The streaming age
17- Fix You
When you try your best, but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
I first met you in a church when I was seventeen years old. You were forced to go, I was indifferent; no one cares at the age of seventeen. You wore a pair of navy blue jeans and a plaid t-shirt; I didn’t like you. You looked like a bookworm, how could we ever have anything in common? The pastor walked from across the room and introduced you to me. “Show K around. She’s an international student from China, and she just graduated from the University of Michigan.” Oh great, I thought to myself, she’s one of those straight A students that does nothing but study, how annoying. All of sudden, a smirk appeared on your face and you held your hand out for me to shake. I did. Little did I know, this marked the beginning of our unforeseeable friendship.
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
We were different in every way; you were always so pessimistic, and I was the complete opposite. I sympathized you for being alone in the U.S. for four years without any loved ones around. You told me that you didn’t like China, didn’t like the government, and didn’t even like your parents. You didn’t have many friends, and often spent your birthdays alone inside the nearest McDonald’s, watching people walk by through the musty window. You were surrounded by smiles and laughter, but knew that none of them were for you. You were just a lonely soul trapped in this crowded world; there was no one to confide to, you were all alone. You told me that not everything could go your way; no matter how hard you try. Sometimes certain things just aren’t meant to be. That year, you introduced Coldplay to me.
Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.
I came along,
I wrote a song for you,
And all the things you do,
And it was called “Yellow”.
I didn’t know why you wanted to be friends with me. I was four years younger than you, lived in the protection of my family, and never experienced the feeling of isolation. You lived in a closet-sized room in a four-bedroom apartment with a bunch of Chinese roommates, none of which you liked. I was reluctant the first time you invited over to your home; after all, what do we really know about each other? Your apartment smelled of tobacco and old shoes, since your landlord was a heavy smoker and never learned to take care of himself in the absence of his wife. I was stunned at the size of your room, there was only enough room to put a mattress, without even the space for a chair. We sat on your uncomfortable mattress in the dimness of the little room and listened to a bunch of depressing songs, and Yellow stuck out to me the most.
Oh yeah your skin and bones,
Turn into something beautiful,
And you know,
For you I’d bleed myself dry,
For you I’d bleed myself dry.
For some reason, I felt extremely attached to you at that instant. I wanted to hold unto your hands and let you know that you were not alone. Somehow I had the urge to cry. I went to see you every day after school, just to make sure that you could feel the least bit of warmth from another person. I wanted you to believe in friendship, family bound, and even love. You told me that you never had a boyfriend because you never believed in relationships. You’ve witnessed enough arguments from your parents to be convinced that love actually existed. But, I loved you. I did everything within my power to make you happy, just so that I can see you smile. Sometimes I wonder why you even spoke to me at all. The best answer I came up with after all these years is that you were just bored. I was the one that you talked to when you had nothing better to do; the one that you eventually left behind.
19- What If
What if there was no lie
Nothing wrong, nothing right
What if there was no time
And no reason, or rhyme
What if you should decide
That you don’t want me there by your side
That you don’t want me there in your life
Nothing changed. I was tired of always giving and giving. I realized that no matter how hard I try, you would never learn to appreciate the things that this world offers. That year, a guy came into your life. He was almost ten years older than you, uneducated, worked at a restaurant, and didn’t even speak English. You didn’t like him at first, but because of his persistence you eventually accepted him. He took you out for dinners, bought you gifts and said words of flattery. You told me once that if you weren’t stuck in your current situation—unemployed due to visa problems—you would not lay an eye on a guy like that in a million years. Yet, you chose him at the end. You invited him over to your tiny room, you unwillingly allowed him to share your mattress, but you knew better than to share your songs with him. He would never talk about the things that you were interested in, because the only thing that he was interested in was you. I felt like an abandoned puppy—a fool for trying so hard to please someone, yet still gotten thrown away at the end. Was that the end of our friendship?
Every step that you take
Could be your biggest mistake
It could bend or it could break
That’s the risk that you take
After studying in the U.S. for four years and earning a 3.98 GPA for Finance, only a mad person would throw everything away and go back to the starting point. Yet, he was able to convince you to leave this country and go back to China. Despite of all the hopes and dreams that your parents had for you, you decided to leave everything behind and pursue a journey that you cannot even foresee. I was on the verge of going crazy because I wanted you to stay; I wanted to you to be successful, and most importantly, I wanted you to be near me. The day before you left, I went to see you for the last time in your tobacco filled apartment. We drank in your small room and listened to all those songs that we had listened to over and over again. I asked you to come over to my apartment and spend your final night with my family, but you said no. You said he was coming over and offered to take you to the airport the next morning. Before you could finish your last sentence, drops of warm tears already rolled down my face. I cried and cried until the little well in my heart became dry. That was the last time I saw you.
21- The Scientist
Come up to meet you, tell you I’m sorry
You don’t know how lovely you are
I had to find you, tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart
Tell me your secrets, and ask me your questions
Oh let’s go back to the start
Running in circles, coming up tails
Heads on a science apart
Many years have passed since your departure. You never came back to the U.S. and I never visited you when I went back to China. I never forgot about you, in fact I thought about you every day when you first left. I thought about you when I saw someone holding the same cell phone that you had; I thought about you when I looked at the empty birthday card you gave me; and I thought of you more than ever when I listened to the songs that we used to listen to together. I started writing about deaths, and became hopeless toward many things. Yet, as time passed, I gradually became used to not having you around. In a way, I felt a big burden had been lifted off my shoulders. Even if you didn’t leave, I had a feeling that our friendship was still coming to an end. But I still wanted to thank you for coming into my life at such a delicate age.
Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start.
I’m twenty-one now, and I still think of you from time to time. I think of you in the sense that we once knew each other, like the way I think about my elementary school friends. My heart finally stopped hurting when I say your name out loud, and I made many new friends to fill up the void that you left behind. I never understood why I cared about you so much; maybe I was the one who really yearned for a friend. Nevertheless, many years have passed and I have matured a lot from the girl that once cried at the sight of her friend leaving, to the calm person that can easily say goodbye to anyone. Maybe you are right, maybe nothing could last forever; but, it is the process that makes everything meaningful. If I could go back to the start—to when you were first introduced to me—maybe I would avoid that handshake and let you sit there and be bored. Eventually someone would come to cheer you up, but it wouldn’t be me.