I’ve never been a big fan of indie folk. They always sound pleasant in movies, but somehow, when by on its own, it just feels like an auditory equivalent of Diazepam. That was then.
Now, I feel all shades of sappy whenever I listen to it. Torturing myself with probably the most common, the most obscure, and the most indie oeuvre from the likes of Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Daughter, The Lumineers, Laura Marling, She & Him, and plenty more. Occasionally, I will play related songs from Sun Kil Moon, The War On Drugs, Sharon Van Etten, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, The National, J Mascis, and yeah, Death Cab For Cutie.
All musicians mentioned above, she and I have touched. Her fingers are all over For Emma, Forever Ago, as my ears get battered by listening to ‘Skinny Love’ when I’d rather mope in ‘Calgary’. “This is so basic,” I mused. “Really? A girl whose favorite Bon Iver song is ‘Skinny Love’? This sounds like a first draft of a would-be rejected coming-of-age romantic hipster movie.” All my aspirations of having a hybrid Wes Anderson-John Hughes love story was reduced to something like Glitter.
Her idea of a “great chicken place” is BonChon. By now, that should have been a certified deal-breaker, but I was committed to their japchae and frozen yogurt, so I compromised. She has an addiction to doughnuts. I don’t like them, at least not as much as she does. She was constantly running on sugar and would infect me with her enthusiasm. The duration of our relationship cannot be measured by all the Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kremes, J.Cos, and Cellos in the world. She also likes mountain-climbing, and even begged me to go spelunking with her. I can barely climb up a flight of stairs without expunging my lungs in the process.
My snobbish tendencies go through the roof almost always when I’m with her. She has no understanding of my affinity of hiphop, my obsession with Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar, my need to repeat Disclosure’s ‘Bang That’ for posterity, and why I have no opinion whatsoever about Zooey Deschanel.
That last one ticks her off the most.
She cannot wrap her head in the idea that I was not inclined to perhaps the best prototype of indie manic pixie dream girl that ever existed. In her frustration, I think she wanted one of us, or worse, both of us, to embody this archaic version of the hip girl. In retaliation, I compared her to Ben Affleck’s character in Chasing Amy.
But here’s why she and I ended it. It was, in fact, the most cliche of all cliches.
She was all too familiar to me, but our relationship was a stranger. I can trace her silhouette in thin air, and if she were to appear all of a sudden, she would fit perfectly. She’d be under my eyelids even as I sleep, drawing pictures in my mind. She’s a map of beautiful coincidences, the two of us at the heart of it all. Of all forms of touch that exist, her lips was the most real, the most piercing, the most numbing. No night was too cold with her hands on mine, as I fall asleep in the safest place on earth. With her.
I was occupying half a space in her heart. Out there was another girl who loves BonChon’s chicken and all types of doughnuts as she does, who would glad to watch New Girl reruns with her, passionately recite Summer’s lines for the 987th time, and will snarl with her every time Kintsugi appears on her search bar (my fault).
Out there was another girl whose body she traced and embedded kiss marks on her skin, left with her taste lingering in her mouth. Climbing heights together, they will both soak in the clouds at the apex in the sky – all while I remain looking at pictures of us, except there is no us.
Can I cry now?
Once upon a time, a girl cried an endless stream of tears until it became an ocean. She looks at her reflection in the water and sees the face of the woman she used to love. So she built a bridge, long and wide, with nothing to see but the horizon ahead and the sunlight touching the water. During the night, the moon illuminated her way. Day and night, she walked and walked until she finally see the other end and ran towards it, jubilant. The girl who fell in love built a bridge over the ocean of her love, and got over it.