A MixTape’88 entry that I feel needs a place here for another reason.
You see, I thought Gail and I were solid; there was little we didn’t tell each other, know about each other or couldn’t talk about. I believe, were Gail to be back here now, that would still remain the case. Grief doesn’t work like that though. It’s too simple, too neat. Grief likes to fuck you over.
With the Love of your Life not around to ask, things keep popping into your head. I had a situation late last year. I thought of something, a question, that I didn’t know the answer too. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t know the answer to it and I gradually got more and more wound up thinking about it during the weeks(s) that followed. Not knowing was bad enough, but why did I not know the answer? Why had I never asked? I knew we were both independent people and didn’t rely on each other to go out, or do something that didn’t involve the other, but were we drifting that far apart that I hadn’t even thought to ask her this most vital of questions? What type of relationship did we have?
Eventually at end of my tether one evening I sat down and had a stiff word with myself. I needed an answer to what I was doing to myself. The realisation when it came was seismic. The reason I didn’t have the answer to this question was because, had she been here, I wouldn’t have bothered to ask. It wasn’t important. It didn’t matter. When Gail was alive we were busy living a life; even if that life involved work, hospitals, illness, trying to balance the financial situation, it was still life, still what we did. Had a guardian angel appeared in front of me at that moment and told me I could have had Gail back for the evening, I still wouldn’t have asked that question. I would have just wanted to spend that time with her talking about things that did matter.
So what was that question? What drove me to think I was going insane? Answer: I don’t know! Seriously. Once I’d got my head round the fact of why I didn’t know the answer, the question itself went from my head and, try as I might – and I won’t try that hard – it’s never come back.
You see, once you can’t ask someone then the questions flow even if you’d never thought to ask that person while they were here. Nevertheless, what you didn’t say will haunt you regularly. Like ‘Kissing A Fool’. It played a huge part in my life but I never told Gail. I wish I had. I so wish I had. Every year during the spring, about Easter time, it got a regular play in my car when I was driving to some work related thing but I never told her. She deserved to know and I think she would have liked to have known, but some foolish pride or something stopped me from telling her.
So indeed, she was kissing a fool…
Perhaps it’s one of those generational things, but my kids look at me oddly when I quote pop / rock lyrics at them as a design for life. Nevertheless, I’ve found a song lyric perfectly sums up a mood or a belief as much as any of the best poetry or literature.
In the first months of 1988, George Michael’s ‘Faith’ was a staple for me and Gail and I could have used any of the tracks on this [pretend Facebook] tape anytime between January to March. At Easter ’88 though, with the relationship discovered and in tatters, Gail put this on a tape and told me this song was about me. I’d heard it dozens of times of course, but I listened to the lyrics with fresh ears and I realised, as ever, she was dead right. It disturbed me and, for the first time ever (perhaps last time too?), I set about trying to make a set of lyrics in a song NOT about me. It took me six years but I managed it eventually. I’m genuinely proud of that.
For reasons I can’t adequately explain, even though I wanted to tell her so many times how this affected me, I never did. Now I never can. But you were always my star Pet. Always.