Soundtrack: When All Else Fails, It Fails – The Ataris


Hey, ever heard about the song that split my world into two? It's a mediocre rock song with a strange bass tone, and a bleeding electric guitar; the singer sounds like any other boy with a broken heart, but the difference is that you're that boy and it's about us – or me you could say, and how I was the girl to steal your world away. You took cocaine and I spent my summer afternoons with soft country playing from a beat up boom-box with My Little Pony stickers plastered on the front (a reminder that I was younger once) painting pictures of vivid green fields. 'It looks like freedom' you told the back of my neck as you kissed it repeatedly and made me spill paint on my canvas. Red among the green, and suddenly there were roses among the weed. I didn't like it but I learned to love it – almost the same way I learned to like your sideswiped bangs and painted eyes. Such a strange fucked up boy for such a normal girl as me. My mother shook her head, and my father looked away. He wanted me to marry Ronny down from Jackie's Shack, a boy who grilled burgers for a living and had porno-magazines underneath his bed (how I knew and why I told - don't ask) Daddy said it didn't matter, said all boys did stuff like that while growing up and that I shouldn't care; said that Ronny would take care of me – provide me with whatever I'd come to need in life, he also said you were a wreck. A havoc that would create chaos like a whirlwind with a stack of paper in its way and that made me want to twirl. Faster than the fastest, faster then the Firebird you drove on lonesome roads trough empty nights (clichéd, just like you), faster then the speed of sound as it travelled in-between the dials and my breaths as I called you up asking you to take me out (desperately out of synch you answered 'yes, fuck yeah'), faster then how fast you came the first time we had sex (and that was quick), and even faster then how fast you played the guitar frantically trying to make me fall (I never did stumble but I learned to dance).

You had a band, a car, and a bad hair-dye in your hair (blond with dark roots showing more and more for each month that passed) but not much else. Not that I really cared until you began messing with my peace. My fields turned brown, dried and almost died when you went on tour lending a shitty van for your gear and sleeping in whichever place there was for the night. I couldn't paint because I missed – and needing was something that I didn't want. You sent me postcards with letters written all over them, I tried to tell you over the phone (static covering up my fears) that cards were for a few words and not 'I Love You's' a million times around coded into different phrases and with a try at foreign languages. You stuttered and said you were sorry but you couldn't think of nothing else to write, you felt that way about me. I was glad you couldn't se me twitch when you continued with: you're my everything. The tour ended and you came back around. We made love in your car in the back of the parking lot at our local mall late at night. When you pulled you shirt off and showed me the tattoo you made I nearly choked. Oh my god boy, when did I ever say this was a 'You-&-Me-thing' that it'd last forever? My name encircled by a heart, and I bit my lip not knowing what to say in response. It wasn't the proper time to tell you I gave the Asian boy (Xin, Chang, Chung – what's his name?) who serves at Tai Ching's downtown a blowjob for smiling so nicely at me when you were gone (I felt lonely, okay.. and his skin tasted like honey and almonds when you always taste like smoke and pre-winter evenings when the air is so crisp it feels like you can cut yourself on it, I needed comfort before breaking into pieces like someone from a metal-song – the kind you listen and sing along too, but yeah, I know it's bad, I'm sorry.), and I wasn't prepared to serenade you back, see, I can't sing but I lie pretty well. So I smiled and kissed you on the lips. Sometimes you don't need words to cover up, make-up (hickeys) and make-out (distractions) works wonders with boys like you. You had a new ring in your lip and I was pretty fascinated with the way it felt as you told me stories of the road. I saw your smile and for a little while I believed in angels, stars and heaven above but eventually it all falls down, "and when all else fails, it fails". I stole that line from you, and the even more stupid song you played me.

Ronny stopped calling me around the time you punched him in the face for checking me out when we were hanging at our local bar a Saturday not long after. He had a blue eye for weeks and that was the most beautiful thing you ever gave me, that night your arm around my shoulders was the prettiest thing I could ever were. Eventually rumours spread and your addiction got a little worse. I stared at your infected needle sticks and held your crying best friend when you over-dozed (he thought it was the end and it was fall by then, October perhaps, and my brushes stood long forgotten in a jar underneath the sink in my parents kitchen). You were as pale as the first snow of the season (it looked strange with the traces of eyeliner the tears hadn't washed away) when we went to visit you and your weary eyes had me worried, had me hurting for days. You looked tired of life, and I couldn't break you more by saying that I was sick of screaming voices and endless garage-bands playing the same shit over and over again. I couldn't say that I was thinking of going so when winter came we spent a lot of time huddled close in your ice-cold apartment, me eating cereal right out of the box and you playing acoustic guitar so hard your fingers bled. I brought you plasters with cartoons on them and it made you grin. One of those days you asked about my paintings, said you missed them, so I sketched a picture inside the book on your nightstand (Different Seasons – Stephen King). I drew a crow and quoted on of my favourite bands to you ("did you know I miss you?"). You didn't get it and shook the fringe out of your eyes. I reached forwards and tucked it behind your ear, fastening it there with my favourite butterfly shaped hairclip. It glittered in blue and it didn't match your eyes, but I kissed your cheek anyhow and then I told you the truth: I couldn't paint anymore, you planted roses in my garden and they didn't fit (I liked my dandelions and forget-me-nots as they were before), I tried to mask them over as wild, but it didn't work anymore and I couldn't be your girl.

I went home and cried my pillow wet, my mother asked about the mascara stains and with swollen eyes I told her we broke apart. I was dizzy from all the spinning and spent hours throwing up because of the pain but a few days later I went to see you play, for the first and the last time in my life. I stood in the corner and watched you. You had ripped jeans on and the faded grey t-shirt I bought you a day in May. It clung to your skinny frame and I noted a bandage covering up the tattoo of my name around your arm. You tried to cut me out and I felt okay about it because my hands were stained with paint again. I painted boys with sad faces and wounded wings, boys that looked like you. You caught the audience's attention by killing off a song in the middle, I have never heard such silence before and even in the dark I knew you saw me so I stepped out in the light and closer to the stage, wearing a dress without sleeves and my arms were bare for you too see. The torn up heart etched into my skin with your name scribbled underneath made your eyes go very, very wide and when you spoke again your voice was hitched and the tone a little high (I knew you cared). You said this song was about a girl you'd never forget and then you sang the song that ripped my world in two.

It's a hit now, they play it a lot on the radio and you're touring the states with your band. I see you sometimes on TV and then my body starts to ache for you awkward touches and shy smiles, like it was in the beginning when you fell and I still stood, when I painted and you looked, when you sang and I didn't care, when we drove faster then the light leaving the moon to trail us in the dust and when I didn't know that you can't have it all. I haven't married Ronny, and I stopped fooling around with strange Asian boys. Nowadays I just miss a lot of things, but I don't regret, really I don't. It's just dumb song, about a boy and a girl that never could be forever. Still, I turn the radio off… it's better that way.

Note: "did you know I miss you" – belongs to Something Corporate and their song Konstantine. It's beautiful. "when all else fails, it fails" belongs to The Ataris, and their song When All Else Fails, It Fails. It's also a pretty song.