Ne me quitte pas.

A boy's room,
making his way to manhood, but a boy nevertheless.
Stolen road signs and worn copies of Le monde diplomatique scattered on the floor.
An innocent film script covered with marginalia - the mark of someone who still believes.
A headful of dreams and parents patiently waiting on the ground floor.
His eyes lit up as he said You must listen to this- it's magic, and pressed play.
Jacques Brel burst out of the speakers, singing, but it felt more like he was weaving a story.
about the sea, tempests, infidelity and about love, always love.
Without understanding why, something heavy was pressing on me, 
I could not be sure- my French was tentative at best- and so he explained,
about the old lovers, the shadow of my shadow, the exultation of the body. 
He told me about burning, loving- maybe too much, maybe in all the wrong ways.
He explained what everyone wants to feel at 23.
Upon my return home I studied Brel furiously.
Studying for the kind of love that only exists in chansons
thinking that if I master the lyrics I can will them into being.  
Will the songs into being.
Ten years later, and sometimes I still catch myself mumbling those phrases,
an old charm, an exhausting prayer.
Laisse-moi devenir, 
l'ombre de ton ombre
l'ombre de ta main
l'ombre de ton chien
mais, ne me quitte pas.
As though they meant something.
And maybe they do.
Listen to the beauty of Brel here .

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