I Want You Around: True Tales of A Relationship in 10 Ramones Songs
By Rachel Rosenberg
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
When we met, I thought that you seemed sullen and you thought that I was a bitch.
It was a cold, shitty grey afternoon.
As all Great Love Stories begin.
I wasn’t dressed up because the part of my brain that is meant to have creative Halloween ideas is underdeveloped. That is what comes of being Jewish with parents so anti-Halloween that we’d have to shut off all the lights in the house and close the blinds so no one would show up looking for candy. I remember lying on the floor, my stomach pressed against the carpet, trying to listen through the window to the sounds of trick or treating.
So you, having had Halloween all your life, definitely had the upper hand and made use of it. You were in the world’s cutest homemade skeleton costume.
We swirled, we Men-in-Black-ed, we scuba-dived.
Rock and Roll High School
Once, during the earliest days, I showed you my high-school-era notebooks. We sat on my bedroom floor, our knees touching. You begged me to show you more but then took one look at my 70s-punk-lyric-collage and the attempted portrait I drew of Jonny Rotten and sighed.
You said, “High-School-You would never have spoken to High-School-Me.”
In the beginning, you expected of me so little.
I Want You Around
I kissed you at an anti-Valentine’s party, which worked against my anti-Valentine beliefs because now February 14th is our anniversary.
I kissed you because you liked Shakespeare and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and when you looked at me I knew you noticed all my weird little meisms – my fake NYC-accent, the fact that when I ate bread I’d tap out the crumbs like I was ashing a cigarette – and not just ‘cause I had big boobs and a mouth like a prison convict.
Your mouth tasted of the red liquorice we’d shared earlier and the smallest tang of spiced rum. Your lips were the perfect amount of soft.
I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
You had to go back to England and I had to stay where I was. My long-distance phone-card became the wind beneath my wings.
What did star-crossed lovers do before Skype? Pre-cell phones?
Write tear-stained letters amid candlelight? Please.
Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World
You and I spent 1 more year in Vancouver, 4 months in Montreal, 3 days in New York and a weekend in Quebec City. Then we went to London, where you’d gotten into medical school. We also went for scattered days to Paris, Barcelona and Edinburgh. Very continental.
Medical school lasts 5 years in the UK. I made it through 2 of them.
I Wanna Be Sedated
I spent nights watching Stephen Fry and Russell Howard while you learned about carpal bones and urinology.
My phone never rang so all I had was you and a room full of British comedians. I’d hug my computer at night like it was my friend, the lifeline I had to friends and family across the ocean.
The KKK Took My Baby Away
I got lost often on cobblestone streets amidst hundred-year-old buildings.
Streets turned in circles and so did I, gridless.
I had no plans or time constraints or any elsewhere to be. And I knew when I got home you’d be waiting, even if it was with your head in a giant Anatomy textbook.
I Want You Around
London is the sort of place where people need to work constantly to live. Medical school is the kind of school where people need to study constantly to pass. I’d come home from working at Selfridges, turn on the TV, and scream: there my place of employment was again: in Love Actually, on the news, in it’s own miniseries staring Jeremy Piven. You’d lie in bed rewatching clips of your favourite musical numbers from Glee.
Our relationship was like a plant that we kept forgetting to water regularly – its leaves were fucking droopy.
Departures is easily the saddest place in the world.
We use our phones to text to each other from opposite sides of security.
Boarding began as we typed, our faces buried in our phones:
Oh! They boarded. I have to go!
I love you! Hurry!