stars in my hands

take it in. give it back. deglobalize.

On Being a Third Wheel December 3, 2011

Filed under: guitar,john denver,roommates,winter — Amanda McRaven @ 11:44 pm

Last night my housemate and I, whom I also consider one of my closest friends, did something we haven’t ever done. I played my mediocre, soulful, verisimilitudinous version of guitar and sang lead while she sang harmony. Amazing Grace. Country Roads. Both Sides Now. Sloop John B. That was it really. We just looped those four. But, it was shape shifting, those harmonies. At the neighbors house while they listened aimlessly, confounded by the old tunes. It was just me and my friend telling a story neither one of realized the other knew.

“Your low notes are really lovely,” she said. I can’t sing harmony, so I am usually unremarkable when I’m in a group. I had nodules as well, so for years my voice was just a wispy grunt. And until last night, I hadn’t sung or played in nearly a year. But, always, when I sing, what I imagine comes out of me is a rich, husky alto. And sometimes it does.

I held on to her words all day, the way she said it – open and slightly surprised. And held on to how she closed her eyes and slipped her soprano into the chords. And how we were sitting perched in the corner to make our own space for singing.

Tonight she came home with her boyfriend and it was just like most nights here. They cook and laugh and kiss and offer me a portion — mostly soup. That’s what she eats. And I eat it. It’s delicious. But I leave them at the table and I sip it on the couch and invent something I have to do on my computer. I duck the strange inclusions that he lobs at me from the kitchen. He answers my rhetorical questions and makes irritating puns. This is all okay. I have learned to let be. I spent too many months letting him drive me (what felt like literally) crazy.

But what I am missing right now is those harmonies. That buried all the hatchets J and I have thrown at each other. That filled a winter night. With no room for anyone else.