Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

16, May 2011 at 10:39 PM (sad or sorry for myself) (, , )

What have I got to do to make you love me
What have I got to do to make you care
What do I do when lightning strikes me
And I wake to find that you’re not there

What do I do to make you want me
What have I got to do to be heard
What do I say when it’s all over
And sorry seems to be the hardest word

It’s sad, so sad
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd
It’s sad, so sad
Why can’t we talk it over
Always seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word

What do I do to make you love me
What have I got to do to be heard
What do I do when lightning strikes me
What have I got to do
What have I got to do
When sorry seems to be the hardest word?

(Recorded by Elton John, lyrics by Bernie Taupin)

Elton John was my older sister’s favourite singer in the 1970’s, so I grew up with him, and heard this song a lot. As a kid, I always thought he was saying in this song that it is hard for him to say he’s sorry. I have a different interpretation of the song now: I believe he is mourning his partner’s lack of care for him, and begging for an apology he knows he will never get.

This came on the radio once when we were in the car. I wish I could remember when in our relationship that was, but I can’t. When I heard “and it’s getting more and more absurd”, I burst into tears I could not control. It was that word: absurd. I remember feeling deep down in my heart while I listened to this song that we were past there being anything left to hope for. He would never want me, he would never love me. I didn’t know then why he was never sorry toward me, I don’t know now. I have to accept he perhaps never will be. That has been one of the hardest things for me to bear, and so I might never get to that acceptance. It hurts too much.

He asked me why I was crying, I said, “Just listen.” I hoped by listening, he would hear me and how much I wished he wanted and loved me. Like the person in this song, I believed– mistakenly– that if only he wanted and loved me more, that if there was something I could do to make him want and love me, he would treat me better. This is, of course, a fallacy. But still, walking down the street today as this song came to mind, I felt very sad. He told me when his last girlfriend left him (a girl he dated for only a month), he recorded her some songs of his own composition which he sent to her on cd, in hopes of winning her back. I walked along with this song in my head, like a sentimental fool I could imagine him doing the same for me. But in all the two years we were together, he never cared for me as much or in that way… and even though I know this, like a sentimental fool, I thought:

[Abuser’s name removed at his request], if you’re listening now, this is the song I wish I could hear your pretty voice sing for me.

And I sung the song to myself– very, very quietly.

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