I love most of Leonard Cohen’s songs, but I recently discovered the tabs for his very famous song Hallelujah. It is one song I could play and comfortably sing along on my ukulele. My voice has a very small range, and it is lower in tone than most female voices, so it is easier to follow on Cohen’s bass rendition.
I admit that I choked a few times while singing it, because now I completely relate that love is not a victory march, not someone who saw the light, it is a cold and broken Hallelujah. My voice sometimes also breaks with the pain of it.
It has proven very difficult so far to bend my crazy heart to reason. The emotional turmoil is somewhat bearable when I have the prospect of seeing him every day, when I know that we are waking up to the same sunshine, or rainstorm, when I hope, that perhaps today we will meet, and put on just a little bit of eyeliner and lipstick in enthusiastic anticipation. It could turn out later that he is busy. He might text me saying that he has all-day meetings, or indeed ask me to join him for coffee. Whatever the outcome, I just live in anticipation of a coffee chat, a text, or a chance meeting (which has never happened apart from the first two times we ever saw each other). Yet even in his almost constant absence, he is present in my heart, as the last thought I close my eyes to when I turn in to sleep, and he is the first person I think about when I open my eyes to sunshine, or to another bout of insomnia.
It is so much more difficult when he is away. We never speak or interact over weekends either, but I learned to manage that absence, especially since we catch up on Monday or late during the week. But when he leaves town, it is torture. He left a few days ago on a family trip, and he will be away on a working trip right after. The day before his departure we had our usual coffee and laughs. It was fun, until it was time to take my leave and say goodbye. My voice broke over “I will miss you”. I felt as if a giant hand was squeezing my heart and a lump formed in my throat. I was close to crying especially when he said sotto voce that he will miss me too. For him this is unusual and it brought tears to my eyes as I left him carrying my heavy heart and the lump in my throat. We never embrace and we hardly even touch in greeting. I know my feelings for him are too combustible for such closeness especially at a moment of goodbye. This time his absence will be measured in days, not even weeks, but I cannot help the disproportionate amount of sadness that envelops me. I always feel keenly the pre-programmed loss of our connection. One day he will leave, or I will leave, I am going to lose him forever perhaps sooner rather than later. How will I handle missing him forever when I cannot even take his absence for a few days?
Love is a cold and broken Hallelujah, indeed.