I Could Use Another

Lyrics by Sara Bareilles

Originally published August 2009.

The familiar scars of the regular table usually soothed weary fingertips after the long and troublesome days. In this lonely corner of the desperate midnight company, one strong but struggling woman could order the obligatory pint and choke it down with the crushing pressure the world had thrown upon her. The tavern was the sort where one can be easily overlooked. Disappear into the woodwork, part of the abused, shadowy corner table. Like a blind reading Braille, her practiced fingers knew every nick, dent, and tiny pain that the table endured. Her ale went down easier now. She gave out less chances. She didn't look at the others around her in that stuffy barroom any more, she preferred the solitude of a room of lost phantom souls.

I could use another cigarette
But don't worry, daddy, I'm not addicted yet
One too many drinks tonight and I miss you
Like you were mine

Her finger flicked tiredly, and the tavern boy, a sandy-haired, dark-eyed, lean young man who clearly wanted to be somewhere else, slid off his tippy barstool behind the counter to wait on the corner-table woman. "Another ale?" he expectantly enquired, already reaching for her almost empty cup. She didn't look up, just, looking ahead, momentarily managing a smile as she nodded. She blinked, heavily, eyelids drooping with the effort of trying so hard so long.

All your stormy words have barely broken
And you sound like thunder though
You've barely spoken
Oh, it looks like rain tonight and thank God
'Cause a clear sky just wouldn't feel right.

He entered her mind again at the slam of the creaky door. Her spine tingled coldly. The boy came back with her cup of sorrow. She downed the cup with a disappointed brow. Her detachment fix wasn't doing its job. "Another," she muttered. The boy went back again, too tired to raise an eyebrow and too smart to disobey anyone who'd been drinking. The gray-black night threatening rain bleakly paralleled her foul mood. Like the coming storm, the little he said would resound like thunder, send the cowardly running, leaving only her, welcoming another scar and another midnight with one too many drinks.

He's taken and leaving
But I keep believing
That he's gonna come round soon
(He'll come round soon I know)

She's sick to death of this unanswered call, this unrewarded effort, she doesn't know what's keeping her going. He's leaving again, as if he was ever with her, but she can't shake the slow suicide of the belief that there's a chance: slim, unexpected, cliché, storybook, chance, that he might finally come around to her. It was foolish, childish, and very naïve to believe such a thing. This knowledge only made it harder on these deplorably routine nights.

You may be my final match
'Cause I chase everything
When you play throw and I play catch

The next cup came, soon sitting on the table's edge. She let out a deep breath, how long would she do this? She knew she would come back to this same spot, order another, the next time she chased after him. She was always the one working for it. She bit her lip, then thanked the boy, dismissively. He was so cruel. To let her fall behind him, tripping her up with empty promises and lost hopes. Sending her through an endless journey that caused her nothing but emptiness.

It never took much to keep me satisfied
But all the bullshit you feed me
You miss me, you need me
This hungry heart will not subside

The hardest part could only be the little bit of her that could still manage to be hopeful kept intoxicating her, and when he would feed her the magic words, 'I miss you' and 'I need you,' and she would again forgive, forget and ready for another try. Another exhausting, terrible attempt at an impossible dream that she could only see as a fool's errand when she was down and alone again.

He's taken and leaving
But I keep believing
That he's gonna come round soon

Another sip, and she's lost again. Her mind a vast ocean of tumultuous and conflicting desires, warnings and that hated love she kept in the quiet harbor of hopeful naivety. Her clenched fist doesn't come down with the frustration she felt when it touched the table. The desperation is at her heart's bolted door again, tearing her down with every moment she was alone. Every moment she wasn't with him.

Until I see him again
I'm staying, believing
That it won't be deceiving
When he's gonna come round

Until he comes back again, assuming, she thought irately, that he did, she would stay where he could find her, believing, as she had no other choice, that the sweet words weren't deceiving and he'd mean it. Lose all ulterior motives and just tell her the honest truths that she couldn't help believing were there inside of him somewhere. Everyone has a silent sincerity, right?

Well I may seem naïve cry as you leave
Like I'm just one more tortured heart
These cracks that I show as I'm watching
You go aren't tearing me apart

When a lone tear drips into her ale, she feels quite ridiculous. Like she was just another one of those desperate girls, blinded by some lost love, blubbering when they were left alone, just like a baby. She didn't want that for herself. She wasn't that girl. She couldn't stand acting like she was. Those cliché tears of a tortured heart may threaten her, but she avoiding letting them fall. There was just no way to get rid of them, those stubborn remnants of those scars that were a stitch away from tearing her apart.

I may seem naïve if I cry as you leave
Like I'm just one more tortured heart
These cracks that I show as I'm watching
You go aren't tearing me apart

She drowned the tear in a heavy swig, a lost strand of hair sticking to the sticky, salty trail that the tear took down her right cheek. Couldn't she just be stronger? Why did she have to always cry, like that damsel in a tower. That was the very dependent, permanence he shied from. She hugged herself, arms crossed and eyes towards the dirty floor. These cracks that he'd made were like the scars in the table. It could still stand, but that didn't mean it wasn't a permanent blow. She wasn't breaking down, but she couldn't escape the past.

The angels said I'd smile today
Well, who needs angels anyway?

Whoever feeds that last bit of hope surely must be blind, she decided, drinking down the last of that cup. How could you support such a venomous force, one that would only promise empty and impossible things, enough to fool you, but not enough to kill it when it's lost. This promise, she'd soon smile, had been welcomed as if it was from an angel, but in a time like this, when she was so low and far gone, back at the beginning again, with full knowledge of what was ahead, she could only think to herself, 'well, who needs angels anyway?'

I could use another cigarette.

The boy was back for the last time, picking up that empty cup, and wondering if she had made it far enough into her melancholy or if she would need another to drown the masochistic muses. "Ye want anything, miss?" he asked.

With a despairing sigh, she replied, "I could use another."