Note from S: The first "There are songs about all of them" is here.
Today, I was doing a quick count of some of our marketing materials. I was alone in the storeroom, so I flipped on the radio while I took some notes.
The last person there had the radio on a country station and I hummed along to the background music.
And then a simple guitar strum over the radio stopped me dead in my tracks.
“You always had an eye for things that glittered / but I was far from being made of gold.”
I stood still and let the song wash over me. “Just To See You Smile” by Tim McGraw. Damn B and his country music. The cheesy country music that I now love.
I stopped my work and thought back, escaping for three minutes into a world of heavy hearts, sleepless nights and fighting back the kind of tears that sting when you keep them in your eyes.
We were at a little hole in the wall with a country-heavy jukebox one night a few years ago. B and I picked over songs – letting him lead because I was solely out of my element. We’d played George Strait (B’s favorite) and probably some Johnny Cash.
“Tim McGraw.” I read off the track list.
We settled on “Just To See You Smile,” a sad little song about setting free the ones you love.
“When all is said and done / I’d never count the cost / It’s worth all that’s lost / Just to see you smile.”
As we hit the climax of the song, when Tim’s let his love go away because that’s what she wants, I'm feeling raw and exposed. Heartbreaking for anyone who’s ever loved someone and had to let it go. Because when you care about someone, you sometimes know that you’re not what he wants. And all of the unrequited love in the world isn’t going to change his mind. (Or yours.) You’d just as soon bang your head against a brick wall, because you can’t force someone to love you.
Not that you realize this at the time. Because if you did, you actually WOULD beat your head against a brick wall. No, you delude yourself into thinking that if you let him go, even only in your mind, he’ll come back. “Someone has to be the bigger person,” you tell yourself, justifying your choice through silent tears. And as soon as you have dealt with the emotion, you forget it. (This is the only explanation, because if you actually remembered how it feels to want to vomit up your soul because you are so heartbroken, would you ever love again?)
“When you said time was all you really needed / I walked away and let you have your space / Cuz leavin’ didn’t hurt me near as badly / As the tears I saw rollin’ down your face”
I was sort of lost in this song. B was singing along in this low twang he has – boy can do a good country tune. He made me a country convert those months, during the time when I wanted him so badly that I learned to like the things he did.
“And yesterday I knew just what you wanted / When you came walkin’ up to me with him / So I told you that I was happy for you / And given the chance I’d lie again”
B pointed out that this song pissed him off. I questioned his reasoning.
“If I were this guy, I wouldn’t smile and lie,” he said. “I wouldn't lie and say I was happy that she found someone else.”
“No, I’d be pissed and I’d say so.”
“No, you wouldn’t!" I argued. "You wouldn’t say that to someone you cared about! You’d be gracious.”
“I would say that, S,” he paused. “I wouldn’t just wimp out and pretend to be happy for someone who hurt me.”
“Then you’ve never actually been in love, dear.”