This is the last day of our acquaintance
I will meet you later in somebody’s office
The opening lyrics to Sinead O’Connor’s “The Last Day of Our Acquaintance” enter briskly, as a cold autumn wind through a poorly-sealed window frame. Clinical, mechanical, and void of all but exhaustion, O’Connor aptly reflects and envelopes all the emotion that idles in the simple phrase ‘I’m done’.
We’ve all been to both of these places: listening to soaring ‘my heart is broken’ songs, as well as heartbreak itself.
We’ve rarely, however, been granted witness to the penmanship that ensues after the wave of unbridled hurt has crested.
On 1990’s I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, O’Connor’s triumphant sophomoric effort, “The Last Day of Our Acquaintance” has sat somewhat motionless in the shadow of the monumental “Nothing Compares 2U”, which O’Connor accepted from Prince after ‘The Artist’ couldn’t get it quite right. O’Connor, on the other hand, can seem to do no wrong – be it on her career-defining single, or any other track on the album.
Along the straight, evenly-paved road, Sinead (perhaps unknowingly) drops telltale signs of impending demise, including micro clues often observed by those with cluster B personality disorders, claiming
I know you don’t love me anymore
You used to hold my hand when the plane took off
One could argue that such subtleties are not beacons of subsided love, and could be chalked up to any number of benign factors.
Perhaps O’Connor being admittedly hard to love has contributed to her ability to convey such complexities in a digestible format. We aren’t privy to that information. We are privy, however, to the simply sad, clinical process of legal separation, of day-old love set out to pasture, and we are privy to the ironic, full-circle nature of love’s paper trail, beginning and ending with signatures on legal documents.
Sinead O’Connor would legalize a total of four relationships, including a 16-day marriage to a psychotherapist. Plagued by loss (her son Shane died by suicide last year), fame, and mental illness, most close to her – either literally or vicariously – likely knew about her high-risk status.
Sadly, the world would experience the last day of their acquaintance with Sinead on July 26, 2023. Certainly institutional failure abounds, but whatever her loss lacks in surprise, it carries in head-shaking sadness.