One of my favorite all-time songs is “When the Stars Go Blue” by Alt-Rock singer Ryan Adams. I heard it about 10 years ago when I was listening to Ryan’s first solo album. Certain songs, as you’ve read may have read in my previous blogposts, “All Kinds of Time” or “Be Like That” strike a nerve with me in terms of my emotions at a certain moment in time. It’s been covered many times by Bono and The Corrs, Country star Tim McGraw and on the show, “One Tree Hill” (I liked the first 4 years of the show then it went in a place that was Melrose Place-like then I moved on).
Allegedly, the song is about Ryan’s break-up with Winona Ryder and how he still felt something for her and he thought she still felt something for him though it looks like she moved on to someone else because of the way she was pretending to be happy. He’s pretty much saying he’ll always be there for her if she wants to comeback to him. Ryan Adams would marry Mandy Moore, about 6-7 years later.
While the song was likely about a break-up with someone, it has a different meaning to me personally whenever I hear it.
I heard it first while sampling his album after a friend recommended it to me. I remember buying it on iTunes and thinking to myself like The White Stripes, “We Are Going to Be Friends” and “Somewhere Out There” from “An American Tail” Soundtrack was a good lullaby to sleep too on a continuous loop on my iPod.
Whenever I hear this song from then on I still have this dream scenario that always struck my imagination whether it was during the day as I ride the subway to work or as I go to sleep from a long day.
I imagined I was in High School again during the spring and I did my usual saturday thing when I didn’t have a game then which was go to downtown Brooklyn by myself to catch a movie at the Regal Court Street Multiplex and afterward walk along the DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade by the water as I drank a Venti Starbucks Soy Caramel Macchiato and sat on the bench as I looked at the beautiful New York City Skyline wishing for all my dreams to come true like being successful enough to buy my parents a house, being at peace with myself and meeting the girl of my dreams until it got really late, then I went home hoping my dreams became true.
This was different though as I sat on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on the benches on my usual spot between Montague and Pierrepoint Streets finishing my coffee looking at the Skyline as the giant clock on the Watchtower Building nearby hits Midnight.
I didn’t realize as I stared at the Skyline that there was a girl sitting down on the next bench over doing the same thing I was doing while smoking a cigarette. There is no one else but us there.
I can see her lost in the moment as I was probably like looking at the lights on the building along Lower Manhattan as she smokes that cigarette. I was lost in the moment again then by looking at her looking at the Skyline.
I don’t really have a good look at her since it’s dark. I can tell she is a girl with long brunette hair but I really “don’t see” her. I, then realize that when she notices I am staring at her, she might think I was some weird stalker guy especially since I am so awkward and shy around women.
So I decide, it’s best that I leave her alone and go home. As I start to walk home, passing her on the bench with my back turned. I hear her soft, sweet voice saying, “Hey, do you want a cigarette?”
Initially, I thought I was just hearing things and turn around to go home until I hear her voice again, “I don’t want to be alone, sit with me for a few minutes and have a smoke. It’s ok”. Now I know I am not hearing things anymore but given my how I don’t really have confidence in myself. I deduce she is talking to someone else there and not me, so I turn around again to go back home and I hear her say “Please stay.” I look back at her and see her hold out the cigarette box in my direction.
I am scared. I really didn’t know what to do at that moment whether to go home or go sit with her. I, in those few seconds to make a decision was thinking whether she was some kind of a ghost, someone that leading me to getting mugged with her partner hiding in the bushes or if she is really alone and needed someone there for her. Believe it or not, I was scared of ALL THE ABOVE. If she was legit, I really didn’t know what to do or how to act with her.
My gut tells me to go home but my heart and my voice says, “OK”. I take a seat next to her and grab a cigarette and her lighter while I do have a better look at her, I really don’t “see her”. I struggle with the lighter, which is typical me because while I was able to overcome a lot of my learning disabilities I still struggle to this day with three things 1) handwriting, 2) tying my shoes and 3) using a lighter.
I am so nervous, I am getting frustrated trying to light my cigarette until she holds my hand and that’s when I turn my head to her and really “see her”. She’s one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen but she has this “sad, lonely yet innocent” look to herself. I know the look myself, when I saw myself in the mirror that was pretty much my look.
She grabs the lighter and lights my cigarette for me. I am starting to feel comfortable with her and say, “Thank you”. I am still nervous and afraid to say anything more so I look at the skyline with her.
About 10 minutes later, she begins to talk to me. I think she can tell how nervous I am and she strikes me up in conversation about myself and I feeling more at ease ask her about herself.
We talk for a couple of hours, it feels like I have known her my whole life in those two hours. She doesn’t look sad anymore, she’s happy. She tells me she has to go, but she wants to take me somewhere first.
I follow her as we walk down the Promenade towards the bridges holding her hand. We end up on the dock underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. She kisses me and asks me to dance with her. We slow dance though there is no music in the background. I don’t really dance at all, I am really bad though she doesn’t care as she’s in my arms.
As I look up to the sky and see how beautiful the stars are and the lights on the Brooklyn Bridge. I start to choke up as she’s in my arms. This is what I have always wanted in my life. I always thought then I was some deformed creature to girls, she doesn’t see me that way at all.
We stop about a half-hour later and she tells me she has to go. I really don’t want her too but I understand. We kiss again and she whispers in my ear, “Thank you for seeing me and to comeback tomorrow at the same spot”. The song ends playing on my iPhone and I wake up.
Though not as often, Once and awhile when I am in that area, I go to the Promenade and sit on that bench with a single rose in my hand at night, hoping she was real and that she would comeback… she never does.
I played that song, late Thursday night as I went home after having some happy hour/karaoke fun with my dearest co-worker friends because of a conflict in emotions I was having at that moment.
Though it’s a dream unfulfilled, hearing that song and imagining that scenario over again… It gives me hope that one day there will be that beautiful girl on the bench. I just hope I meet her soon.
-V. for Vinnie