At my show on Friday, I saw her at the back of “The Mechanical Elephant”, the pub I was performing at. My mind was tangled with the smell of smoke and beer. The spotlights and fog machine in front of the stage made me feel lonely as everyone looked the same. So I wasn’t really sure if it was her.
Then, at my show on Saturday, I saw her again. She was looking down at her phone. She always looked down at her phone. When told not to look down at her phone, she would say that it’s not like she’s insecure or anything. She’s just popular. When she wasn’t looking at her phone, she was looking around the room. Checking out the territory, identifying her predators and prey.
This time I was convinced that it was her. The lights in this venue made her face glow, and from the distance, it seemed like light caramel was coating her head and framing her face. I wasn’t glowing. I was just sweaty from the heat created by the lights and lack of fresh air. When she came to the front of the pit as the twelve people who were actually watching my show had made room for her, she asked me how I was doing. Talking to her made me feel even warmer than the lights could have done. Talking to the girl who stole some pick and mix, because the other girls at our school made her do it to get her in trouble. Talking to the girl my mum didn’t want me to hang out with after that because she was trouble.
I was a bit perplexed about how casual she was about this. “First of all, hello”, I said.
“I just came to your show to hear about your day. You know I don’t really care for your indie trash. To be fair though, I like it better now than I did when we were younger. But that’s probably because you’ve become a bit less shit at it.”
She looked me up and down.
“And you’re still playing that blue Fender guitar. Anyway, how’s your day been?”
I wasn’t really sure how she expected me to respond to that. I didn’t appreciate her being this judgmental. I liked my blue Fender because I didn’t like new things. I didn’t like being forced to get used to things I wasn’t used to. So what? But as much as she was getting on my nerves, I knew that she genuinely cared about my day. So I asked her if she wanted to grab a beer, sit down and catch up. Her response was disappointing but expected. “I’m kind of in a rush, but let me know when your next show is and I’ll be there.”
She almost made me feel like I’m an inconvenience for her, although she had kept me from doing my job and packing up my band’s instruments.
So the next time I saw her was when we played on a tiny stage at a festival. Needless to say, it wasn’t the kind of stage where the big and famous bands play. That’s where Noel Gallagher would move music enthusiasts to jump and sing along to “In the Heat of the Moment”. But at least we could say that we played at the same festival as one of the Gallaghers.
When she said she would be at my next show she didn’t really mean it. But at least she came after my show to hear about my day. “Sorry, I did want to come to your show and hear about your day. But I couldn’t miss seeing half of Oasis.”
It really annoyed me when she said that and I think she knew. I think she knew that Oasis wasn’t a duo and therefore Noel Gallagher wasn’t half of Oasis. But sometimes she pretended not to know things because I think she preferred to show little interest in anything. I was never really sure why, but I think she wanted to feel normal for once. Maybe she thought that being a girl and knowing too much isn’t cute or whatever. But I think she also just liked triggering my emotional side when it came to music. I didn’t want to give her that satisfaction though.
“That’s okay”, I responded. “I would have rather seen half of Oasis myself than played this festival to be honest.”
After nodding with a smile, she took right off. I didn’t ever see her again after that.
Maybe it was her mum who put too much pressure on her because she didn’t understand her daughter’s illness. Sometimes I think her mum wished she had cancer or heart disease or ALS instead of the illness she really had. She seemed like the kind of person who thinks that those illnesses are more valid and therefore easier to explain. But I wouldn’t know because she never liked having me around. I didn’t like how she made me feel either. When I was younger, I believed that someone put cold grey paint on her face and blue marker under her eyes every day. Furthermore, the pale walls in their house emitted a bleakness that never failed to make me feel chilly.
Because I didn’t want to go back to that house and couldn’t go to her mum to talk about her and feel like she’s with me again, I take a half-hour train journey to the coast, where the water looks ultramarine in the morning and doesn’t remind me of her eyes. Her eyes were hazel, but when I see that colour it never reminds me of her. When we sleep, our eyes are closed the entire time. And then there’s blinking. Do we even see other people’s eyes enough to know what they look like? When I try to imagine what people’s eyes really look like, with all their specks and different shades of green and grey and amber, my vision becomes hazy. But the sea. The sea reminds me of her. I can trust the eternal liveliness of the water. I can trust the salty sea air to stay in my long hair until the next time I wash it. But every time I wash my hair I want to go back to the sea so my hair can get tangled up in her smell again. So I can smell her ridiculously high standards and the way she demanded to be learned about like the sea with its ungraspable deepness and a baffling number of different creatures.
I am sorry that I have never found the creatures inside of you that you needed me to find. I am sorry that I have never seen all of the colours you needed me to see but blue.
Blue reminds me of you more than any other colour could. All I have to do is get on a train to see you.