News of Dolores O’Riordan’s death has picked me up from where I sat on the chilly blue couch here in 2018 and plummeted me back to Eau Claire circa 1993 (or maybe 1994).
Specifically it’s deposited me in that apartment on Gilbert that I shared with Sister #2 and Ben. A place that was often filled with underage skatepunks illegally drinking 40s and playing Legend of Zelda on a 9″ TV while I was off at editing the college newspaper and getting legally drunk on Water Street (as pictured above in a photo by Maarten Daams I swiped from Wikipedia).
I’m not sure what confluence of events led to Ray and I sitting alone in the apartment, something that happened quite rarely back in the day. The alone part, not the hanging out with Ray part. For the record, I just hung out with Ray before Thanksgiving. That friendship is going on 25 years now and even though we go years without seeing each other, whenever we meet up it’s like no time has passed. And every time I see Ray, I retell this story. I’ve told it so much he claims he’s not sure if actually remember the night or just me talking about it.
On that night in 1993 (or 1994), Ray and I were alone in the apartment. I was sprawled on the tator-tot sectional, he was on the floor next to the CD boombox.
“Do you have The Cranberries?” he asked.
“Of course,” I said.
Then we proceeded to lay around and listen to “Linger” on repeat for about 10 hours, or at least it felt like that. I believe we were both sober, but who knows? We were college students.
Ray tried endlessly to explain why he was so obsessed with the song. Why it was the best one on the album. I’m sure it had something to do with the delicious way O’Riordan sings the word “linger” or maybe it was the “I’m such a fool for you line.”
I’m not sure of all the hours and hours I’ve spent with Ray over the years this one sticks so stubbornly in my brain. I don’t exactly remember what we said or what else we might have talked about. I just remember that song over and over, Ray pressing the back button every time it ended.
Maybe it sticks in my head because it was one of those last times when I just laid around lazily discussing a song with a friend. There was no ulterior motive, no hoping he liked me or wondering if I liked him. I wasn’t trying to impress him and there was none of that bullshit “I know more than you do” that happens so often with music fans (especially if one of them is male).
We just had nothing else to do, no worries on our minds, just Delores and the way she said linger.