Being married to me, I have to admit, was no picnic. I am sure Andrea had her moments of absolute and sheer frustration where she just wanted to punch the walls. I let her steer me to what clothes to wear or how to wear my hair, but even I, in spite of the occasional polka-dot purple shirt or silk top would put my foot down on a lot of things. I wouldn’t listen to country music even though Andrea had gotten the bug from her best friend.
More than anything, though, I listened to music. Constantly, everywhere and without pause there was music in our household. If I wasn’t listening to music I would play guitar. If I wasn’t playing guitar I was singing. When I cook I sing, out-loud and the most random songs from Christmas carols in July to Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen” to novelty songs like “Crabs Walk Sideways, Lobsters Walk Straight. It was constant but even Andrea had her limits and would snap at me sometimes to which I’d only get quieter, not stop.
But in the car, or out with kids, particularly if there was a song that Andrea loved, she’d be there, off-key, singing at the top of her lungs. Sam, her buddy, would go “Mooom! Geez, stop, you sound awful!” while smiling ear to ear. I would totally buy in, pushing her along, singing with her, trying to go off-key too and sing. Eventually she’d pull back and listen to me sing with the kids and smile.
No song did this more than Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. I have to admit, that of all the albums I own, this is probably my second favorite. I favor “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” by Derek and the Dominos, but Floyd’s album of loss, friendship broken and the love and depression of their friend Syd Barrett is my very close second, and though it’s probably a sin to Floyd fanatics, I consider this my favorite album of theirs.
So much so, in fact, that after getting some gift cards I decided to buy the “Immersion Box Set” of the album. I got it this morning and I sit here tonight thinking I could get through it because of my long history with it. After all, my brother gave this to me as a kid, my first Floyd record ever, and I was entranced with the wine-glass intro and buildup of the album’s opus, “Shine On you Crazy Diamond.” But I sit here, on my bed at midnight, looking for things to write and hear an outtake of the title track and it just felt like my heart started to rip apart.
It’s strange, it’s not even something Andrea heard, but it’s a version never released with a violin instead of guitar solo and the sort of plaintive cry of the violin just shot Andrea into my head and I started to cry.
I always related to the song. Andrea and I couldn’t have been more polar opposite, and I have to figure many of the people around her wondered what the hell she was thinking when she started going out with me. She was blonde, tall and voluptuous. I had jet black hair and was skinny to the point of lanky. Near a 90-pound-weakling. (Alright, 160 then, but hey, it fits the analogy) She was classy and tanned and fun while I was wearing outfits 5-years behind the norm and had a Bieber do before he was born.
But we clicked. And even then, dating, while I listened constantly to music and had my acoustic guitar and would play “Wish You Were Here” in the apartment where I lived while Andrea visited or got ready for her day. She came out one day, recognizing what I was playing and giggled loudly “I LOVE this song . . . We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl . . . year after year!”
I never thought I’d ever get torn by this song. It brought such happy, warm memories of her. I thought about her sitting next to me in the car belting out the lyrics.
But the version I have playing right now is so stark, so . . . pretty, that’s the word, I suppose, and almost sad . . . that I find myself crying because of it.
So you think you can tell.
Heaven from Hell
Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail
A smile from a veil
Do you think you can tell
Before you criticize or try to comfort, yes, I know you could find hurt or meaning in anything if you search hard enough, but it’s brutal in its honesty. I do – I wish you were here. We were such opposing forces that we were two lost souls swimming around. We had so many trials and tribulations and money troubles we were running through the same stresses year after year, over and over again. Andrea had the same fears she’d had as a child and even I couldn’t make pull her through them to the other side.
I know I’m blatant in my musical references. You’ll notice, if you haven’t already, that I place a song on every post hoping to spread some of the love I have for it around, but this is one of the first since hearing “Wonderful Tonight”, the song we adopted as our wedding song, on the radio at the funeral home.
I hear that song, the violin in place of the guitar, and I can see her next to me, but also realize there’s just no chance to hear her loving, excited voice with this song.
I miss you my love, my sweet Angel. I wish you were here.
How I wish . . . How I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl
Year after year
Running over the same old ground
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.