I remember the first time I heard this song. I wasn’t very old, thirteen or fourteen I guess, so my thoughts weren’t very deep, or if they were, I certainly didn’t know how to express them. Oh no, it was just "My God, that’s such a sad song." I've come a way since then.
It was never, not even when I was a teenager, the narrative that disturbed me.
Sure, it reminded me of the Icarus story - here was some beautiful girl, flying on borrowed wings up towards the sun, grabbing at all the heat and light she could get, oblivious of risk or danger. I could hear her laugh at the puny earthbound souls, mocking them for surrendering to gravity, as she spun higher. I pictured her suspended and sparkling, splitting the sun’s rays into a million rainbows, just a moment before the wax melted.
I could see her too, cast down to earth, broken and discarded, struggling to make sense of her fall and to find a reason for, and way of, living in a bleak here and now, with all the memories of what she used to have and be crowding her mind.
And yes, that was a tragic story. But… well … people cope, and maybe this girl would too.
I felt sorry for the narrator.
What exactly had she done to this man who gloated so over her downfall, I wondered? Had she stolen something or someone from him? Was she going up, as he fell down? Did she take a place he thought was his, or had he loved her, only to be rejected harshly, with cruel words and laughter?
Somehow, I never really worried about or mourned for the girl. But the man, wrapped so tightly in his bitterness that his only response to seeing her crash and burn was to revel in her misfortune and taunt her, him I pitied. While I've always been convinced that she might come through and find a route to survival and even happiness, I'm equally sure he was damaged for life – locked bleeding in a box with walls of anger, resentment, envy and hostility, transparent walls he could see through, but never, ever knock down or reach beyond.
My God, it's such a sad song.