York, because you rarely ever see stars around here – and that’s why the night times are our times, when we’re most creative and most heated up from the day, and even if tired, we still manage to stay up late, sometimes late enough to still be around when the night meets the day again. But it’s not day for us, it’s still night, and the night will never leave, it’ll stay forever. The dark will eat you up inside until you fall asleep, in my arms or far from my arms, either of them happening often enough.
We talk for hours and for days and nights and we know the conversation will always come back to the same question, when I smile and shed a tear sometimes, and say, “When will you go away?” because that’s what will happen, you or I will leave – mostly you – and we won’t know when’s the next time to see each other. And you go, “Who cares, you’re not entitled to ask those things today”, but you say that every day, so when am I entitled to ask at all? Because I care. I care. I want to prepare, to savour you and love you as long as you’re with me and around and close and here and not overseas, not miles away, not with them. Don’t get me wrong, I love them dearly, but I love us more, no doubt.
What you mean is “Soon, but not today”, which is not really enough for me. Though I know you’ll be around for some more days, it’s simply not enough and it never was.
And when I shed my tear you do it too sometimes, when you think I can’t see you, but I can. Don’t let the salt get in your eye, don’t let the ghost get in your heart. Because even though I’m away, I’m still around in your heart I hope, not the ghost of me, but still all of me, every single part.
There were sweet memories in the corner of my mind, memories of days and nights spent together, all of these burnt in there, the first time you left for England again, and I was left here. Sweet memories that some day turned into sweet moments when all of this happened again, you being here, at my place, not in my head but in my heart and in my bed and in me, and that’s the sweetest moments.
And sometimes I just want to throw up all the things that I – and you – want to hide, triggered by the sweet memories, because I want the world to know. It’s not enough writing these words to you and for you and so that only you can decipher them. I want people to know they’re about you and not about someone else who might have left a trauma with me that I need to cope with now, and the only way to cope with it is writing it down, but it’s not like that. You’re my muse, a good one, and you make me write about good things and bad things and you and me and everyone we know. I write about our time, and the lack of it too, and how we’re having fun in the daytime and we’ll chase the stars in the nighttime and we’ll take the sun in the morning and I wish, I wish we’d just don’t care enough. Don’t care if they see us fall, because we’ve already fallen. At least I have, in love, with you, long ago.
And are people speculating? Do they see what you are to me, and I to you, and we are to each other? Do they ask each other and themselves if there’s anything more to my collection of pictures of you and the amount of pieces of writing I’ve published after you were gone the first time? Do people ever think that we might have a thing, and that when I say brother I mean lover because that’s what I learned from you really early? That brothers are lovers. But you still gave me the chance to be your lover without being your brother. Just kind of. Not in blood but in bond, and in heart.
And if it was true? If I said it was, said it out loud, to the public, and you had to deal with it? We both had? Would you leave then, tell me I should have warned or threatened you? Would you think that was it? There goes your success. And mine. Because we love each other, and we shouldn’t. But my sun, we should, and people should know, and it’s only because I know you don’t want this and you’re not ready for this that I keep my mouth shut. That I write to you instead of about you, and “she” instead of “he” because I must, because “he” would make people think, and you seem to not want people to think too much because they may find out. I’m sorry I’m so obvious, but I can’t handle my feelings for you very well.
Today I bought the paper by myself. You know I never do because I’m not the one reading the paper, it’s you, and I only come with you because I can’t be without you for only one second. You buy it and fall asleep reading it at the breakfast table, still lacking sleep, slowly nodding off and I catch you before your head hits the table, hand gently under your chin and you’re wide awake again for a second but you’ve forgotten everything that you’ve read in the past few minutes. But today you’re not there and I bought the paper by myself and cried ‘cause everyone was happy and on the street they were dancing to some kind of Puerto Rican music that we would hate but we would just move along to. Because the last time that happened you told me about this dancer on the street you met long ago, the one you wrote Olive Skin about and the music back then sounded like the buskers we were passing that day, and the same buskers I passed today, and of course I thought of you. And we’d dance to that stupid music because you wanted to, just a bit, and I had to go with it because I couldn’t stand seeing you sad if you had to dance alone – or worse, not at all.
So if you’re driving in your car and hear this song on Radio 1 – well I know that it sounds silly ‘cause you don’t have a car, who even needs one when you live in London – then you’d probably try and stop somewhere at the side of the road and listen and think back. But they don’t play my songs on the radio and this doesn’t happen because you don’t have a car, and you don’t listen to the radio anyway.
And I catch myself thinking there’s something in the air that makes it difficult to live the way we did back in the days when we had all the time to kill. Back when you were here for weeks, and I was with you and everything we had to think about was the show every night, and nothing else, really. Now it’s just telephone and video calls and it hurts but I’m happy because I know you are. And I know it won’t be long, just a few months, until I’m back and we can revive what we’ve let slide the past months. We’re both so busy now, you more than me, and where was I on your birthday? Home, while you were with the London family and then on the road. You’re a wildfire burning, always active, always on your feet, there’s no way to put you out. You’re a wildfire spreading through my days and through my nights. My nights, shared with you, the sun, the fire, everything that heats me up during the day and keeps we warm during the night.
Don’t ask me questions, I wanna say to everyone asking me to tell my story to the world, because it’s a sad story and people don’t want to hear sad stories. Don’t ever tell no lie, they say, but I have to, because otherwise I would blurt out the truth and do exactly what you don’t want me to. I’m so tired of explaining every minor detail of my life, details that no one cares about because they’re the wrong details. I tell them the other story, the one they want to believe more than ours. Because our story is written on my sheets and it’s so hard to wash off it’s not even worth trying. Until the day you’re in between those sheets again, rewriting the day and painting the night with your moonlight skin and your night sky mane.