(Instrumental) Arabesque #1
– Claude Debussy (video) –
How it all began
I first learned how to play a guitar because my mom had an old Beatles songbook laying around and I wanted to emulate my favorite band. I was only 8 years old. After many days of hurting fingers and two destroyed photocopies of the chord reference sheet at the back of the songbook, I was finally able to play Twist and Shout. A simple, funny song; even if it was only a cover I felt like the king of the world: I had the power of music bestowed upon me.
The years passed and I slowly improved these powers, adding the piano and a little later on my favorite instrument of all: the voice. By the time I was 12 I already knew enough songs to sing to myself for an hour, perhaps. Some of my friends knew about it, but they never saw it as anything but a hobby, just like other people play soccer every afternoon.
By the time I got to high school, playing the guitar and singing in a (secular) choir were probably the best things happening to me. There was an old guitar used for mass (it was a catholic school) that I would borrow from time to time. Again, some of my friends would every now and then sit around me to hear the songs.
I already had some crushes on girls and a few rejections that crept into my repertoire in the form of sad rock songs. Of course, those heartbreaks were nothing compared to the ones that have come since, but that pain was real to me. Singing was my instinctive response to that pain and the strange mixture of sadness and the intrinsic beauty of music resulted in an addiction to that melancholy feeling that persists today.
Then I met you
I think it was one of those talent contests at school or something. I’m not sure, but I remember you congratulating me for whatever song I played up there. I didn’t even prepared it, but I said an uninterested thank-you and went «backstage» to continue the endless SMS conversation with my best friend who was trying her luck in an acting contest on the other side of the country.
Her audition would be only an hour or two after I got down from stage and I was trying hard to calm her and assure them that everything was all right. I didn’t care about anything else. Another guitar-playing friend of mine told me that the famous new pretty girl was after me. I told him to fuck off and remind me of it later.
Everything came tumbling down
He didn’t have to remind me. Our school lockers were right next to each other (I don’t think it was coincidence, though) and we saw each other every morning. Then, every day at lunch. Then came the letters, the careful flirting, the oblivious compliments and the moments of perfect silence. It was as perfect as teenage love can be, which means there were a lot of things we were overlooking.
We never knew how deeply those memories would dig in our minds and hearts. A random phrase I pulled out of nowhere ended up being the quote you chose to be under your photo in the yearbook. The book you lent me ended up being crucial for my development as a writer. We didn’t care for the long term consequences.
One day, this song came up on the radio. It was a bit cheesy, but had beautiful poetry. You just said «Hey, that’s our song» as if it had been for years. You declared that was our song without hesitation, without consulting me and I was completely OK about it. I just replied «Yes, that’s for the two of us» or some other equally stupid line and proceeded to walk hand in hand.
The bomb was already in place, just waiting to blow up. The problems finally caught up with us, after a three year lag. You said that it would be best if we just stayed as friends, but every chance you had after that, you treated me just like before. I was «the other one». There wasn’t a formal relationship between us so you never felt like you were actually cheating on him. Words don’t matter, actions do.
It wasn’t easy, but in the end I was able to cut myself from you. The only thing that has stayed was the memory of «our song«. I can’t detach it from the meaning you gave it. I don’t want to sing it anymore, even though it’s often requested when I have a guitar in hand. It’s not fair I can forgive you for taking away some of my time and attention, for a lot of bad poems that may have been corrected into great ones by now. I can forgive you for making me your second choice and for juggling with my heart. But you took a song away from me. You’ve made me afraid of giving songs to the ones I love, of sharing them and giving them a special meaning.
You’re the one who kidnapped an innocent song and branded it forever with our names. That poor song can never be the same again and it’s your fault. Don’t ask me to do the same thing again. You don’t get a song and nobody will.