I came into the apartment and Jeffrey was home. I think it was a summer day. I had probably been out working some temp job in some office in some skyscraper and I entered the apartment – my home, sort of – I entered it very alone, stepping into this territory that was supposed to be mine, or shared-mine, supposed to be my refuge, the place I’d been waiting to get back to all day, the place I felt torn from as I sat under fluorescent lights before my IBM Selectric amongst people who really seemed to think and care about carbon copies and memos.
I came home and Jeffrey said he had a song he really wanted me to hear, a new Jackson Browne song and instead of going into our bedroom that was really his bedroom that I slept in – the walls had been painted an unrelenting, harsh blue by his stepmother, the furniture was left over from his childhood apartment that had not been shared by this stepmother, and the stereo Jeffrey was usually monitoring was set up within easy reach of the bed – we didn’t go in there this day or into the living room where the TV was, the other main fixture of our life in this apartment though I didn’t like TV much, Jeffrey could watch it for hours. Instead, he led me into the bare almost lifeless room where his father slept, or used to sleep. He wasn’t coming around so much anymore. In the beginning, the apartment had been rented to house Jeffrey and his father who was going through a rough patch with his second wife. Jeffrey’s father’s room had a four-poster bed in it, a nightstand and a TV at the foot of the bed on a dresser.
Jeffrey and I sat on the edge of the bed and he played me the song. Jeffrey was excited for me to hear the song. Jeffrey and I had had some sort of huge fight I think that morning or the night before. Somehow, this song was supposed to cure something. Or maybe I’d had a particularly horrible bout of depression that I couldn’t hold back the way I usually did, and it spilled out into view and Jeffrey had found the song that would address it. Or something. I don’t know. To Jeffrey the song was relevant and a big deal. I almost wrote the word “important,” but that word does not go with Jeffrey. To use that word here would give him credit that I just don’t associate with this scene.
I listened to the song. It did nothing for me. It pierced nothing. And it made Jeffrey angry that I didn’t get it – I even felt that maybe I wasn’t getting it. I just remember sitting there, on the edge of the double bed, in a room that didn’t get much light and Jackson Browne’s song is for Jeffrey, not for me. And I don’t know if what I want is so deep Jeffrey will never able to reach it, or if I am so lost that things like this song, things that can save other people, are swinging in a world I can’t get to.