Bruce McCulloch - Vigil lyrics
Vigil. I don't know what a vigil is. I have some idea, though, that it involves candles. The lighting of candles, the making and breaking of eye contact, sad shrugs and words that aren't like "Hmmm," "Ahhh." I've never been to a vigil. I've never been to a funeral. Well, I've been to some bad parties that people said reminded them of funerals. The closest thing to a funeral? Three turtles I flushed down the toilet in 1973. A vigil isn't even a funeral. It's like going to a drive-in with no screen. And I've never been at a party that people said reminded them of a vigil.
We all get through life scathed and unscathed in our own ways. Growing up, I owned four Toyotas that were in a total of fifteen crashes, but never a vigil.
The bluest skies I've ever seen weren't in Seattle. The greenest hills I've ever seen weren't in Seattle. When I arrived in that coastal town there was only shades of grey. I arrived in Seattle ninety minutes prior to the vigil. I hate to admit it, but upon arrival, for a selfish, confused instant, I thought the attention might have been about me. The same way I felt when I saw those kids who lined the hotel lobby in Winnipeg. I thought to myself, "Oh great. I've gotta go through a gauntlet of hockey-jacketed teens, holding pens, screaming "My pen, my pen." But they were not there for me. They did not return my fake smile. They were there for the "King". The "King" and the big L.A. Kings bus that pulled up minutes after our van. The hockey players got out, suits on, broken noses, farm-born millionaires. And last came Gretzky – little, long hair, alone and powerful… like Mother Theresa must have looked in her thirties. Our Seattle van driver told me a good place to eat steak and that he'd driven "Kurt" on New Year's Eve and he was really messed up. But they always say that. Whoever they drove, anywhere, ever, was really messed up, which really means they were probably just quiet or thinking about something. I could just see two girls in a Seattle suburb, if Seattle has suburbs, I didn't know, I had just arrived. I hadn't even eaten my steak yet. I could just see two girls in a Seattle suburb. "Well, what are you going to wear to the vigil?" "Well, black of course." "Well, what would he want me to wear?" That's the point. In my room, I just stared into the distance. Okay, alright… I watched T.V. I was torn between my own sleep and going down to the square. I just didn't know if I was in the mood to see beautiful seventeen year old children in dreadlocks, white hippies celebrating dark death.
Cynicism is my whiskey. And I had a few. So, are the other two guys gonna get a new singer? Robert Plant could use a job. Would the square be full if he had simply slipped on a small hotel soap, gargled his tongue, and gone? What if it wasn't a beautiful, blue-eyed, black-hearted, blonde boy? What if it had been someone like Aaron Neville?
Don't get me wrong. Someone sad and crazy had done something hideous and left a lot of stronger people behind. There was not a lot else to be said.
And the next day, I went for a run along the ocean… Well, along an asphalt path along the ocean. And twenty minutes in, I stopped beside some wood, you know, planks, that someone had made to spell "Bye, Kurt." I took a breath, looked up at Seattle and wondered what didn't he see. And if I've ever been to a vigil, I guess that was it.