My Heart is Where It’s Always Been

“Well, my heart is where it’s always been
My head is somewhere in between
Give me one more chance
Let me be your lover tonight”

Well, my heart is where it's always been. My head is somewhere in between. Give me one more chance. Let me be your lover tonight.

I remember when Memorial Day weekend was the longest weekend of my life.

It was 2004, and we were about two weeks into our email relationship. Work email only, back then. This was long before the days of cell phones and social media, at least to us, so work email was our lifeline. We hadn’t yet delved into phone calls and snail mail letters and packages, so we took what we could get. I would rush into work on those Monday mornings, my heart pounding while my email fired up, and I had it all organized by folders. If you had new email in a folder, it would be in bold font. My ILM (for Industrial Light & Magic) folder would be bold and I’d have at least one unread email. From him. He was on west coast time, to my east coast time, so he sent them on the Friday nights before the Monday mornings. Except that 1st Memorial Day weekend.

That stretch from Friday until Tuesday was the longest weekend of my life.

Well, my heart is where it's always been. My head is somewhere in between. Give me one more chance. Let me be your lover tonight.

Two years later, in the fall of 2006, we found each other again. I was visiting my sister at her rock radio station booth, and she let me sit in the stool and make an on-air request. I knew he was listening; I think he even had a few friends listening. What song would I request for him? I could choose any of the “Drive” songs from the road trip mix we had made for our whale watch in July, 2004. I could do any of my broken heart songs, or “Layla” for the masterful piano exit. The songs we emailed each other; the songs we emailed each other when we somehow found ourselves together again. I was stumped, because what one song, or any number of songs, could describe the overwhelming ocean of feelings and history? I was stumped until I wasn’t, and then my radio voice was shy and sure into her microphone. “Play ‘Even Better Than the Real Thing.”

“This is Tamara, sending this song out to Cassidy in San Francisco.”

Well, my heart is where it's always been. My head is somewhere in between. Give me one more chance. Let me be your lover tonight.

“Give me one more chance
And you’ll be satisfied
Give me two more chances
You won’t be denied”

We had listened to the whole Achtung Baby album the first weekend we met. A fast weekend.

That’s what pains me so much, and so often. The purity of that love and hope I worry I took for granted at times. Love goes wayward. We check out at times, or at the same times. I have a hole inside of me. A deep, dark pit. I wonder if I’ll ever fully recover from it. You can fill the hole with love and seeds, and a rainbow of color. It’s even possible that something sturdier and more cold-hardy will take its place. I believe in that, and I also worry that the soil is rotten and the twisted, tangled roots are too intertwined with disease and decay. Or it is just that they’re tangled at all.

black raspberry tunnel

You get the real thing here. And maybe, I hope, that’s what keeps you coming back. Friday after Friday, and year after year. It’s what keeps me coming back. Sometimes it’s glossed over with rainbows and flowers and sunshine, skipping over the deepest dark days. They’re there, though.

a-frame house with chicken coop

“We’re free to fly the crimson sky
The sun won’t melt our wings tonight
Oh now
Oh, yeah”

They find their way up and out, and I like to believe that’s the healthiest way. Up, out, over. So many storms come; are coming our way, and always will be, and it can be odd to have the inner turmoil during the lighter times. What’s going on beneath the soil and in the roots is different from the surface. At least to me. It’s complex. The world could be burning, but I can feel strong, like I can carry it. The world can be more hopeful and quiet, and I can be a mess underneath. I can feel incapable when I’m actually doing something quite capably. I can be giving birth to a large baby and be thinking AS IT’S HAPPENING – “Oh, I can’t do this.” Actually I can do this, but if I don’t believe I’m feeling like a superhero at the time (like in the hospital, rather than in my head at 4am) then it’s not the same. If I’m not feeling strong while I’m actually being strong.

Then, I deserve no kudos from myself.

Well, my heart is where it's always been. My head is somewhere in between. Give me one more chance. Let me be your lover tonight.

“You’re honey, child, to a swarm of bees
Gonna blow right through you like a breeze
Give me one last dance
We’ll slide down the surface of things”

One night, I had a dream that I told him we were on borrowed time, because we were at an impasse (in waking life, but in the dream it was magnified), and splitting up seemed inevitable. So these delicious and difficult moments in between were just borrowed, my dream self said.

I had another dream that I was as young, radiant, and pure as I had been in 2004, without lines and distractions and nightmares. (don’t worry – I know I have many great things now that I didn’t have then, and they’re more sustainable) We had a particularly good day together and he said, “I love you like I did 17 years ago. Or, better. 15 years ago.” Don’t you know there’s a higher?

“Here she comes
Take me higher
Take me higher
You take me higher
You take me higher”

Well, my heart is where it's always been. My head is somewhere in between. Give me one more chance. Let me be your lover tonight.

The storms. Sometimes you wait for them, as they break into the heat with their cool relief. You had been waiting and worrying, and suddenly, it’s almost cleansing when they arrive, and then leave. The storm pass and then we inspect the damage. To our roots and soil and surfaces. We find a way, to light and heat, and a higher. We look ahead; we look behind. To before the storm.

Well, my heart is where it's always been. My head is somewhere in between. Give me one more chance. Let me be your lover tonight.

“You’re the real thing
Yeah, you’re the real thing
You’re the real thing
Even better than the real thing”

The growth is fast, when it’s happening. We can reach the sky so fast, that it’s dizzying. And then sometimes we take our time, bird by bird by inch by inch. We don’t even know it’s happening while it’s happening. We can’t see the growth until we start to feel the sun, warmer than ever on our faces. We finally look back down again, and this time, we don’t lose our footing. We’re solid and sturdy with the realization. Where we have started is so far away from where we’ve arrived.

And that; that’s even better than the real thing.

“Give me one last chance
And I’m gonna make you sing
Give me half a chance
To ride on the waves that you bring”

“Even Better Than the Real Thing” was song #27 on our birthing playlist.

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  1. I think we truly are at our strongest when we are feeling at our weakest, but still getting up and trying. We often see that strength in hindsight. Love these snippets into your life and love story! Wishing you all a very happy Memorial Day!

  2. There are so many levels to our existence. I can visualize elevators and staircases , some spiral and some that delve far into the underground/underworld of our consciousness. Your have so eloquently described your negotiating these levels with the adept skills of a true warrior, poet and dreamer. I have no doubt your ability to be awake is your greatest gift.

  3. This is the real thing; your writing. Love the bittersweet memories. It’s amazing to look back. We change so subtly and our love changes with it all. Lovely post, Tamara. Look where you two are now? So beautiful.

  4. I love love stories. I think after a few kids and a whole lot of life it’s good to remember what brought it all together. Sometimes we forget and that hurts us. Have a lovely long weekend and see you back here in June!

  5. What a ❤️ warming little story of Love (lost) and found again Tamara! My brother Jim and sister-in-law Barbara are married for the second time. First, from 1970 to ’74 no children, then reunited in 2008, married for the second time in Barbara’s same parish church in 2009, and will be remarried 12 years in September. They’re so much happier now after learning so much from their first marriage at such a young age. Anonymous said it all so well too. I remember the day l purchased that Achtung Baby album, and l’m sure that I remember it was playing while l was in the Same Goody record store picking out more albums and cd’s. U2’s video for your specially dedicated song, a parody on over-commercialism was all over MTV.

  6. You are so good at reflecting and I love the look back at your relationship, It’s been a big year for you both! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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