As the song in my head fades out to the last lines, “Where do we go…Where do we go now” my heart swells with emotion. The song had often been one of my favorites, but I was often confused about its meaning; especially the last lines.
Today, the song’s meaning is powerful and profound. I’m not one who believes that poetry or lyrics are relative in meaning, but perhaps it will work for me better if I take liberty here. I just can’t shake this song out of my mind every time I see her face…and I’m not sure why; so in my effort to figure it out, I am writing this.
It was love at first sight when I first laid eyes on her smile—it has been 25 years since that moment, but I can see it clear as if it happened today. I hear Axle sing, “She’s got a smile that it seems to me…reminds me of childhood memories…where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky.” And, just like the song, today I see her now and then, and her face takes me away to that special place; a place where we were both young, looking for someone to love us and take us away from our pain. And, sometimes when I look at her and she looks at me I turn away and she wonders why, and again Axel sings, “…if I stared too long I’d probably break down and cry.”
I do cry sometimes looking at her, because I can’t pull away from her beautiful face—a face that has captivated me for so long. I cry because of the pain we have both felt because we never had our moment to love each other; but now we do. I cry because God has finally answered my teenage request and given me the woman I prayed for. I cry for all the innocents that was and is now lost; but I cry also for the joy we can now fully recognize.
I look at her now and she still has the face that brings me back to my more innocent times. It wasn’t just her beauty—though she was fine beyond measure—there were plenty of beautiful girls around; it was her kindness towards me. She was modest, did not flaunt, and never arrogant. She treated this ugly duckling as a friend and an equal. She was sweet; sweet child o' mine. Sweet love of mine.
I remember her eyes, how they always seemed to sparkle; and I remember her telling me, “It’s because I want to cry.” It was true, she was being hurt by her boyfriend at the time; thus, it is why her eyes looked, “…as if they thought of rain.” One of the worst things I ever saw in my youth was her crying on a bench, it was more than an ounce of pain, and all I could do was accept her request for me to take a seat next to her. I did, and she smiled and we talked of other things.
As Axel continues to sing towards the end of the song, he reminds me of her hair, “Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place where as a child I'd hide, and pray for the thunder and the rain to quietly pass me by.” Her hair was long, curly, and fluffy; just beautiful. In my teenage years, whenever life was difficult, I went to my minds images of her smiling back at me, and I stayed in my memories of her for as long as needed.
For a long time I took the song to mean, that the girl I fell in love with at first sight was never to be mine. That I would always love her from a far. That over the years every time I saw her I would be reminded of the true meaning of love at first sight, and of true beauty, and of my lost innocence. And, the last words of the song use to mean, now that she is gone from me, where do I go to be reminded of those things? Where do I go to hide from the pain in my life?
Now, those words that confused me, “Where do we go? Where do we go now? Where do we go? Sweet child o' mine”, now comfort me. Where do we go now? From this point on; where do we go? I am comforted because I believe what Axel was telling me is, where do we go now that we have each other? For me the answer is, forever.