I was sitting on a patch of wet grass in the middle of Riverside Park when “The Bad Days” by David Ramirez sang in my ears.
There’s something about a song that is begging for acceptance that makes you want to give it to it. Can I cut you that slack, David? Can I be there for the days when we “hold on strong”?
Because man do I want to. I want the release of breath that comes in the instant that you’re sure in your someone. That breath you were holding before the song started is uncomfortable, David. I know it well, it finds you when you cushion your words because you don’t want to come on too strong, too desperate, too stripped to your core.
But then you breathe. Or at least that’s the story you’re telling me.
From you I’m learning that you let the breath escape your lips when you have someone else’s to let it flow into. You trust that your someone will already know the words you feel the need to say out loud, “I pray the times that our love is sweet, outweigh the days when you hated me.”
Because that’s love, right? It’s the being okay with those “days when the love is so thin”? Because those are real and true days. They’re the days you asked for when you prayed for love. These are the days that serve as prizes to the moments when you were swiping right or trying hard to strike up small talk. Because it’s in those jagged moments when you find another human there that you learn that for once you’re not in love with the idea, but with the reality.
Then some days you find yourself on a patch of wet grass when your only reminder of sweet moments are baby boys who haven’t been jaded by the need to not hurt. They stray, stumble, fall, pick themselves back up. They don’t necessarily ignore the pain but they also don’t disregard that it means they even had the time and space to try and so to them it’s a worthwhile bet.
That’s what your song is trying to bring us jaded adults back to, right? A reminder that “Bad Days” are not “every days” but even when they come they’re not to be seen as all or nothing days. She’s still your girl on those bad days because you’re still her guy.
Some days the sound of his voice would be both the thing that sets me off and turns me on. And that’s okay, right, David?
Your song, it gives me permission to know that there will be days when I piss him off and he’ll do the same to me. In those suspended moments that the world sees as imbalance, I should realize that maybe it’s just a “day when we don’t know what we’re doing.” But at the end we’d be both lost and found in each other.
Not to romanticize the moments though, because not every bad moment will be clean cut, there are words and feelings and realities two people exist in that are bound to crash. And “maybe some days [he’ll] wish [he] could take it all back.”
Or maybe I will.
But he wouldn’t and neither would I, right? Because at the end of it he’d still be mine and I’d still be his. The “years that we come up short” would be “swallowed by the years that we make it work.”
We would have both let go of our individual hurt long enough to stand still and feel the present instead of the past. We would have made it to that hypothetical point where “the days are a game that we just can’t win,” and yet we’d still be standing and somewhat winning.
We would have learned to sit in the hurt, side by side. It will probably take a while but maybe your song would get us there.
In the meantime I’m listening to it on a train ride downtown, thinking that maybe “Bad Days” aren’t all bad.