Dear Pianist (the writer wrote):
"I drove to California on my own to try to get myself sad enough to write a new album. I prayed and prayed for a salve that would heal the pain in my heart, and once the wound was held together, I pulled the stitching apart.
It's like the Lord answered all of my prayers, and now I want my questions back, and search for ways to spite his grace, and get my old gods back. Dear, I can't pretend that I didn't thrive off of the emptiness I felt inside before the spirit invaded the void, just like I asked him to, and shared with all of you.
I stepped out the front door and tossed up my keys to find myself in a closet stuffed with all of my insecurities, and all of the things that I'm ashamed of, and every broken memory that I keep to cut my wrists – and be it vain or be it pity, well I know that I still bleed, and I keep the shards of mirrored glass to see my expression as I seep out onto the carpet and stain my bare feet in a puddle that I'll drown in eight quarts deep.
When I was a boy, my daddy told me to unclench my fists – hold out my hands (like this) – and pray – like a picture of letting the Lord take your fears away. But he forgot to loosen his grip when it came time to practice it, and the thought got convoluted the day he went away. Jesus! If you see this, I hope I see him again someday.
I drove alone along the western coast to write a poem somebody could relate to. I reopened every wound and bled myself dry just to try to feel the same way that I used to. I drove past the city at night, with the windows down, to watch the lights – and be so cold that I'm uncomfortable: you know I do it to myself. These headphones could be playing something else, but 'we're at the bottom of everything' like the songwriter sings, and I make myself shiver until I believe it. I know every word to every song about despair, and I keep the album on repeat to keep me there."
She hit the first note and then that note set me free. Well, I fell in love with her sadness before she fell in love with me, but the best letters are those written in tears that smear the ink, so she played the keys and I started writing.
"I wrapped that sorrow up tight, like a noose around my neck, stood tall on a flimsy card table, and kicked it out from underneath my legs. And I've been hanging in a house of cards for months on end, swinging back and forth beneath a creaking rafter at the wind's every whim. I always 'forgot' to close the windows so that I could let in the cold, knowing discomfort and disappointment were the only peace I'd ever known. I've got excuse upon excuse for every broken bone, but in the end, I broke them all myself to give the pain a home.
Dear Pianist, I love you more than you'll ever know. I swear your smile saved my life. I swear your touch made me whole. But there is not an end to the self-condemning lies that I have believed, and there is no depth that I have not known in attempts to drown myself (or: set myself free) – to the point of pushing you away from me. I drove the country on my own in an attempt to break my heart, and I've opened my heart to every fleeting hope in an attempt to fall apart." She said, "we fall apart and into our gods, but God meets us where we are! (and) Oh what a thought! (To live a life that's free!) But we are such a self-destructive bunch, aren't we? Writer, you are a part of me and there is nothing you can do to set to flame the fabric that has woven me to you. I will not be your broken heart and I will not be your empty oath, o! with our hands laid flat in surrender I swear we will both let go of the chains that choke us, that wrap their hands around our throats, and I will play you a new song and the lyrics that you wrote will accompany the melody" and every word she spoke was a land of milk and honey that I thought I'd never know.
I drove to Washington on my own to sorrow in the rain, but we danced over every puddle, and joy washed the pain away, and it rode the gutters into the ocean, and the currents out beyond it's shores, to a whisper beyond the horizon, to be forgotten and thought of no more.
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