Song-maker, Heart-shaker

Loving Musicians, Closeted Lesbians, and Myself

Lillian G Lippold

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Image by me ❤

When I remember my lovers, I remember them as half-dreams.

I’m lying in bed. For some reason, they’re doing a fully-clothed contemporary-style dance on the porn stream. The light in the room is blue, and for the thousandth time, I’m remembering not kissing her even once. LOVER seems always to appear in places where she is not. This particular moment makes me think of her because the color blue is not a free signifier.

Song-maker, heart-shaker, it was six years ago now.

Before our lives become fully entwined, LOVER writes a song about me and releases it on her SoundCloud like young artists do. Though I haven’t spoken to her in nearly ten months, I do then, complimenting the guitar and hinting that I recognize myself in her barely veiled metaphors. She speaks back with too many emojis and a very Capricorn humility that lulls me. Afterwards, we stop avoiding each other in the halls. She takes the chair behind me in the choir without complaint. As spring begins, we play Uno on the floor during a class break. I laugh at her jokes.

LOVER was much taller than me then. Her hair is naturally curly, and I remember the exact day that she cut it short. She wears glasses and rings on seven of her fingers, all of them silver just like mine. Her close friends call her a Biblical name that’s only half the syllables of her full name. I remember finding this sweet, but I never could figure out how to say it right. This name, Mercy, Faith, Grace, something along those lines, always came out awkwardly. The nickname only showed up in my poems, repeating and repeating to make up for myself.

When, over Twitter DM in March, we decide we’ll try togetherness, LOVER makes me a playlist. I make one back. We send messages, song by song, which ones we like, which ones remind us of all we feel is empty. LOVER adds Barbra Streisand and Frank Ocean. I remember including many, many songs about rain, telling her the stories from my perspective, that first day we met at a coffee shop in the rain. Days later, LOVER sends me another song, one she has written but never shown anyone. I’ve lost the file by now, but I remember listening to it with my face inches from my phone speaker.

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Lillian G Lippold

MN to VC to BK. writer of all sorts and freelance editor. they/them.