This won SounDevotion Competition Round 101!
Everyone likes the way you run the show
Like walking on air, flying wherever you go
Soaring so high through the clouds
Through the people, me on the ground
Floating so elegantly
It always seemed you liked everyone
Everyone liked you, all the nice things you had done
I don’t know why you couldn’t go on
I’ll never understand what got you down
You seemed so pleased with it
I hoped that someday you’ll teach me how to fly
You’ll take my hand and lift me to the sky from down here on the ground
What can bring you down?
What you do is more important than who remembers you
I always thought you were taking care of yourself, you seemed so strong compared to me
I always thought you were doing okay
And I’m sorry I took you for granted
I wish I could talk to you again
This was a hard lyric to write. The “you’ll teach me how to fly” melody and lyric were something I’ve had in mind since the 90s but never completed, because at the time I’d resolved not to write fantasy stuff and had no reality to base the metaphor on.
During that time, and for some time before and after, I had people in my life who I can only compare to what TV Tropes and others call the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, though these people have not always been female, or perky, and there have never been more than two of them in my life at a time. It started with two girls in high school who pretended to be interested in me but never wanted to date, i assume in hindsight that they were having fun teasing me or just didn’t want to see me down in the dumps every day. Each of these people silently exit my life for a number of reasons, usually because they are so busy with their own lives that I can’t keep track of them anymore, though it is partly my own fault for not trying harder to stay in touch. In most cases, I’m not the only one these people try to lift, and that’s okay. It’s what makes them so sociable and likeable.
The “you” character this is sung to is intentionally a mashing of three people in particular who encouraged me to make difficult decisions that turned be into the kind of person I am today. However, these were people from one of those nerdy, introverted cultures and they are really only extroverted around others who share their hobbies. In effect, I was an introvert led by the slightly less introverted as I choose to think of it today. Flying in this song is a metaphor for demonstrating good social graces.
All three of them are people who, after being out of touch for a couple years or longer, I ended up meeting another friend of theirs who told me they had died. I didn’t want to make a laundry list song, listing stories about dead people in the verses, and I didn’t want it to seem too personal, partly because someone who knew one of those three people might accidentally stumble upon the song, and partly to help the song be relatable.
Nowadays, I try to do a better job of keeping up with people from my past.