Like you’ve seen a ghost.

‘Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.’

Various days come when there are moments of reflection, you have a wry smile to yourself and try and realise why different things happened or didn’t happen in your life. You know deep down that you can’t always allow yourself to think about what you don’t have, or what you didn’t get, what you have or what you’ve lost. Memories have that way of popping into your consciousness at any given time though, hopefully more good than bad.

Although easier said than done, how is it a good idea to overthink everything, about what’s gone before, about what might have been? Just because someone got away, doesn’t mean that you’ll always be pining for them. No point on missing out on the here and now though, about everything that’s ahead. Don’t miss out on something that could be great just because it could also be difficult, take the leap. Sometimes you tiptoe into the water, but then aren’t you missing out on the adrenaline of plunging in headfirst, who wants to be engulfed with a tidal wave of what ifs?

What if you lose yourself for a minute or two?

It’s a Friday morning, the letterbox makes that familiar noise with mail hitting the mat. There’s a card, much more interesting than the usual utility bills and bank statements. It’s unexpected, it’s not my birthday, it’s not Christmas, so I’m intrigued. The words inside are surprising, ‘I just want you to know that I enjoy your company, that I love being around you. I want to spend more time with you, we could have fun together. If you want the same, meet me on Saturday at 5 where the bus used to collect us to take us to school.’
It’s unsigned, my mind starts working overtime, who could it be? Is it a love letter of sorts? Love letters never used to be thought as something out of the ordinary, but things changed with texts and emails. Why not do either of those things instead, shit, go crazy and dial my number.

Like a Magic 8-Ball, I didn’t come up with any real answers, but then the penny drops and I know who it is, let’s call her L. She’s a lovely girl, very pretty but it’s never going to happen. We’d been spending a lot of time together as part of a larger group, but she’s just split with one of my best friends and there’s a boy code. Once a friend is with a girl, she’s off limits forever. I head for football practice instead on Saturday, I’m too shy to let someone down in person.

There’s also the small matter of someone else, let’s call her M. She’s part of the same group, our parents are friends, so we spend a lot of time together, I’ve been to her house more than once. From the minute I met her, I wanted to know more. Cute, engaging, fun, sarcastic and super clever. Maybe sometimes you can know someone better in ten minutes than someone you’ve known your whole life. Obviously, I can’t say anything. Beautiful ships never sailed by my dock so I couldn’t speak to her, I just didn’t have the courage. A boy having the balls to try and tell an amazing girl that you like them? Like trying to put a jumper on a jellyfish. Despite her obvious physical attractiveness, she was like the ubiquitous girl next door, someone that you could play football with, and happily not mind when you ended up losing. Asking the question might cause the end of the friendship though, she’s too cool to be around and I’m too smart to let that go, so words are left unsaid.

The friendship continues but I have to move away for work. She’s the one that’s being left behind, but I knew full well what that cost of that was, although thankfully M will never know. We could have been two perfect circles entwined, but it is what it is. Thinking of how it could have been if I’d done something, if I’d said something. There’s the feeling of loss, the feeling of never knowing what could have been, the feeling that you let someone that you always wanted slip right through your fingers.

We’re in touch less and less, just everyday life.

Another day comes and that familiar sound of the letterbox is heard again. It’s an invite to a party, catching up with old friends will be fantastic.

Years have passed, M walks in an hour or so after me but she hasn’t changed a bit. Part of me hopes the only reason she even came to this party, is so that she can see me. Pretty arrogant male behaviour.

Everyone is catching up with everyone so we don’t meet again until around midnight. She kisses me on the cheek, we hug and it’s like how it always was, the girl next door is back in my life. Drinks are bought, glasses are clinked, maybe it’s time to say something, Dutch courage always helps, right? Just as I start to say those words that should have been said before, another friend whisks her away to dance. Hours pass and the night winds down. She comes over, leans in for a hug and kisses me, whilst holding my cheek. She puts her mouth to my ear and whispers, ‘I wrote you a card once, asking you to meet me because I wanted us to be more than friends, I was in love with you. I was so hurt and disappointed when you didn’t show up. I’ll love you always, take care.’ My heart drops, I can’t stop blinking. Friends say ‘What is it, you look like you’ve seen a ghost?’

Sometimes we meet people and neither of us guesses that the other is someone who feels it too. That can’t be a good thing.

Soon after, it’s almost like she makes sure that I see her leave with someone else, sometimes you can read the tea leaves as well as anyone. Will another chance come along? No, sometimes you only get one shot. The knowledge that there is one other soul out there who has your number, right down to the last decimal place hurts though. How often does that happen?

You just have to see her and you know that she’ll break you in two.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

It’s not a failure we could help.

Now and again, we come across a situation that we find irresistible, someone or something that it’s difficult to say no to. A new job opportunity maybe, perhaps the chance of a new relationship. No real way though of telling at the start if either are going to be good for you. It’s easier to change jobs than partners, but you’ll never know if one or both will work out if you don’t try. It’s always exciting to be attracted to someone new, to something new. Depending on how your life is going, it’s cool to not want to take a chance on someone or something, it’s not always going to be ponies, rainbows and unicorns, so a leap of faith is needed. Shit or get off the pot.

Isn’t it also true that sometimes it’s hard not to like or love the people or things that will end up hurting us the most? Some of us can be attracted to people that have the ability to cause us pain. There’s fighting, hurt, a lack of trust. Frequent break-ups but lots of great make-up sex. Feelings of blame, jealousy, being undervalued, all are far too much drama for anyone to have to deal with regularly. Can you dislike or like someone at the same time? Sometimes it’s the conflict that keeps things going. You both know that you’re no good for each other, but you dance the dance, until one of you plucks up the courage to say that it’s not working any more. Just life, making choices every day, you need to be strong enough to trust yourself, right? Things are tearing you both apart, better to break than be irreparably scarred. It’s more than okay to be physically attracted to someone, but perhaps it’s not wise to have a proper relationship with them. Quit whilst you’re ahead? Wish one another well and don’t look back.

What’s the point in chasing a train when you know that it’s already left the station. You cannot outrun a ghost.

Death Cab For Cutie are in town and are playing at the Sydney Opera House. It’s sold out, but I manage to find a pair of tickets online. I arrange to meet the seller outside and one of my best friends is coming along too. Perfect. She has to decline at the last minute unfortunately, so I make the spare available online. A random girl replies first, so now it’s her ticket, and although I’ve not spoken to her, far less met her, shared interests are a good start. It’s a couple of hours, it could and should be fun, even with a stranger. We arrange to meet at the Opera Bar for a pre-show drink, it’s one of the nicest spots in the world with a knockout view, that gets even better when you snag seats facing the Harbour Bridge.

I pick up the tickets and I get to the bar first. I’m not presumptious enough to order for her before she gets here, so I get a beer and grab those wonderful seats. A few minutes later, I can smell perfume behind me, and in some way I know that my new concert buddy has arrived. We shake hands which is frankly ridiculous, I ask what she wants to drink and I head for the bar. As I wait, I glance back over and there are an insane amount of people saying hello to her. We all know that one person who seems to know everyone so I don’t think too much about it, I grab her drink and head back.

The conversation flows easily, she has the cutest inflection to her voice. We head upstairs and grab our seats. It’s more of an intimate venue than I expected, and again, she seems to know everyone. We share the same first name so every time that someone says it out loud, I look around, but of course, they’re not speaking to me, she’s the object of attention. She’s not a natural blonde, but she’s a natural beauty, so I can see why. Again though, I forget about it, the lights dim and the show begins. She knows the words to every song, pics and videos are taken, it’s an amazing couple of hours. During the interval, the conversation flows as easily as before, I know it’s going to blow when the night ends, I don’t need a map or compass to see the direction I want to be heading in.

I live in a different suburb, but she invites herself for a nightcap, so we catch the ferry. We get to a bar that is less than a hundred paces from where I live, I give her money for drinks and excuse myself. I come back and more and more people are saying hello, how popular can one girl be, weird.

The night ends, she comes back to mine and although there’s something there, neither of us are those kind of people. A quick glass of fizz follows, I give her the tour, she takes the spare room, shorts and a tee and kisses me on the cheek, thanking me for a good night. Sleep follows.

I hear the coffee machine when I wake, I smile and take the chance to grab a shave and a shower. The doorbell rings, I go downstairs to find friends that are borrowing my flatmate’s car for the weekend. They look quizzically at the girl disappearing back upstairs and then at me. I grab the keys for them, she comes back down minutes later, kisses me on the cheek and leaves with my number with a smile, we’ll see each other again. I apologise, look back at my friends and one half of the couple sees that I look confused. He asks, ‘Do you know who that is?’ I confess I don’t, I don’t even know her surname. He laughs uncontrollably and tells me that she’s nationally famous and appears regularly on TV. Spot the stupid expat.

They leave, still laughing, and although a high five is handed out, they don’t know that anything happened. I make a dick move, stick her name into an internet search engine and the penny drops.

Days, weeks and months pass, emails, phone calls, texts are exchanged. We meet up regularly and she now knows that I know who she is. It doesn’t change anything, I don’t think, things are kept private. One day, an invite drops through the postbox for a gala event and I’m the plus one. The kilt is on, we meet up, but something is different. No hands are held, there are zero hugs, don’t even start me on kisses. The red carpet belongs to her alone, I might as well make myself comfortable on the sidelines. Plenty of pictures are being taken of her but you can probably guess how many I made it into. It’s made very clear what her priority is and it’s not a guy in a kilt.

Who wants to settle for something that isn’t right? I’m a little heart heavy, but sometimes you have to close a window even when you know that you’re not going to like being on the other side of the glass.

Was I in your way, when the cameras turned to face you? No room in frame for two.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

The world could change it’s heart.

Day 2.

The time for the tradition of making resolutions in 2019 is edging closer.

If something has happened to you this year that’s knocked your self-confidence, then isn’t there only one resolution to make for 2019? Love yourself more? There are other things that are important, of course there are, but is anything more vital than your own self-esteem being at a healthy and high level? Maybe one of the best days you’ll ever have arrives when you decide that your life is your own. It sets you up to be better to everyone else that you care about or that you come across during every day, doesn’t it? No point in beating yourself up over any mistakes that you might have made in the past. There’s no longer a need to say or make an excuse to anyone, now you lean and rely on yourself. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stand in your own sunshine.

Life becomes better, surely? Those difficult decisions that you need to make in your life are a bit easier to decide upon because you trust yourself more. What’s the point taking this incredible journey through your life with the handbrake on? Wouldn’t that make you feel more deserving of all of the good things that you desire? You might find that you have more focus than ever before, you can go and try and achieve all that you want. Treating yourself better can be tough but how great could it feel, if and when you get there?

You move forward and and hopefully you doubt yourself less than you did before. Your opinion of yourself increases, so maybe you don’t need the attention or validation from other people that you did before, certainly not those individuals that caused you pain in 2018. Why worry about what others think of you, do you care more about their opinion than you do your own? Accept who you are, but go ahead and make the changes that you want to, not just because you think that someone else wants you to be different. You’d give anything for an inner stability, wouldn’t you? It’s tough when things you have going on are negative or uncertain at times but all of us can push through, even if you might need some help now and again. Keep the good people close.

Maybe there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark.

Don’t we all need to realise how important that we are to the lives of some people? How essential you can be to someone that you might never even have met. Don’t we all leave something of ourselves when we interact with another person? Maybe 2019 will be the year that you find a shit ton of stuff to care enough to make room for in your life. You should be number one though.

No one wants to be relying on someone else for our happiness. If you have someone that you love and are in love with, then that’s fantastic, but make you happy first of all. Let someone in when you know that you’re ready to trust yourself to be in touch with everything that you’ve got going on. Maybe it’s the case that if you can’t love yourself, no one else will be able to. Isn’t it only you that’s responsible for you?

Go and do that one thing that you want to do in 2019. There will always be someone out there to tell you that you’re making the wrong decision but lose them from your life, fuck what they think. It’s about you. Baby steps, but you don’t need to know what the entire world needs, what is it that you need? Go and do it. Why waste time?

Each of us has suffered various emotions this year. Feeling defeated at times, hurting at loss, struggling to know where we are or where we’re going, but we’re still here.

Beautiful people don’t just happen. Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.

We’re stars and we’re beautiful

#YouMeMusicLifeResolutions