Monday, December 15, 2008

MONDAY LYRICS | Full of Grace

This post is dedicated to Elaine and Serene.

We go down memory lane to our fourth year in the university. The local TV station was screening Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was the season that Buffy and Angel consummated their relationship, and in the process, Angel lost his soul. (Long story. It involves a gypsy curse) Without his soul, Angel reverted to his evil vampire self – Angelus, the demon with the angelic face.

Angelus is a sadist who enjoys tormenting his victims before he finishes them off. He was obsessed with Buffy, because he remembers how Buffy made him feel when he still had a soul – he felt human – and the residual feelings repulsed him.

He stalked the slayer and her friends, terrorising them. Eventually he did kill one of Buffy’s friends, Ms Jenny Calendar, who was a gypsy from the clan that laid the curse on Angelus. Yet in spite everything, Buffy still loves Angel; she could not bring herself to fight the monster that wears her lover’s face. It was heart-wrenching, watching the passion play that is the Buffy and Angel love story.

We loved every minute of it.

Every Wednesday evening, Serene, Elaine and I will be in front of our TVs watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sometimes during commercial breaks, either Serene or I will be on the phone with Elaine, and we would discuss the story, or just to say, “Oh my god!” to each other. Because we love the show, and we needed to share it with someone who understands just how great Buffy is.

We were fourth year students in the university. Technically we were adults. We could have used our time more constructively, no doubt. We could have studied more, or we could have spent the time working on our graduating thesis.

It was just more fun to talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The season reaches its climax when Angelus decides he wants to open the gate of hell into this dimension. Angelus’ blood is the key to open the gate of hell, Angelus’ blood is the key to close it. Buffy has to stop Angelus before he can open the gate of hell. Failing that, she will have to close the gate, which will send Angelus to hell in the process.

So Buffy goes off to the dramatic show-down with Angelus. She told herself she was ready, she told herself that there is nothing left of the Angel she loves. Except, unknown to her, Buffy’s friends are elsewhere trying a spell that will return Angel’s soul back to him.

Buffy and Angelus duelled with swords. Right when Buffy was about to end it all, Angel’s soul was returned to his body. It took a moment, but Buffy saw the light of her love in Angel’s eyes. Suddenly there was hope again. He did not remember anything about the few months when he lost his soul, only that it feels like he had not seen Buffy for ages, and he loves her.

But it was too late. The gate of hell is opening behind Angel; there was only one way to end it. So with a kiss, a Judas Kiss, she tells Angel she loves him before stabbing him with her sword. The gate closes, sucking Angel into the hell dimension in the process.

The world was saved. The next day everyone showed up at school, wondering where was Buffy. None of them knew the sacrifice Buffy had to make; she had sent the man she loves to hell. The world was saved yes, but at what personal cost? Alone, with the pain she couldn’t share, Buffy left home. Cue soundtrack.

The producers found the perfect voice to match that closing scene. I was arrested by that song, that startlingly, shimmering voice. Regretfully, I did not know the singer. I only know through that one Buffy song that she sings with a voice full of heartaches: “I know I could love you much better than this”

Later, Serene printed the lyrics to that song. She pinned it up in the Lit Honours room. That day I found out the Buffy song was “Full of Grace”.

That was my introduction to Sarah McLachlan.

The winter here is cold, & bitter
It's chilled us to the bone,
I haven’t seen the sun for weeks,
Too long, too far from home.
I feel just like I’m sinking,
And I claw for solid ground,
I’m pulled down by the undertow,
I never thought I could feel so low,
And oh darkness I feel like letting go.

If all the of the strength and all of the courage,
Come and lift me from this place,
I know I can love you much better than this,
Full of grace,
Full of grace,
My love.

It's better this way, I say,
Having seen this place before,
Where everything we say and do,
Hurts us all the more.
It’s just that we stayed, too long,
In the same old sickly skin,
I’m pulled down by the undertow,
I never thought I could feel so low,
And oh darkness I feel like letting go.
If all of the strength and all of the courage,
Come and lift me from this place,
I know I could love you much better than this,
Full of grace.

I know I can love you much better than this,
It’s better this way.


serene said...

*sniff sniff* Until today, that might be one of my favorite hours of TV ever... I remember calling Elaine after and we were both incoherent with grief :( I saw it again recently on rerun on AXN something or the other other when I was home- it was like the past 10 years never happened and I was 22 again... Pure awesomeness.

And like you, I think "Full of Grace" was perfection for that episode. My heart still clenches a little whenever I hear it.

I remember I was so glad having you and Elaine to blabber my Buffy-worship with. No one else understood... (even today, few still understand)

darkorpheus said...

Serene - *pats* I feel your pain on not having many people get the Buffy-worship.

Right now, not many people get my Battlestar Galactica-worship either.

Heather said...

Oh yeah - I remember that song. Wow - so powerful eh? Love it.

Carl V. Anderson said...

What a fantastic way to be introduced to such a wonderful singer! There are a handful of artists whose voices make me feel enraptured, and Sarah is one of them.

That was a great episode of Buffy, btw.

Anonymous said...

i don't know if i recognise this song... not from the lyrics anyway. will have to look it up on yootoob.

she has a beautiful voice, though!