“Life is a series of calluses; this is just another layer…”

“When you said you loved me, did you really love me?
Or did the words just spill out like drool on my pillow?
Because I was naked when you said those words
But I felt covered in your whispered worship
And as you passed out fast on my shoulder
I imagined a child
Waiting so sad and still for his mom to arrive

Did she leave you an orphan
In that big brown leather chair?
Said, “ Don’t you move a muscle, kid
I’ll be back in twenty years”
You were scared, you were lonely
But you must’ve been aware
Life is a series of callouses, this is just another layer
So build them up, tough it out, yeah, that’s your skin
Don’t let anyone under there

When you said you needed me, did you really need me?
Or was it just someone? Oh, you’d take anything
Am I first on that list of yours, or am I second, or third?
So who’s that ahead of me, some harlot from Pittsburgh?
Or Detroit, Santa Fe, or San Diego?
I know you’re so alone
But how much affection does one guy really need?

Did you date a lot in high school?
Were you always chasing girls?
Couldn’t you find some young valentine
To steal your heart for good?
Were you content, or contemptible?
Are your memories pleasant?
Or is it a string of endless flings of bitter resentment?
Seems that what you want and what you need doesn’t mean a thing
We’re just here for the taking

When you said you’d hurt me, did you think you hurt me?
Are you really that cocky? Oh, what a heartbreaker!
Well, I’ve got my armor, yeah, I’ve been through some battles before
And I met your old girlfriend, she said, “Baby, don’t bother”
She told me you told her you’d hurt her
Funny, how familiar
So how much of this relationship was rehearsed?

Did you act out as a child?
Were you always crying wolf?
Attention starved, you tried too hard
Just to get someone to look
Now you’re the wolf in second-hand clothing
I’m the sheep in a pleated skirt
It’s an awkward form of payback
But if it works for you it works
It’s that I recognize your off-white lies
Still, I lie beside you, and that’s what really hurts

When you said you’d leave me, well, why haven’t you left me?
What are we still doing here, so desperate for company?
There’s a greyhound on Jackson Street
There’s an airport in Council Bluffs
Hell, there’s a car in the driveway; fifty ways to get lost
But as I hold you and listen to you sleeping
I’m starting to wonder if you really believe
That you’d ever really leave

Would you leave me an orphan
In that big brown leather chair?
The one you’ve lugged around from town to town
For all these years
It’s the trophy of your childhood
Like a shark’s tooth or gator skin boots
But this one holds you prisoner; it holds me prisoner too
What we need to set us free is to let go of each other
Let go of everything

When I said I loved you, it was because I loved you
When I said I needed you, well, I really need you
Yeah, I guess you hurt me
For once you’re a man of your words
Well, guess what? I’m leaving
I can’t be your prisoner

I won’t..”

Inmates – The Good Life

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