The Golden State

You are the hole in my head
I am the pain in your neck
You are the lump in my throat
I am the aching in your heart
We are tangled
We are stolen
We are living where things are hidden

The Golden State by John Doe always pulls at me, making me yearn for something, even after dozens of listens.  Part of me likes it because the relationship described appeals to me.  And part of me is reminded of the Ex, not just our past but also the possibility of a future, no matter how remote.

“I am the aching in your heart” just calls to mind a certain sort of relationship, generally the kind that I am prone to.  To be the aching in someone’s heart suggests that that in the relationship there is still something to be desired, something that’s longed for.  This longing, this yearning, is a feeling that I highly identify with.  At my core, I’m always yearning for something.  There’s a beautiful word in Spanish for this, which doesn’t fully translate back to English: añorar, to long for, to grieve, to miss.  It’s a deep and fundamental emotion that’s often the essence and motivation for my writing.  I write because there’s something that’s missing inside me, something I long for, a hole in my life I’m trying to fill.  And at the very least, my writing is a way of channeling this emotion, of making it real by reducing it to words.  There’s an emptiness in me, a longing for something.  

At my core, I’m probably longing for a relationship, for love.  Chronically single and bad with men, I’ve nevertheless always wanted a relationship, a boyfriend, someone to share my life with.  I crave the intimacy of love and the warm, secure feeling of being in a happy relationship.  And I’ve only had one of those in my 25 years of life.  I, perhaps vainly, consider myself attractive and desirable so my bad luck is a mystery I haven’t been able to solve.  But I did have one good relationship, at least for a little while, and  that was with the Ex.

He was my first real boyfriend and my first love.  The second time we hung out he told me he could see himself marrying me.  And that momentum carried us through the relationship– he, always making grand plans about our future; me, along for the ride and ready for whatever he threw at me.  He was committed to our future, which he ardently believed included kids (lots of them) and marriage.  Well, he was committed until he wasn’t.  He broke up with me seemingly out of the blue on an evening in early January 2011.  We’d been together for a little over a year and a half.  And it took me at least half of a year to even start getting over him.

But he’s never completely extracted himself from my life.  Even now, after spending more time broken up than we ever did together, he still calls.  He still makes grand plans about moving down south with me, about getting me pregnant (weird), and about making a ton of money together as successful professionals.  And, without fail, after two weeks of consistent contact he gets cold feet again and shuts me out.  “We’re talking too much” is his constant refrain.

I’ve learned to expect nothing from him and his yoyoing no longer breaks my heart– it’s become an almost comedic routine that I watch from the sidelines detached, predicting when the inevitable “we can’t talk anymore” text will arrive.

But even so, sometimes, I think that there’s still something there.  I think that he truly believes that we will get back together someday and fulfill his grand dream of marriage, kids, and money.  And most of the time, I don’t want this.  Since the break up I’ve been able to see some of his, and our, flaws and I’m ok with a future that doesn’t include him.  But sometimes, sometimes, I let myself think “what if.”  What if he is the aching in my heart?  Is that what I am for him, even if he’s not ready to admit to himself?

I don’t know when, or if, these questions will get answered.  But I do know that this song, John Doe’s “The Golden State,” reminds me of him.  Who knows if we’ll ever get back together, who knows if I’d even want to, who knows what our life would be like.  But I do know that, if not now, I have been the hole in his head, he has been the pain in my neck, I think I’ve been the lump in his throat, and maybe he is the aching in my heart.

We are love
We are hate
We are the feeling I get when you walk away….


10 responses to “The Golden State

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