(This post is part of an awesome series of awesome 25swf guest bloggers- read about them here!)
It’s bad enough going through one breakup, but to go through two? At once? Yeesh. No, I wasn’t dating two people at the same time, but when my most recent boyfriend broke up with me, I also had to break up with Bob Dylan. And who wants to do that?
In high school, I met Bob. We clicked, and I thought it couldn’t hurt to learn more about him. He was older than me, but I’ve always gotten along better with older people. We were both poets. We both liked complicated sentences and topsy-turvy lyrical creations. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan became my go-to album. Then I discovered Blonde on Blonde. And Highway 61 Revisited. And Nashville Skyline. And Bringing It All Back Home (and oh, I brought it). And on. And on. I. Was. In. Love. A guy who had a crush on me during high school burned me a bunch of mixed Bob CDs. I blew it off then because I was flighty and 17, and it ain’t me, but I still have those CDs and I still treasure them and the sentiment. But me and Bob, we were just a duo that couldn’t be beat. I found myself in his lyrics, and I was transported time and again from a dingy, smoky basement bar to a misty forest, to a dusty Depression Era farm, and back again. I had long, dizzying discussions with friends who just couldn’t understand why he was so famous, why people couldn’t stop talking about him, and writing about him, when his singing voice was… rough, to say the least. And his lyrics, for them, were impenetrable. They just didn’t see in him what I saw in him. But Bob and I just got each other. His words untangled my dreams. And his oeuvre – well. There are plenty of books written on that subject. I can say a lot about him, but the main point is, Robert Allen Zimmerman and I were in it for the long haul. When I was bouncing around musically in college, Bob was my one constant. I saw him perform once, at Drillers Stadium in Tulsa, and I sneakily worked my way up to the front row on the field. From there, I could see in glorious detail the sweaty, wild hair, the slightly puffy face, and his cheeks as they bellowed in and out. He was lackluster that night, and I really couldn’t understand what he was saying at any given moment, but it didn’t matter. That is a night that lives in my memory as happy. When I went to Russia and lived there for a year, Bob came with me. He stayed up with me on Sunday nights when I couldn’t sleep, his words swirling around my brain, letting me know it was okay to be awake now, we were part of the night, together. I got his music for Christmas and birthdays. People came to me to get CDs burned of his albums. I wondered, at first, if I would ever get sick of him. But as time passed, I stopped worrying about ever losing him, and just began to enjoy the moment. I never, ever thought that anyone or anything could come between me and Bob.
And then I met ___. In September of 2008. Immediately, we clicked, and of course, he loved Bob too. How could he not? It was meant, it was destined. We took a road trip together in January of 2009, and he had just bought the Bootleg Series V. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue. We probably listened to that entire album no fewer than 15 times that trip. It was serious. There was this part in the album when he would lip sync one of Bob’s songs for me, and I loved it. It made me so giddy. And then came my birthday, and he bought me some Bob stuff. And then my next birthday, and more Bob stuff. And basically, we three were happy together. Until we weren’t anymore.
When ___ broke up with me last August, I thought I would turn to Bob for comfort. Like usual. I tried to listen to him, to get him to speak to me again, but he just looked at me sadly, and spoke only dust. My favorite songs had become mournful dirges. And this had become a song linked directly to me.
Beyond here lies nothin’
The lyrics that used to wrap up my troubled mind turned to dry leaves and crumbled under my feet. I reached out, but Bob had turned away.
Go lightly from the ledge babe. Go lightly from the ground. I’m not the one you want babe. I’ll only let you down.
I always thought he was warning me against falling too hard, too fast. I didn’t realize that he was foreseeing our own breakup, envisioning the time when I would turn to him, when I would need him most, and he wouldn’t be there. He wouldn’t be enough.
You say you’re lookin’ for someone, who’ll promise never to part. Someone to close his eyes for you. Someone to close his heart. A lover for your life and nothing more… but it ain’t me, babe. No, no, no it ain’t me, babe. It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe.
I know Bobby D’s still there. I know what I really need is to “rememorize”, as 25swf puts it, some of his songs. But he’s been gone from my life for almost 8 months now, and I can feel the void. I can’t wait to reclaim him for my own, to move past the mark that ___ put on him. To really follow him down, and to be okay with what I find there. I know that when I find Bob again, he won’t be completely without ___’s residue. We were all too close to ever really be separated. But I want to have faith that when Bob and I rekindle our flame, he will have grown with me, and his lyrics will resonate in new, more meaningful ways.
Can I come home with you, baby can I come home with you ?
Yes I’ll do anything in this godalmighty world
If you just let me come home with you.