You're gonna be the one that saves me?
I needed shelter; I needed comfort. The death of an ex, my first real girl relationship, crippled me in ways I wouldn't realize until much, much later. I blamed myself. I felt that if we hadn't broken up then she never would have moved to Connecticut where she died in a car accident. I was in a particularly low place when the Englishman with whom I'd begun a relationship after Candace suggested I come stay for a while. He was expressive and warm. He was exciting, foreign and had a deep need to take care of people. I was in severe need of someone to look after me, to love me, despite or maybe because of my woundedness.
I wanted rescuing.
We listened to What's the Story Morning Glory on repeat on a trip to Oxford. I wanted to see the campus, its buildings. I thought that I could somehow connect to all the great minds that had been there before. My heart might have been fragmented but my intellectual strength always saw me through difficult times. On the way there, I rolled down the windows and sang into the wind.
And all the roads we have to walk along are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I would
Like to say to you
I don't know how
I looked at the Englishman and said, "You're my wonderwall."
"What do you think it means?" he asked me.
"I think it's someone who surprises you by being strong enough to lean on." I answered, rolling the window up.
"Yeah? You think I'm strong enough to hold you?"
"God, I hope so." I whispered, nodding.
And he was, for a while.
In Paris, I kept hearing about this woman who sang in a small nightclub near Montmatre. I'd been in the area a few times to a place whose famed history included Toulouse-Lautrec and absinthe. And while I liked the vibe of the place I felt compelled to accompany some of the waiters who worked in the sandwich shoppe/cafe below my apartment to hear the chanteuse. She had a beautiful voice, probably classically trained. I kept going back every night I knew she was singing for about a week. One night she sang this completely haunting version of Wonderwall in French; I recognized the music. And I couldn't shake the feeling that I was supposed to understand something great, something significant about the timing of that song for my situation.
I played the song for days afterwards. I'd grown stronger in the time I'd been with the Englishman. He gave me refuge and space to find myself. In Paris, while he worked and I spent most of my days alone or with one of the waitstaff, I began to discover how much I'd changed. I had run away not only from the memories I didn't want to recall but from myself. There's a line from a Switchfoot song that asks, "Where can you run to escape from yourself?" And that's the thing: there isn't anywhere to go because you always, always catch up to yourself and think, "Is this it? Is this all there is?" So, I realized that the only person strong enough to be my wonderwall was me. I needed to rescue myself.
I think I've been trying to do that ever since. I still love the song, the notion that people are put into our lives for us to lean on, for us to learn from, grow with, to enrich our lives. I like that in the lyrics, there is a question: "Maybe, you're going to be the one to save me?" because maybe not, maybe in the end, there's just you to save yourself.