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FUN A DAY 2019 #24: Syd

Syd was a composer and experimental guitarist, and my favorite thing about them was their slow, rakish, lopsided grin. We’d bonded over our mutual love of Sleater-Kinney, and their near-black irises a more...

Syd was a composer and experimental guitarist, and my favorite thing about them was their slow, rakish, lopsided grin. We’d bonded over our mutual love of Sleater-Kinney, and their near-black irises always made me think of Corin Tucker singing “Oh you’ve got the darkest eyes” on “One More Hour,” which I knew was a break up song, but I didn’t read anything into it. They were short, only a couple inches taller than me. They ate constantly, and seemed to always be hungry, but they were noticeably slighter than me. They’d shown me a photo of their mom, who had the same slim build in her late forties, and I figured that was just how they were, that that was what people meant when they said things like, “I guess I just have a fast metabolism,” though Syd had never said anything like that, and didn’t seem at all like the kind of person who would say something like that. They and their mom also seemed to have the same lightly tan white skin, dark, full eye brows, and straight, ashy brown hair that would look incredibly chic when it started to turn silver. Syd’s hair was always short, and when it was at its shortest, their friends made jokes about them looking like Justin Bieber, which were funny to me at the time. They wore loose, deliberately plain, simple clothes, and their body language always seemed to be relaxed. When they let their hair get long, they looked androgynous, and not just because they happened to be thin and white and unfeminine, although that was certainly part of it.
They were always ‘down for whatever,’ game for whatever mild shenanigans I could come up with. Or rather, everything felt like shenanigans with them, like smoking and drinking in the basement with your best friends every night during summer break. They liked to hang out, playfully argue about records and bands, and when asked (I of course always asked), talk about their expansive and progressive ideas about recording, performance, art, and curation. They laughed easily, but their laugh was strangely quiet, going from a subtle snort to the sort of silent, shoulders shaking, doubled over hysterics. They were terrible at explaining things, and even worse at telling stories in a way that made sense, but they were great at compliments, and an even better kisser. They made everything feel like fun, but not the kind that felt like pressure to me, or like I had to display a certain kind of exaggerated enthusiasm. I was able to just exist, with Syd.
So I felt it when they’d disappear, and hard. They could be weird and secretive, especially about how they felt, and they could get distant. Sometimes they actually just disappeared, stopped showing up to things, and suddenly became unresponsive. They’d eventually turn up again, only to act like I was nagging them when I asked if they were okay, where they’d been, if there was something I’d done. They could be dismissive in a way that I don’t think they realized reminded me of how the less kind men in my life had treated me. I don’t think they understood that they could be too laid back, and that it actually kind of hurt me. Even after I figured out that their carelessness had a lot less to do with entitlement or privilege and was a lot more about past traumas that they didn’t want to discuss in detail, I couldn’t help but feel hurt by it. We would argue about it, and I would manage to wrangle an apology out of them that wasn’t convincing at all. Without really looking at me they’d flatly say, “I’m sorry.”
I would always feel tempted to say something harsh back, like, “Yes, you are, you’re very sorry,” but I never did, and I don’t think I regret it, because it wouldn’t have accomplished anything. They were actually very consistent, in their unreliability, their guardedness about it, their regret, and their ownership of it. They were honest about it, but because they didn’t know how to hide their issues, and they never judged me for my shortcomings. I didn’t have to be right with them, or perfect, or even good. I could just be me, and Syd always accepted whatever I was.
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8 tracks
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  • 7 months ago