Heart Shaped Box

If one more person asks me if something’s wrong …

I might just have to tell them.

Everyone’s been asking. “Are you allright?” “Is everything ok?” “You seem off, something goin’ on?” My parents, my colleagues, the guy at Starbucks. How do they know? It’s like I’m wearing a badge or something. It’s like I’m transparent. It’s like I’m a ghost.

So what the fuck. You know me. You listen to my songs. What could be more personal, more revealing than eight albums worth of love songs? A blog? An article in the New York Times? Probably not.

So here’s the thing. I’m always in love. Every since I was a little boy, I’ve been in love. My first love was the girl next door, Sissy James. Then there was that adorable red head from Mrs. Peak’s Montessori school. Then Mellisa Yates in third grade. Then Jenny Clarke in fifth. Then Chrissy Feraro. And then it really got dramatic: high school. Amy Langan, Kirsten Van Vlandren. Then it got complicated: college. Courtney Collins, Erin MacLean, Polly Lieberman. And so on, and so on, spiraling further and further out of control.

Love is, after all, the ultimate drug. No amount of LSD or pot or booze has ever compared to the feeling of being in love. It’s like pure sunshine. It’s like the longest, sweetest, warmest embrace. It’s like hearing the word “yes” on repeat. It is confidence, security, euphoria. It’s gravity and weightlessness combined.

Until. Until the dark side creeps in. Until the shadows peak out from the bright edges. Until reality creeps in. Until you say, or hear, “I can’t do this.”

I had a dream last week. I woke from surgery to find my tongue had been severed. I had bitten off the end. It was stitched back together. But it felt huge in my mouth. I stared into the mirror and fumbled for words.

I’m sorry, but you won’t get the details. You may insinuate them from the next album. But no details. Only the upshot. And the upshot is this: I am alone. For the first time in my life, I am alone. Intentionally. And it’s lonesome, and quiet, and sad, and not much fun. And, apparently, that shows. After 33 years of near constant female companionship, and/or self medication to bridge the few moments of solitude in between, I am finding out what this is like. On purpose.

What’s it like? It’s like something is missing. But that someone isn’t someone else. That someone is me. And I think I’ll find him here.

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