Author's Note: I reread this a few days ago and suddenly had a new idea for it. Anyways, here's a rewrite of The Song, just for fun. And I realize that you want to know the lyrics, but trust me: it's better to simply imagine them. It makes it all more powerful. Please let me know if the last paragraph is confusing. I had a little bit of trouble conveying the message I wanted to.
It's about me. The most beautiful song in the entire world, known as the greatest love song of our time… It's about me. I'm the girl that he's singing about in that song. It's the song that makes every girl in America cry, all because they never had a boyfriend that sweet and perfect. He was never my boyfriend, but he was once my best friend. Chris Floyd. And he wrote a freaking song about me.
The worst about the whole thing is how it ended. For such a sweet and romantic beginning, Chris really knew how to ruin it. I guess I should start from the beginning: elementary school. It's the classic cliché. I'm the new girl at Pepperidge Elementary in second grade, and I'm getting picked on for my glasses. Chris stands up in front of the whole class, full of kids he'd known and been best friends with since Kindergarten, and he announces that he thinks my glasses are really cool. After that he stopped being friends with those kids, and soon enough it became Chris-and-Katie, the inseparable best friends.
We spent every waking moment together after that. We did homework together, listened to music, or just hung out. Anything, really, just together. We'd play soccer sometimes (my passion) or I'd listen to Chris play on his guitar (his passion). We were pretty much loners. Neither one of us had any real friends besides each other. It was just Katie and Chris, all of the time.
The moment I realized that I was in love with him was a Friday night after we saw the most god-awful movie in the world. We were falling over each other laughing on the way out of the theater and collapsed on a bench. He threw his arm around my shoulder and shook with laughter, wiping his tears from his eyes, and I had the sudden urge to lean over and kiss him. It passed seconds later, but the memory of that scared me to death. I couldn't kiss Chris. He was my best friend.
A week later he brought The Song home for the first time. All day at school I noticed him squirm around, and the minute the bell rang he sprinted to his car and honked the horn at me impatiently. The minute I sat down he started to shout at me.
"Katie! It just hit me! The greatest song ever written! I need to get home, I need my guitar. You can't come over today."
The words surprised me a bit, since we'd never spent an afternoon apart after a school day, and they stung a bit, too. I had just realized my feelings for him, and already it felt like he was slipping away from me. "What's it about?" I asked him, trying not to seem too upset.
"I don't know exactly, I'm still working it all out. I have just a few lines, and this melody has been in my head all day. I actually left myself a voicemail of myself humming it, in case I forgot. I just… I need my guitar!"
He pulled into my street and slammed the breaks on in front of my house. I flew forward, restrained by the seatbelt, but he didn't seem to notice the sudden stop as he drummed his fingers impatiently.
"Okay. Well, call me later if you want some critique," I said awkwardly, and he nodded, looking distracted.
I sat in my room for five hours, not sure of what to do with myself. That's when the call came. "Katie! You have to listen to this kick-ass chord progression. Just listen!" It was really only the outer shell of what became his hit song, most recognizably the chorus of what you know as the greatest song of our times, and a bit of humming out the melody.
A moment later he was finished. "Well?"
"It's a work in progress," I admitted, and I could practically see him shaking his head in impatience.
"I know that, but what do you think of it so far?"
I hesitated. "I really can't tell, Chris. Honestly, it's so sparse." He didn't say anything, and I felt that maybe I'd been a little too harsh. "What's it going to be about?"
"Death," he answered automatically, and I felt myself cringe. "I know, Katie," he said quickly. "I had a great idea though."
"Which is?" The idea of a song about death made me queasy, as my own father had died just two years before from cancer. I had a particular aversion to the topic.
"It's about you!"
"Chris! You're writing a song about me dying?"
"No! No, listen, I can't explain it yet, but there's death, and you're in it. But you're not dead… Hang on, I'm confusing myself now."
"Wait. I don't want you to write a song about me and death."
"Don't worry about it. See, I'm the one who's dead, and I'm watching over you. You'll cry, but in a good way, I think."
He was right. He slaved over this song for weeks, working on it every single day without fail while I tried to work up the courage to tell him how I felt. He never sang the lyrics for me, since he worked on those at home, but the song itself became so ingrained in my head that it followed me everywhere. It had a spooky quality to it, but it was so hauntingly beautiful. I always asked him about the lyrics, and how they were coming, but he said that was done. He just needed to get the melody down. I was still uncomfortable with the words, but I never said anything about it; he was just so excited.
About three months after the idea popped into his head he started working on his other stuff, and soon enough he had an entire set of original songs. He worked through them with me as his critique, and soon enough he decided he was ready to perform them. He got a gig at a local coffee house one night and begged me to stop by for it. I don't know why he felt the need to beg. I wouldn't miss his first performance for the world. Besides, it was the unveiling of the song. The suspense was killing me.
He started out lively, with some songs he'd written the year before, and the people loved him instantly. Chris had such an amazing stage presence. He was so earnest and endearing that you had to love him. Believe me, I knew more than anyone. He was just so real up there.
After he finished nine songs I knew he had finally come to the final number, the one I'd been waiting breathlessly for. There was a crowd in the coffee shop of people who had just been passing through. I was so proud of him, and so happy for his success. There was a man in an expensive black suit was seemed particularly interested in Chris, and he was talking on the phone urgently as his listened to the set.
Chris cleared his throat and gave a little smile before saying genuinely, "Thanks for coming out to listen tonight. I have just one more song for you all, and it's particularly close to my heart." He paused and searched through the crowd before stopping his gaze on me. I felt my heart flutter as he said sweetly, "This one's for my Katie."
The beginning was familiar as he eased into the song, so beautiful and sweet. The notes rang crisply into the silent shop before his voice suddenly rang out, warm and clear.
We all listened in complete silence throughout the entire thing. The room was filled with awe and disbelief, from me included. He had done it. He'd written the most beautiful song of our time. And it was about me.
The lyrics spoke of a man who had just passed on and had found himself in heaven. He was approached by the angels and given the task of choosing just one thing to spend the rest of eternity doing, and he thought only for a moment before smiling and saying he only wanted to watch over his Katie for the rest of her time. When told that once Katie is gone from the earth his consciousness will disappear with her, he does not care. He compares her to the angels surrounding him before he gives up and states that she is too perfect: there is no comparison. Though the angels attempt to dissuade him from making a foolish choice, he remains firm. He only wants to watch only the love of his life, his Katie.
There was a long silence after the final chord rang out, and I saw tears rolling down more than one face in the crowd before I felt my own moist cheeks. The applause which followed was stunning, and as I fought to reach him by the microphone the man in the suit pushed me aside and promptly offered Chris a record deal.
It was all going to work out for us. I could feel it. Chris had just publicly admitted to the entire coffee shop that he was in love with me, and my dreams were finally coming true. But with only a passing hug and a goodbye, Chris was whisked away to discuss a deal that very night, and I was left waiting at my house for him to stop by and talk about what had happened. But when he never showed I felt the panic set in. What if it was just a song? What if it hadn't meant anything at all?
The next morning he called me and shared the good news about his record deal and contract he would be signing as soon as his parents' lawyer looked over it.
"Everything's working out for me, Katie!" he exclaimed, the enthusiasm immense in his voice. I was happy for him, of course, but more than a little scared to even begin to talk about us. Was there even an us?
Chris was whisked away shortly after to become a big star, and sure enough he was one. His album, containing about fifteen songs, was entitled Songs About Katie, and I was suddenly the most popular girl at my school back home in Pepperidge. Who knew little old Katie was so great, they all wondered. I waited every day by the phone for my best friend to call, but once he was gone he never did. I guess that lasting love that seemed so clear in the song really wasn't all that real. They were just words after all.
Chris died about a year after he went big. The autopsy reported that it was due to a drug overdose, and his funeral was packed with sobbing teenage girls who claimed that his music had changed their lives. I was probably one of a dozen people there who had actually known him, but no one knew me. They didn't realize that I was the Katie. I couldn't cry until I was home. Not only had the love of my life broken my heart, but my best friend had deserted me. This was the boy who had been my entire life, who had written the most beautiful love song ever to be written, only to abandon me for fame the moment he could. The day Chris left was the last time I ever saw him, and even fifteen year later the pain doesn't even begin to dull.
The beautiful lyrics haunt me, echoing in my mind every day. Even though he left me behind, Chris can't leave me alone. He is always there, in everything that I see or hear. Maybe hearing the song is an apology. Or maybe it's a reminder. I think it's a little bit of both.