It can't be a coincidence that my last attempt
To speak to you is through a hip hop format
The thing that started us talking way back in '98
The Mormon church that raised me was where we set the first date
I picked you up a little bit late so we had to wait inside
You sang, I scoured, my father thought I was saved
You paid me back for the ride with a college cafeteria breakfast

I stopped working on Sundays, borrowed a car to pick you up at 8 AM
Leaned into the sermon so you could do the wife backrub thing
Joked about my lack of isnging, then I snuck off to play the piano in the primary
It was a healthy foundation, a religion within religion
And for the first time in years, I had routine

We started to interact like long term friends, start to see you more
Not just on weekends, not just with eyes open
Some nights, I'd rub your shoulders 'til 5 AM
Just hoping to help you sleep, just hoping you'd ask me to stay
Then skate 3 miles home while the sun comes up
Cursing myself because I didn't make a play
Shouting my way across town while the moon goes down

I was the clean friend to balance out the home blend
Tried to be strong and stable to offset your depressions
I failed the first of many lessons
A bridge of painted wood is not as sturdy as cement
Better to buy than to rent
You flew back to Salt Lake City for the summer
Shifting our whole interaction onto paper
It was cool, we found a rhythm and consistence in writing
That we were never able to find in touching
I bounced to the West coast at the end of June
To visit with family on my way to be regroomed
And healed in Guatemala for a month

Out of the tome, and into the cage
From RI to Portland to Utah in just four days
Exploited at a family reunion
My father put the musician he didn't raise on display
Back at the hotel room, I asked if I could see you
He was so quick to oblige he even suggested that I shave
And I did with his razor
Something that that would've been far more significant
If it had happened at the right age
He thought you would save me
Bring me back to the fold
So the idea of sleeping at a Mormon's girl house was easily sold
You kept your dad awake late to pick me up in Prove
An hour later, we rolled into Salt Lake with nothing to do

So we went back to your house where
We talked all night on a hideaway bed
Twin life rafts encased in American Indian art
Treading history
I was cataloguing every present second as it changed into past
That night was a culmination of a whole year's science
Compressed into two lips and peer reviewed
A crashing thesis the softest demolition
My eyes didn't leave you until you snuck off at 6 AM
I was on a bus 2 hours later after a salty hug goodbye masquerading as a "Hello"
Doubled over in my seat, magnifying everything
For the first time, we were simultaneously sick
Where once was a nice view now was brick
I spent the next 20 days in a third world town
Breaking rocks down into gravel to build a medical facility
I conquered a two mile lake and lived to write you about it
I was starting to prove my worth, perhaps you were starting to doubt it
I bought the plainest wooden box I could find in a nearby tourist town
Brought it back to Portland and embedded rocks in the floor of it
In the form of a sleeping elephant and burned writing on the walls
"Delicate Elegant Dormant Elephant Dancing the Equator, Dipping in Equations"
I sent it to you with the Griffen & Sabine trilogy
And in case the message wasn't clear enough, I also sent a movie
I flew back to Rhode Island to continue playing with the band
You took a trip to Thailand with your family and got sick
When school started up I saw you back in Providence
You tried to step back a bit, getting ready to leave again
Hose down all your impulses and sterilize your best friends.
Trim the hedges a bit and write it off as "well-intentioned"
I gave you silent treatment for about 3 months
Wanted you to know how much you were hurting me
And you said, "I'm not good at goodbyes."

I was in Utah for Christmas of '99
Got the cold shoulder
Those last hours in the car running errands with you
Were a desolate linoleum low-wind wasteland
I opened wide for the mountains but I only tasted sand

You did a year abroad in Italy so I sent you backrubs on paper
Poems on barf bags, a school year measured in letters and waiting
Pictures of my situation bordering my self-loathing
All affections abbreviated, I was lost within and without you
We reveled in our consummate isolation
Closed out 2000 with a degree in foreign relations
Sewing my life on the tiled floors of airports and train stations
Always touring through places you'd recently been
We traveled like opposite ends of a nationwide barbell
It was crazy how we'd tour through Salt Lake a week before you got there
And I found myself backpacking in Thailand not feeling well
We finally synced up in RI as the school year ended
Our friendship was a mess we saw a whole lot less of each other
I took the day that you left off work and borrowed a car
So I could take you to the airport in the early afternoon
But I didn't hear from you until an hour after we were supposed to have left
You said you were going to catch a later flight
So you could say goodbye to all your friends
And you didn't need me to give you a ride
One of your girlfriends had it covered
None of my soft memories could eclipse how you left
My boss moved me away from customers because I was an emotional wreck

(I remember you singing for me in a marble temple)
I washed dishes and dishes
(I remember painting together in your tower studio)
Dishes and dishes
(I remember my beeper going off in the church meeting)
Dishes and dishes
(I remember seeing Phantom Menace in Boston on opening day)
I washed dishes and dishes until those pictures washed away
You spent the end of the year in Utah teaching under a chemical spell
I spent the next 6 months over a sink dousing my private hell
Then you left for Ireland, Russia, NY and beyond
Dodged my calls until I blocked the number I was calling from
Pretended you couldn't remember what exactly had gone wrong
Just like you'll pretend you never received a copy of this song

Our governments could've co-existed
My wild tyranny could've been rhythm to your soft democracy
Building a language and crumbling a cold war in one shot
Our relationship was a tug of war test of time and confidence
Pushing the previous night outward against the will of my eyelids
And the "right-now-ness" of a whole kingdom
Love for you is responsibility, eating, for me, is distracting
Art is a blanket that covers you for warmth or ignorance
You shift with plane rides
Where you live is a truck stop clerk
See millions fall by with nickel eyes and pavement wounds
Don't let them in the bathroom, tell them that you're cleaning it
I've been in it
I gave you space, you took it and rain with my closure
I think you left because I looked happy
I think you hide because you're lazy
I think you lie because you're yellow
I deserve concern, I deserve a return letter, you know better
I never wrote you great poems, I just meant them
You never tried to save our friendship, you just went numb

Lyrics submitted by BleedorBreathe

Some People Live Between Holidays song meanings
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