Because of You Lyrics
The first time I heard this song I understood it perfectly. Since that time, however, it has come to my attention that is has been misinterpreted and romanticized to a point which is somewhat nauseating to me. This is a grimy, tough, song of love for the sake of love, of eternal devotion, and eternal tragedy. It is the story of a poor helpless guy who turned out to be a jerk but may have come around in the end, and a sweet, loving girl filled with fear and heartache after loving him.
Allow me to extrapolate. Our story begins on a cheerful sunny afternoon when Lucy and her guy Bob are walking downtown together for an ice cream soda. Imagine downtown Fayetteville, if you would. Well, they are crossing the westbound branch of 54, and are almost to the big mural, when this insanely reckless driver runs the light and mows Bob down. The driver takes off, and is never heard from again. Bob is not dead, contrary to the idea you'd get from Lucy's reaction. Unfortunately, emergency personel from the nearby fire and rescue station cannot reach Bob where he lies bleeding out, because a baker's dozen automobiles collided as a result of the red-light runner, and have completely blocked off 85 and 54 westbound. Since everybody else is running around screaming, Bob suggests from the ground that Lucy stop wailing and get him out of the middle of the road and past the pileup to the rescue station, where he intends to plug his wounds and prepare for life as a paralytic. Lucy drags his bleeding heart (and hers) through the carnage, and eventually, scarred for life, they both arrive at the station, where Bob is stabilized and sent to the hospital in an ambulance, leaving Lucy swooning and blood-stained in the arms of a rather unnatractive fireman, who would much rather be finishing his game of chess.
At this point it would be fair to mention that the pileup resulted in three fatalities, but the rapid response of Fayetteville's fire and rescue department saved several others from death, including Bob.
This, however, is not the end of the story.
Bob was indeed paralyzed permenantly, but managed to recover from his other injuries. Returning home, and unable to continue to work his way through college, he found Lucy always at his bedside. As a matter of course, he would not let her mourn the demise of his life's plans -- including marrying her, since he no longer possessed the means to support a family, or his own body, for that matter. As time passed, Lucy found Bob's sickbed more of a prison than he did. The memories of dragging his broken body through downtown Fayetteville, and looking on as he remembered that day in his nightmares, slowly wore her down until she fell terribly ill.
Lying in her bed at home, she realizes that she had not done anything but watch by Bob's bedside for the past six months. Her classes are all W-F, her acquaintances whisper about her behind her back; her close friends call her on the phone and try to get her to go shopping, and cry when she hangs up on them. Then, one fateful day, as she is almost recovered, Bob neglects to call. Horribly upset and apprehensive, Lucy drives herself over to his house (almost causing a repeat of the hit-and-run incident), only to find that, for once in her life, her girlish assumption that if a a friend neglects to call, every terrible thing imaginable has happened, was correct. Bob has given up the ghost, complications of his spinal injuries leading to a sudden lack of autonomic activity. Lucy is distrought, and joins Bob's mom in weeping on Bob's dad's shoulder.
Two days after the funeral (which was, indeed, touching), as Lucy prepares to write a tearful love song and get over it, Bob's parents deliver a sealed letter Bob wrote for her a few days before he died. The contents are as follows:
I have no more strength in me. My soul has been beaten down by your love for me, and now I must tell you everything so that you will waste no more of your life. I do not love you. I never have. I am sorry! How can I ever hope to hear you forgive me for making you cry as you must be doing now? [here Lucy had to pause for a moment to absorb the horror and weep and blow her nose] The horror you feel has been in my heart since the accident. I know who hit me...her name was Betty, and I broke her heart too. I think she was trying to hit you, not me, but I suppose it was justice that I got it instead. See, I'm a jerk, really. I just have girlfriends to satisfy my pride. Yes! My selfish pride! Now I've been payed for it, and my life is ruined just like all those girls'. Well, there is the truth. But all the other girls were easy to dump, because they didn't really love me either. Betty just cared about her own reputation. Anyway, you were just so great and wonderful and...[here Bob pours on the complements for five pages or so]...and so good at impersonating Elvis, and so wonderful at cooking hamburgers...that I had to tell you. So now you know. I'm sorry. Go, forget about me lying in this bed with my punishment, and live your life! Don't waste any more time on me!
Needless to say, by the time Lucy recovered from this additional shock, she was a changed person, unsure of whether she should still love Bob, for having told the truth, feel sorry for him for having died, or just be mad at him for being a jerk. She revised her song into the form it is in today, and became a famous star. But she always bears the pain of that day...and she still doesn't stray too far from the sidewalk. After all, Betty may still be out there.