I’m listening to Marianne Faithfull’s Dreaming My Dreams. Sometimes hearing this song makes me burst into tears. When she says, “I hope that I find what I’m reaching for. The way that it is in my mind,” it stabs me in the heart. (Note: on her website, the lyrics read: …that is easin my mind. Other lyric sites have …it is in my mind, and this is actually how I hear it.) Then when she gets to, “Some day, I’ll get over you. I’ll live to see it all through. But I’ll always miss dreaming my dreams with you,” shit…
I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. But I had to let it go. It had nothing to do with him. It had nothing to do with me. It was something beyond us. I had to walk away. I had to. He knows this. I know this. The love didn’t end, just our time together. We never said good-bye.
“When they made you, they threw away the pattern,” he’d say. He was different too. When he pissed me off, as sometimes he did, and I cussed him out, as sometimes I did, he didn’t come back at me. He didn’t get defensive. He didn’t get ugly. He’d say, “I know. I deserved that.” Then he’d laugh, amused, amazed at my anger.
“You know, some men wouldn’t take that from a woman. They would say you were out of place talking like that.” Old-school mentality. Now, that amuses me.
“I know,” I said. “But I wouldn’t be with a man like that. They act tough, but they’re not. They’re insecure. They’re afraid; it threatens their manhood.”
He laughed. “I’m not afraid,” he said. “I like it. I like that you’re a strong woman.”
The Universe didn’t intend for us to stay together. “I think Iktomi comes between us,” he said. “I don’t think he wants us to be together.” Neither one of us wanted it to end. “You have my heart,” he told me. “I can’t go anywhere without my heart. It’s in your hands.” I didn’t want to walk away, but I knew I had to. For myself. For him. One day I wasn’t there anymore. I don’t know where he is. He doesn’t know where I am.
I watched a bit of MTV’s Music Awards a short while back. Or, rather, I suffered through it. It was awful! Horrible! But I wanted to see the tribute to Amy Winehouse. Sometimes I would get up and leave the room. I couldn’t sit through the whole thing. What obscene garbage. Most of those fools aren’t artists; they’re manufactured celebrities. I couldn’t stomach it.
I only wanted to see the tribute to Amy Winehouse. I hoped it was worthy of her. Sure, she was a totally fucked-up chick, but she had artistic genius. She was a genuine artist. That voice! When I learned she died, I shed tears.
She made her American debut on The David Letterman Show. That was my introduction to Amy Winehouse. She sang Rehab. I rolled. Kicked my feet up in the air, holding my stomach, fell back cracking up. I loved it! I loved her voice, her look, her performance. I was an instant fan. Then I heard Back to Black, You Know I’m No Good, Love Is A Losing Game, and became a diehard.
Sometimes artistic people are self-destructive. I don’t know why. Drunks. Drug addicts. Prone to rages, madness. But not all drunks and drug addicts are artists. Just because a person is mad does not mean that person is an artist. And just because a person can sing, or play an instrument, or write does not mean that person is an artist. It takes more than technical knowledge and skill. Talent can’t be learned. It’s a gift. You have to be born with it.
He had a ninth grade education, but he was brilliant. He loved Maupassant, Dostoyevsky, had read Nietzche. We talked about the books we loved. “Notes from the Underground starts with, ‘I am an angry man’,” I said.
“No, ‘I am a sick man’,” he corrected me. He asked me if I’d ever read Creek Mary’s Blood. That was my introduction to Dee Brown. In 1970, Brown wrote his most famous book, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. I’d never heard of it, until I researched Dee Brown because I loved Creek Mary’s Blood.
Of course I miss him. Sometimes we had our differences, but he was good to me. He loved me, and I loved him. There was beauty in this love, a rare beauty. He’s the only man who ever said, “I promise,” and never broke a single one.
I had a dream. I hadn’t seen him in eight years. I walked into a one-room cottage that had a cot, a chair, a toilet and a sink. I set down a suitcase. I lay down for the night, sad, lonely, pining for my lost love. In the morning, I washed up and got dressed. I picked up my suitcase and walked out the front door. I was at a train junction. There were four cottages in a row, and two train tracks. There was a train on each track. One was headed in one direction, and the other in the opposite direction. Then he walks out of the cottage next door. He’d been there all night, right next door. He smiled, happy to see me. I was surprised and happy to see him. He embraced me. “I love you,” he said, “but I have to go. I can’t be with you right now.”
“I know,” I said, acquiescing.
“I have to go,” he told me, “but I’ll be back. O.K.? I promise. We’ll be together later, but not right now. I want to be with you, but I can’t right now. I have something I have to take care of. But I’ll be back, O.K.?”
“Yes, I know,” I said. “I know. I love you too. I’ll wait.” Then two men came up to him. “It’s time to go,” they said to him.
“I have to go now,” he said to me. And they all walked away, headed for one of the trains. As he’s walking away, he turns and looks at me. “Don’t forget,” he said. “I’ll be back.” I nodded my head, held up my hand to say good-bye, then headed for the other train. I didn’t want him to leave me, but I knew I had to let him go. I had no idea what he had to do, where he had to go, but I knew it was important. And I knew he’d be back. It would be a long time, but he’d be back. He would find me again. Then we’d stay together.
When I woke up in the morning, I knew he still loved me. I felt him near me. I don’t know where he is. And I don’t expect a happily-ever-after. Of course, deep, down inside, I wish for it, but I’m resigned to moving on with my life. It was I who left. I had to.
There is light and dark in the world. Enlightenment and ignorance. Good and bad. Right and wrong. Sometimes humans don’t know the difference. Sometimes in time we figure it out. Sometimes too late.