How Do I Stay Gone?

This song began as a poem, written toward the end of a 17-year marriage that I was determined to stick with no matter what. I’d already left twice; the second time I returned to him I swore that the next time it would have to be for good, otherwise I’d stay put.

Toxic relationships present us with a Catch-22: This person is hurting me, but they’re the only one who can heal my hurt. This makes it very, very hard to stay gone for long. But hurting people do it every day. This one’s for them. (Listen here.)

—————————————

The question isn’t “Should I go?”

But “How do I stay gone?”

If I don’t take it with me now,

I just might need it later on.

How do I keep myself away when

Looking back, half down the stair,

I see how derelict and bare

Is my old home without me there?

 

Just over that horizon line

A kiss for every tear,

A smile for every longing gaze,

So why do I stay here?

How do I keep myself away when

Looking back, half down the stair,

I see how derelict and bare

Is my old home without me there?

 

And later, on the telephone,

You’re like a frozen pond,

Cracking, heaving, breaking, tell me,

How do I stay gone?

How do I keep from falling on

The broken glass, the wasted wine,

Of all the things we’ve said and done?

Oh tell me, how do I stay gone?

 

Just over that horizon line

A kiss for every tear,

A smile for every longing gaze,

So why do I stay here?

How do I keep from falling on

The broken glass, the wasted wine,

Of all the things we’ve said and done?

Oh tell me, how do I stay gone?

 

~Music and lyrics by Wanda Waterman

 

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