Estranged, Guns and Roses
I remember laying on the living room floor of my apartment, stoned, smoking a cigarette, with this song playing so loud that I could feel it in the back of my throat. (See also: hearing loss!) It seemed impossible to me that it could get loud enough to satisfy me. I was just barely nineteen, working at a crappy job, living in a shitty apartment, and in the middle of seven year long relationship that probably reached its maximum potential at the end of the second year.
Right out of high school a close friend of ours had died in a motorcycle accident, and it sent us all tailspinning in totally different ways. Me and the boyfriend had taken the drinking and smoking heavily route, always followed up by a good long fight and then, exhausted, the one thing we should have just done from the start: clutching each other in the dark, talking about how fucked up it all was and how scared we were.
So when we heard this part of the song,
So nobody ever told us baby
How it was gonna be
So what’ll happen to us baby?
Guess we’ll have to wait and see
it was really so much more than the sum of its parts. We felt ripped off, we felt that no one had prepared us for this loss, the backside of which seemed less acutely painful but more lonely that we ever had expected. The future seemed out of our hands – if one of us could die, then we could not rule out anything, could not control anything. We both wanted to go college but had been putting it off because we were too afraid to go anywhere when life seemed so big and scary.
The bridge after that line, it is how a broken heart would sound if it made noise, it starts slow and quiet, and builds up to be loud and raging. We understood that. In the end of the song when he says, “I’ll never find anyone to replace you / Guess I’ll have to make it through, this time- Oh this time /
Without you” it broke our hearts. We didn’t yet have our own language for this loss.
I wouldn’t have chosen this song as the first song to write about if it hadn’t fallen into my lap today. The first couple of notes took my breath away, I could smell that apartment.
I’m glad I’m not that girl anymore. I’m glad I didn’t end up with that boy. I wish I could tell them both that it was going to be ok.