There’s an old saying that goes something along the lines of “with age comes wisdom” and as I stare down the barrel of almost a half a century of roaming this planet I can certainly attest to that. Over the years I’ve had many a fair share of what some might deem life changing events. Most of them, the important ones anyway, have been chronicled here as a sort of form of release. Sometimes it's nice to get a few things off your chest and sometimes it’s just nice to tell your story to a stranger.
If you see her, say hello,
she might be in Tangier
She left here last early spring,
is livin' there, I hear
Say for me that I'm all right
though things get kind of slow
She might think that I've forgotten her,
don't tell her it isn't so.
Lately, I’ve had this nagging feeling that life is a little like a revolving door. So many people pass through the portals that it’s getting really hard to remember them all. I’ve left some on good terms and others on bad. For those that fall into the second category, I wish at times that I’d have been the so-called “better person”. In an ideal world I’d be the one who didn’t hold grudges or turn up my nose or speak about them behind their backs. I’d be the one who took the high ground and forgave them their faults much like I wish that they would forgive mine.
We had a falling-out,
like lovers often will
And to think of how she left that night,
it still brings me a chill
And though our separation,
it pierced me to the heart
She still lives inside of me,
we've never been apart.
The sad thing is, maybe it’s too late to make amends. Too many years and too many miles make for a deadly combination when it comes to try and making things right. We all know that actions speak louder than words but right now I’m beginning to wonder if sometimes words can take the place of actions.
If you get close to her,
kiss her once for me
I always have respected her
for doin’ what she did and gettin' free
Oh, whatever makes her happy,
I won't stand in the way
Though the bitter taste still lingers on
from the night I tried to make her stay.
After my second trip down the alley of divorce I was one bitter motherfucker. Before the final papers were signed I tried every trick in the book to try and keep our marriage together. I brought up our individual finances, I tried to guilt my spouse into the whole “single parent” meme by spouting off studies that indicated how children raised in that environment fared poorly against those that came from traditional homes. I made vague promises that she knew I’d never keep. In retrospect, it was like a puppy that you hold in your lap. The tighter you try and hold on, the more it squirms to get free.
Eventually, it always gets free because if it didn’t you’d either wind up being bitten or with a lapful of piss.
And guess who you’d blame?
I see a lot of people
as I make the rounds
And I hear her name here and there
as I go from town to town
And I've never gotten used to it,
I've just learned to turn it off
Either I'm too sensitive
or else I'm gettin' soft.
Who knows how long it takes for those bitter memories to fade? When does your internal clock finally sound the bell to wake you up to the fact that life goes on and you can either choose to deal with it like an adult or keep throwing temper tantrums that get you nowhere.
When my ex remarried a few years later I was pretty hurt. By then though I had learned to mask my emotions and I wished her and her spouse all the best. Inside, I was fuming. I vowed never to be in the same room with the both of them and swore up and down that I’d never go out of my way to help them should they fall on hard times.
Now we sit together at school plays and soccer games with nary a bad feeling between us. I don’t expect to be invited over for dinner or anything but we’ve reached a pretty happy medium.
As Mr. Dylan implies, am I getting too sensitive by recalling the past in some sort of warm glow that never really existed or am I getting too soft and just given up as a victim of circumstances?
Sundown, yellow moon,
Coulda, shoulda, woulda, didn’t.
I replay the past
I know every scene by heart,
they all went by so fast
If she's passin' back this way,
I'm not that hard to find
Tell her she can look me up
if she's got the time.
That could be my mantra on life. I think I’ve done some good things over the years that I’m pretty proud of. Along the way, I haven’t killed or maimed anybody. I’ve got a pretty decent set of friends that I can rely on to pull me out of jam every now and then.
But still, when the twilight comes and I’m sitting home alone with only a cat and a book to keep me company, I know could’ve done a whole lot better.
I’m still looking towards the future though. What other choice do I have?
Lyrics to “If You See Her, Say Hello” Copyright © 1974 Ram's Horn Music and can be found on Bob Dylan’s album called Blood on the Tracks.