you turned to me and asked me if i'd always be your boy
as we drove across the river into western illinois
and on the railroad bridge, half a mile of solid steel
wheels were spitting out sparks, scraping at the rails
wind in your hair all right sunset spilling through the rear window
your white t-shirt hugging your shoulders, beaded with sweat
on the day that i become so forgetful that all of this melts away
i will burn all the calanders that counted the years down to such a worthless day

as we walked across the parking lot toward the motel office
we were walking with a benediction on us
light was everywhere, the building stood against the sky
like a monument to desperation 2 floors high
a mile and a half from the river we went back to the car to get our overnight bags sunset spilling through your earrings, all over your body
when we shut the motel door behind us, we knew we'd hit the motherlode
on the day that i forget you, i hope my heart explodes


Lyrics submitted by sailforsingapore

Twin Human Highway Flares song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentHe wrote this song for his wife.
    BoomSwaggeron May 22, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song for me perfectly captures the way you feel about a first love when you're no longer with them, but you cherish the memories you have.
    MsMollyon November 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"On the day that I forget you, I hope my heart explodes"

    That, and the similar sentiment from the end of the first verse, are (I would argue) appropriated from/references to Psalm 137: "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you."

    Name me one songwriter who can use the bible like John Darnielle. God damn, that's a good line.
    JokermanDanceon November 07, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit simply oozes emotion

    The images that this produces in my mind, the car against the rail, the gorgeous parking lot, it just is so vivid in my mind.

    on the day that i forget you, i hope my heart explodes - true that.
    yimenoon December 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe wrote this song for his wife.
    BoomSwaggeron May 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love that this song is about this moment of intense happiness, and yet the narrator is already resigned to the the fact that he will probably forget that moment.
    jfruhon April 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"There are two people in this song — or three, if you count the highway, which I generally do. They look a lot like me and the woman who would later become my wife, driving from Chicago to northern Iowa on a summer day. Only I don't think that ever happened. I know we never had any '50s road movie conversations like the one that opens the song. We weren't, at the point in time when this song would have had to've taken place for it to be true, using overnight bags. We had suitcases. And there wasn't enough backstory between us for buildings to appear as "monument[s] of desperation."

    But the picture I get in my head, or got in my head when I was writing it in a Grinnell apartment circa 1996, was of my girlfriend and I heading a little ways west and digging in for a long life together. I think it's almost a symbolic scene for me in that way. On one tour we opened the set with it quite a few times, and I enjoyed it more and more each night. The characters in this song aren't keeping secrets from you; anything they don't tell you just isn't any of your business. "
    nickvbon March 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is the defining moment of the album, "Full Force Galesburg." All the other songs turn around the moment enshrined in this one. Or so Darnielle sees it:

    from cool quote #2 (themountaingoats.net/music/…):

    All that was left later was the vision of the two of us crossing the parking lot toward the blazing room off the interstate half an hour past Iowa over on the other side of the Mississippi. These songs are about what made that moment either possible or inevitable, depending on how you look at it.
    dd42on December 11, 2008   Link

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