Tell me when it kicks in. And I’m listening to someone called Ed and I don’t know why, except he keeps singing that one line over and over and I’m singing along with him even though it’s not my kind of music. And I heard somewhere that he wrote the song after he was at a friend’s wedding and at the wedding he took something, a pill or some shit, and at the wedding was his ex and he got all sad and alone. And tell me when it kicks in, he wrote.
I don’t undestand why everything hurts so much in the real world, why it needs to. Like seeing a girl in the street and she looks familiar – something about her hair and the way she moves through the sunlight. Like I know her and have always known her. Like she’s a part of the puzzle, a lost piece, even though she can’t be, even though she’s way too young or I’m way too old. And there it is, the hurting.
Tell me when it kicks in, and it’s a song about love and losing and pain. There are a lot of songs like that these days, it seems to me. And I take a pill, something prescribed, and I wait for the chemical burning in my bloodstream. And waiting, I hold my breath, and I close my eyes, and I lie still as sleep or death.
And I can’t stop my mind from wondering what my last thought in this life will be and if it will be as bright as a star falling, if it will be hard as a hammer blow or soft as a kiss. And my mind roams, when I want it not to, floats on invisible currents, and I lose my way trying to recall all the girls I ever kissed before, their names and the differences between them, and the hammering of my heart in those moments, and all the stars falling in the end.
Tell me when it kicks in.
And I suck in breath. Sudden. As someone who surfaces after being underwater. And I kissed a girl like that once, I’m sure I did, at the local pool, and it was quiet as ever quiet can be when we were under the water, and our lips pressed together and her tongue touching my tongue. And I remember it – not everything, not the taste or the touch, but the quiet and the star-fall look in her eyes when we broke apart and just before we swam from each other. And I wonder if she was someone I hurt without knowing it, if they all were, and I cannot then pick her out of all the others.
Tell me when it kicks in.
And I suck in breath again, slow and deep, and I ask for forgiveness and I feel something, like a voice calling me from far off. Then the hot sting of a tear on my cheek and the chemical burning in my bloodstream. And the one is soft as a balm and the other rips me open.
Tell me when it kicks in. Tell me when it kicks in.
And I can feel his pain when he sings it and there’s a pain in my heart, too. Like something breaking. And I feel the chemical burning, I do, because Ed tells me he feels it, and I fall, as stars fall at last, and my head hits hammer-hard on the floor.
Tell me when it kicks in – soft as kissing.