Tonight I saw Ben Lee play live almost ten years after his album ‘Awake Is The New Sleep’ was my best friend for a while.
I wanted to write about that year I could write about lugging a backpack and Polish map,
Or about riding a white horse bareback at sunset over a distant desert where there are cathedrals in caves.
I could write about wet cobblestone lanes or walled cities hiding sunlit flag dancers,
About reading books on long bus trips and sleeping on train platforms watching snowflakes fall as big as my palm.
I could write about gyros and gelato and pastries,
About islands and olive farms and death camps and castles and village squares and mountains.
I could write about writing initials in the snow on top of a volcano,
Or about throwing a ring into the ocean off the back of a boat,
Or about softly sobbing to strangers in internet cafes,
Or about meeting by moonlight near a bridge,
Or about the longest night of my life,
Spent huddled in a hallway of a hostel with my headphones jammed in my ears blocking out the dorm room sex and the sound of my own hurting heart and racing brain by playing this song on repeat and writing down every single lyric until the sun came up and tear stained I faced that day until something deep down maybe somewhere in my stomach said ‘NO!’ and I listened.
That was all nearly ten years ago.
I’ve told that story many times.
Tonight when with nothing more than a man with strings and wood finally washed those songs I knew so well all over me
Wetness welled up in my eyes without rolling down my face
My whole face was smiling and my chest filled up with deep and contented breaths
I sung as loud as I could along with everyone because
We really are all in this together