Sometimes I think the best way heal is to hear our hurts in a foreign language. Usually, listening without comprehension means total understanding. It means being open to anything and everything.
This is Philipp Poisel singing Als gäb’s kein Morgen mehr. Google Translate and my handy dandy sensibilities roughly translates this line to mean, “when there’s no tomorrow.” I’ve never learned a word of German in my life. The language seems more Greek than anything and yet, all the writers who have greatly influenced me seem to have been born in these parts and using German as a means to contain their innermost thoughts.
Last weekend I spent most of the wee hours sitting next to a friend and having one of the best conversations of the year. We had just endured a long day of meetings and while I excused myself from his company earlier (because I joined the boys a bit before calling it a night), he found me on the way back from getting a glass of water. I’d been trying to find a decent connection so I could work…and incidentally, that’s exactly what I got.
I found a real connection that would help me work.
The conversation went many places. There were strands here and there of leftover ideas from previous lunches and conversations over many cups of coffee. It was the second conversation, the one where he learned my name for real, that led to all other meetings and whether they were arranged or spontaneous, we always had much to talk about. We haven’t yet learned to cease the thoughts from flowing and in a way, there’s some excitement in that, at least for me. Unfortunately, sleep doesn’t quite fit the equation. By the time we parted ways to go to our rooms, the sun was already catching up with us and even then we made breakfast plans…and after a long, long, long breakfast that led up to lunch with the rest of the faculty, we still managed to sneak out to talk about everything that was left untouched many conversations ago.
Tracing the genealogy of ideas proves difficult in the days following a good conversation. You fall into a haze and everything feels revived and while part of you scrambles to recreate the stories and flow of ideas in your head, the other, quieter side finds it necessary to just enjoy the moment for what it is. After all, how often do we find ourselves truly engaged in conversation such that one idea leads to another? Often, these ideas are like old library books that are hardly pulled out of the shelf.
I owe Poisel to him too. Somewhere in those 12 dream-like hours we spoke of our great loves and of course he unintentionally hit a nerve that I thought I’d numbed sufficiently. It was the first time I told anyone about A in a manner that could only be described as “intimate” in its telling. For the first time I could talk without feeling judged or sized-up. Later on, during the ride home, we were clumped together again in the back of our boss’ car and the conversation continued. This time we’d settled on music because of a shared feeling that perhaps the hip-hop/dance music that was played on our way to the resort might not be the best driving music.
Here/Somewhere/Nowhere/Everywhere/There in those 90 minutes driving back to school, he had introduced me to at least ten artists who sang in German and sounded completely different from each other. We sat at the back of that car giggling (that was me) and telling more stories (because songs have that effect on everyone).
If only the ride had been a bit longer…but in any case, there will be many “next time’s” and more music.
As for this song and Poisel: In my head, I’d rather be outside on a rainy day. I could dance to this song over and over again until the hurt goes away. It’s a beautiful song.