With or Without You


Sometimes, because I love music so much, I build something around songs. My last piece, which Brian Miller picked up on, was written around a Metallica song, Enter Sandman. I ‘borrowed’ a line or two, but that was all.

I met my partner at a NewYears Eve party in 87/88. We lived next door to each other and I often saw her and her little lad coming and going. The party was at a mutual friends place and that’s where we kissed for the first time. It seems like only yesterday. Not long after, a cousin of mine came over from Canada to visit. It was the first time I met her and we got on very well. Before she left she invited me over to Canada to stay with her and her husband. What a oppurtunity that was. I could not say no. I hoped my partner and her son might come with me, but alas, it was not to be. But 3 weeks turned into 9 months, it was hard to leave. If I have any regrets in life, leaving Canada is one of them. But, if I had not come home, we wouldn’t have Tinkerbell, so every cloud has a silver lining.

U2 released the album The Joshua Tree in March 1987. I had seen them twice and fell in love with the album immediately. It’s still in my favourite top 5 albums, always will be. But the song With or Without You became ‘our ‘ song. When it was good, it was orgasmic, when it was bad, it was a car crash. Thats how it was. So the song took on a literal meaning for us both. Living with each other since ’91 has been impossible, living without each other would also be impossible. I know that because we did have a trial separation at one point, but it was not what either of us wanted.

So this is a kind of narrative of our relationship, from beginning to now. Due to unforseen circumstances and a complete change in our lives, I have no idea how it will go from here, we shall just have to see and hope things get better at some point. Thankfully, Tinkerbell [our granddaughter] is a constant source of inspiration. My partner was told, many many years ago that she would become close to a little girl and she certainly has.

‘Twas New Year of 87/88
the party season was drawing towards its end
just one last night on the lash
before it started all over again
same shit, different year
nothing changes
but even then I knew
I could not live
with or without you

Why did I have to be there that night?
Why did you have to be there?
it was just a party
and at parties, things happen
some we regret, some we don’t
and then there are the maybes
I regret meeting you, but then don’t
but even then I knew
I could not live
with or without you

The flight was a long haul
but it had to be made
the adventure was too good to pass
another country, another world
it might as well have been
but you weren’t there
holding my hand, reassuring me
but even then I knew
I could not live
With or without you

The return was emotion filled
a lifestyle I loved
for a woman and boy I loved
a country I loved
for a region I loved
hard choices have to be made
compromises shared
but even then I knew
I could not live
With or without you

Times were hard
the neighbours were bad
but we endured
something had to give
the straw always arrives
that breaks the back of us all
it was time to move on
another chapter, a new chapter
but even then I knew
I could not live
with or without you

The move went well
as well as these things can go
a new home, new neighbours
new surroundings
decor to choose
work to be done
concessions to be made
tolerances tested
but even then I knew
I could not live
with or without you

Prospects, lives, careers improved
money became a friend
who often took us out to dinner
or shared a bottle of wine
or two
a new car for new adventures
hills and valleys to explore
peace to be enjoyed
but even then I knew
I could not live
with or without you

The little girl
the one you were told about
all those years ago
became the greatest Christmas present
we both ever had or could ever get
that first day, that first hold
we both knew we were lost
hopelessly in love
but even then I knew
I could not live
with or without you

Then life conspired against us
a more dramatic change it could not bring
suddenly, my vitality was stolen
never to return?
the walks ended
the hand holding stopped
the kisses and hugs died
lovemaking became history
and even then I knew
I could not live
with or without you

And so, our journey continues
down this rocky road
we have Tinkerbell
the gift of a lifetime
it aint all bad is it?
there’s hope, always hope
but also realism
somehow we have to learn
how to live again
with or without each other.

 

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