The same deep water as you

We went back to the old elementary school, Charlotte’s last year, for the annual Halloween bash. Dawn and I stood in the playground feeling tired and out of sorts, trying to make out the identities of kids running by as the light fell. Charlotte and her friend Anna were easy to pick out, they went as bananas. For some reason Lily came (she’s now in 8th grade), dressed as a Starbucks barista with fake nails and tight jeans, fashion shoes and pumps, make-up…with a boy named Adrian she’s befriended who has to like her on another level, I think…but Lily insisting she’s gay, even though she shows no signs I’d associate as gay…and it’s all so confusing.

We stood facing the sun set, past the tall trees: a knot of bloody clouds changing shape, a candle going out. And I said to Dawn, remember Scotland?—three years ago we were there for Halloween, and the light was like this. They have another name for trick or treating neither of us could remember. Dawn said, check your blog.

And we talked to a mom with one of the only African American kids at the school, a gay couple who adopted a black boy and girl—Dawn made friends with the moms, who are separated now, and I can only remember one of their names but I’m afraid to use it on the wrong one, so I just smile and say hi.

Adrian had to get home by 7 which I was glad for, and we left without sentiment. They sat in the back of the car as I drove Adrian to his dad’s, and Lily commented on the music: I said this is The Cure, a song called The Same Deep Water as You…and I drove slowly over the speed bumps in Adrian’s dad’s waterfront community so we could hear the last of the lyrics…and remembered being 13 myself, in the back of my parent’s car driving home from the movies with a girl I liked, springtime but warm enough we had the windows rolled down…the look of the sky going from pink to purple, the first time I heard the song “Take a Walk on the Wild Side,” laughing at the lyrics, then he was a she… 

I remembered it in bed Saturday morning lying next to Dawn, the sound of her breathing, the clock tolling downstairs, the dog smacking her lips…thinking I’m older now, but richer. Riches defined not in gold, but memories.

Categories: identity, Memoir, writing

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17 replies

  1. This is a small movie or short story. It’s like Joyce’s “The Dead” in some ways, you know what I mean.

    The first time I heard The Smiths was in the backseat of someone’s car: “Girlfriend in a Coma” on a pitch-black road in the middle of nowhere. You remember the sweet darkness of that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I must have told you (or you read in a blog of mine) about the time I worked at a video rental store, and they mis-categorized the film The Dead in the horror section. Can you imagine the disappointment?!
      I remember first connecting with the song There is a light that never goes out, can still place that scene, 1987 I think. How cool is that, those memories? Thanks for sharing yours. I remember getting that album when it came out, I think fall of ’88, and not knowing what Strangeways was, thinking it deserved two words vs. one. What a queer name that is.
      Man, any reference I get to Joyce will always make my day. Happy you thought that, thanks. The last paragraph or two of that story is one of my favorite pieces of writing…and I have a memory to go with it, of a special time alone late at night walking as a teenager, with the sound of heavy, falling snow. His is much different than mine, but you can combine them too…why not…we’re lucky we grew up with The Smiths and The Cure. Quasi-smart music for would-be artists, ourselves.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Way back when, I started re-dating a girl a year or so after she broke up with me. Crafty powers of persuasion on my part, possibly. In retrospect, it was a sort of revenge dating, as shortly afterwards, I dumped her. It was not my finest moment. In fact, during the dumping, I sang or quoted lyrics at her: “You hurt me/And I hate you.” Eurythmics. This has been my memory for years. Then, a few weeks ago, I happened to look up that song. It came out in 1989, three years after this breakup occurred. Okay. I’ve been wracking my brain and today I figured it out. It was “I hurt you/‘cause you hurt me.” Pretenders, and slightly less vicious. But only just. Don’t fully trust musical memory. Also: I still feel bad about what I did to that girl and would apologize if I ever made contact with her.


  2. That’s pretty clever marketing right there, the Starbucks costume. Not that she was marketing, but I could see that taking off, a nice little source of income for America, kids trick or treating for McDonalds and such. You should get out ahead of this idea. Or maybe I can have it? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ugh, everything is marketing right? Or a lot that oughtn’t be. She was wearing one of the aprons I had from my time working there. Kind of strange. Very. Hope your weekend is good and you’ve got plans to celebrate your big day, mister! Coming up! Ha, ha…scary…


  3. I guess we are all in the same deep water. And it seems to get deeper the longer you float around in it. More and more memories …

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a good song title. And it’s heavy, and thick I guess if you want to carry the metaphor out. Why not? Miss blogging with you man and hope you and Miss Sue are good my friend. No more fires, at least the ones outside…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Guising” is the term for trick-or-treating in Scotland, or was once. As in disguising. Yet perhaps the relentless American marketing juggernaut has overlaid that now as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s right! Thank you Kim! I kept thinking it was “ghouling “ which I knew wasn’t right…could have found out with a simple internet search but so much nicer to hear it from a person! Thank you! That was a wake-up call for our kids, trying to trick-or-treat there, and returning home with empty bags. Funny…then Guy Fawkes day, another eye-opener. Fireworks in November.


  5. Love the gentle, wistful ending, Bill. And the confusion of being a thirteen year old, or parent thereof.
    If born a little later, would I have Smithed? Or been Cured?
    – Bruce

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It sounds so corny, but music is the background of our lives. I guess that’s why we reference it so often, songs accompany memory, and the right or wrong musical score can make or break a film. Great post Bill. I’m having a senior moment and can’t capture the word for the feeling it evokes, but it does evoke feeling. Some days being sixty is better than others.

    Liked by 1 person

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