Friday, 19 February 2016

I've never been to Delaware.

So there goes my life...passing by with every exit sign.

Ten years ago, Grace was twelve and walking to school every day from one end of the small town to the other, with hideous thick Clarks clogs on her huge feet and her white iPod classic in hand. She would play a certain song when she...needed it. Not necessarily when she was sad, or when she was happy. Just when it felt right. Same when her mum gave her and her friends a lift to school – her friends might want to listen to the Pussycat Dolls one day, and usually that was fine, but sometimes Grace wanted something with a little more substance...and loveliness.


The song was sent to her via MSN messenger, from a friend, because it was allegedly a song the mop-head skater dude she fancied at the time quite liked. That crush eventually faded – the heart-shaped etchings on the wood of the desk in the English classroom were rubbed away beyond recognition – but the love for the song stayed true. 

It kept her company on train journeys to college. She'd play the album in the car when driving herself home from a friend's house late at night. At uni, listening to it was a relaxing reward when an assignment was finished – and a comforter when she missed home a little too much.
One time, the family were driving along through Surfers Paradise, Australia, late evening possibly after a dinner at a surf club. Grace plugged in and selected the song. As the lights out the car windows blurred and shone, the wide road looming ahead, she looked up at the sky and saw a fairground erected between some buildings, a huge wheel spinning, people crammed in the seats. She felt like she was floating on contentment. True pure happiness. In that moment.

Sometimes I wonder how I will stay strong.
No sleep tonight...I'll keep on driving these dark highway lines.

Then two years ago, in February 2014, Grace finally fulfilled her dream of seeing this man sing live. He was magical. Every song was perfection; Dallas Green just might be one of the few artists who actually sounds better live. Well, not better, just a whole other level of amazing.
However, the song was not played. When leaving the venue, Grace looks up set lists online to see if he just didn't fancy playing it that one night...to discover that, in fact, he never plays that song any more. Or that other one, about the scissors. They're too popular, perhaps. That's the online consensus. How interesting – and heartbreaking. But probably for the best. Grace could not be held responsible for her reaction if she ever got to see it played just a few feet away from her.

She walks the night – How many hearts will die tonight?

He plays it. In Brighton. On February 18th, 2016. The lead up was, well, misleading. He says 'it's about travelling' so she assumes it'll be 'Comin' Home', or maybe even 'Sam Malone'...it's Delaware. 'Hello, I'm in Delaware'. The song.
Somehow Grace's gut knows this is coming. Despite being well and truly adjusted to and okay with the fact that 'he never plays that one, never ever'. She stares at him as he begins playing – slow, deep chords. Once again, misleading. In a gorgeous way. Damn you, Dallas.
As soon as the first line escapes his lips, set as they are in the lovely face – the throat is his vessel for that unreal, beautiful voice, the mouth is its gateway to the world – Grace shuts her eyes, holds a hand up to her mouth and gasps into it. Tears immediately blur her vision and soon explode in the tiniest hottest bursts, trickling down her cheeks elegantly and silently, not unlike in a movie, maybe. For a moment she worries people will see, and almost looks around her, but then realises she mustn't look away from Dallas. Her eyes must stay fixed on his face for every moment of this. Her mind sprawls out happily, feeling everything around her dissolve into the darkness of the dance floor. This moment is for me, she thinks. It was a long time coming, and it's all mine.
It doesn't even occur to her to take out her phone to snap a photo, or film even just a few favourite lines as they're belted out so powerfully – and yet gently – onstage. A few others around are, and have been a fair bit already, but to film right now would be so wrong. You can't capture this feeling, this gorgeousness, in a 15-second iPhone video. This can never be recreated.
Thank you, Dallas. That was the most wonderful surprise.


I will see you again, I will see you again, a long time from now. 

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