"Emily" is the song I wrote for the other woman and yes, that was her name. I didn't use her real name to specifically call her out. Had her name been Margaret I would have changed it to something more singable. Like say, Emily.
A song for me is always like a conversation. If it's a really personal song like this one it is a way of telling on myself. The song gives voice to the emotions I'm feeling but am not really fully aware of. These are the words and feelings that play in the background of my mind on a low but constant loop, and the process of songwriting turns up the volume so I can hear it.
Clearly I had some mixed feelings about Emily. I realized the truth was I wasn't mad at Emily. Hell I didn't marry her. She didn't cheat on me. At worst she cheated on herself by getting involved with a married man. It was clear from the amount of phone calls and messages that she was quite taken with him.
Not surprisingly, the first song that I wrote following the breakup was a lullaby for myself and Emily. The only thing I missed more than my old life in the weeks that followed learning about his affair was sleep. The deep, dreamless kind. I knew after reading some of the emails she had sent my ex that she was hurting in her own way. I thought I was writing a song that spoke sympathetically to our common female experience. When I played it to my friends, their reaction revealed that I was not being quite so nice.
It seems to me that music is a universal method of processing feelings for all of us in break-up territory. This was true for Emily too. Of all the messages she sent my Ex there was one that really stuck out.
It was a song that obviously spoke to her. The gist of it was,"You are Alpha - Omega, your philosophy is king, how do I eat, breath, sleep, etc, without you?".
Of all the gushy emails that she sent him, this should have been the least likely to upset me. But no, I focused in on the terrible song lyrics. I told my ex I was offended on two levels -- first and foremost, as a songwriter. And secondly as a spouse.
It really wasn't very funny at the time but lying in bed that night writing "Emily", I found myself laughing at the situation for the first time.
Another not-so-humorous-in-the-moment-but-fairly-hysterical-with-a-little-dust-off-time realization was that my ex had met Emily while they were working on a production of Nosferatu. Emily's character was a member of the Undead, and spent the play trying to lure my ex to join her on the other side. The irony was lost on me at the time, but now I find the press photos quite amusing. Filed under "Can't make this stuff up." Someone up there must think this is funny.
Three years later, I wish Emily well. As I said in the song, she and I both deserve a man of measure.
Written by Terry Radigan and edited by Natalie Barratt.