“Wake Up Alone,” Amy Winehouse
(Back to Black, 2006)
It was the boy who pulled himself out of my bed (when I lived up on the first crest of Nob Hill and my studio actually did get hot on an April morning), and who, still undressed, reached behind my old vacuum tube stereo cabinet, fished out the audio cable, and plugged his nano in and first played her for me. That apartment’s kitchen floor will always be the one I see in Back to Black. It was there that I was getting so good at taking care of anxious drunks — between the boy I fucked who didn’t do much for me and the married man I couldn’t fuck but who got everything else — that I got close to becoming one myself. Like I’d understand them better if I could keep up with them. The one’s texts got better the longer he was at the bar, and the other would always roll over hard in the morning but couldn’t come (“I’m so dehydrated”). All I figured out was that for the first time in my life I loved drinking, and I loved gin, and being loyal to a gin that one of them liked was a way of expressing desire, and that black dresses will soak up at least two martinis invisibly, and that after a night of writing one of them having the other fuck me on top of that radio cabinet was pretty fantastic (so I slid it across the room to be under the two windows that faced the street, where I could hang head-and-shoulders out over the fire escape while the rest of my body was still inside) and as my body and the time between those two others wore on me I accepted that the whole thing of making sure they got home okay (especially when it was into mine) and making sure I didn’t take too religiously anything they professed when being put into bed (likewise) had become familiar not because I understood them, but because I had been raised under a similar code, had obeyed it for a long time, and now was just teaching myself to love how it made me feel.