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The National: About Today Meaning


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Today you were far away
and I didn't ask you why
What could I say
I was far away
You just walked away
and I just watched you
What could I say

How close am I to losing you

Tonight you just close your eyes
and I just watch you


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    Apr 2nd, 2013 4:33pm report

    I disagree with all of you. To me, this song isn't about a sudden departure. He knows it's coming, hence the constant repetition of the question "how close am I to losing you?". I believe this about knowing that there is something terribly wrong with the relationship; that your partner isn't happy anymore, and neither are you. You're not happy but you still love her but you can't even bring yourself to talk to her, so you both just go on pretending everything is normal... sort of. You don't speak about the problem, or much at all any more. And you kind of just wonder "when will she leave?". Not because you want her to but because you know you've pushed her away and there is this gap between you now. It's a matter of time. So sulk and you fret and you wait. And then she leaves.


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    Oct 18th, 10:31pm report

    My wife has inoperable terminal brain cancer. I heard this on an old playlist for the first time in a long time. Before I would say it was about a relationship ending. I even interpreted it about my son growing up and becoming his own independent man.
    ... but now hearing it after my wife's diagnosis it's about a love one dying. The words are perfect. I had to stop jogging cause I started sobbing. I've been living this song for the last 5 months


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    Dec 3rd, 2016 12:35pm report

    What this song means to me.
    In the last month's of my marriage I knew we had gone past the point of no return and we were holding on to something that we both wished we could fix but didn't know how to, or were unwilling to leave ourselves vulnerable enough enough to try.
    We were not communicating and I could tell she was building a life for when it was over. She was "slipping away" and there was nothing I could say because emotionally, "I was far away".
    It was a messy, hurtful breakup and the "hate" I felt dominated me for a long time. When I heard this song a few years later I cried. I remembered that time rather than the hate and felt able to mourn the loss of the relationship.
    Great song.


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    Jul 5th, 2016 7:10am report

    Ok I'm not trying to put an exact meaning to this song, rather I'm sharing mine because it brings me to tears every time I hear it. When I was young I had a great life. Up until at the age of 6 my parents divorced. To help cope my mother bought me a dog, Bailey. He was a chihuahua and he was my best friend. In the 6th grade he lost his eye which to me made him more special. He got me through many hard times. He got me through hardships with my adoptive father, the dysfunctional relationships my mother had been in, mental and physical abuse from stepfathers, a lot of things I couldn't have gotten through without my companion. He was my best friend. I needed him and he needed me just as much. Due to his lack of an eye he had trouble with depth perception so he acted as my shadow and followed me everywhere I went. Then one day I was with friends, and I was intoxicated. We decided to leave the house and I left my gate unlocked. When we had gotten to our destination I got a phone call from my mother saying my best friend of 10 years had gotten hit by a speeding car, right across the street from my house. I was devastated. I didn't believe it until I got home and saw the blood from the accident stained on the street. For weeks I was depressed and one day while in the shower this song came on. Every lyric he says connected directly to me. I lost my best friend because of my foolishness. I believe in my heart he was only trying to do what he knew best, follow me. He needed me so much that he did what ever he could to find me and because of it he is gone. I didn't know that night that a simple mistake would cost me my best friend. And to this day this song brings me great sorrow and never fails to bring me to tears. All I had to do was lock the gate and because of it I let my best friend slip away. You never know how much you need some one until they're gone.


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    Jan 21st, 2016 1:44pm report

    The only other person that associated this song with someone closs at the brink of death in a hospice or terminal illness thing. The pain of sitting there with your dying father, mother, grandparent, etc. Harsh and powerful, timeless song. Period!


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    Sep 21st, 2015 9:23pm report

    I think this song will mean different things for different people depending on their current situation.

    For me I don't think this refers to a sudden loss at all. I think exactly the opposite. I've been in a marriage with a severely depressed and sometimes suicidal person, he has been emotioanly "far away" for years. The disease has been taking over our lives and relationship for over 3 years. I love him more than anything but the depression has taken over everything. We have both stopped really communicating. We both know we need to talk but don't know how, instead we pretended with small talk "how was your day", like what you have when you're forced to talk to a complete stranger. That's what we have become. Strangers....because of a disease. There is nothing lonelier than sitting with the one you vowed to love forever in complete silence because you don't know who they are anymore or what to say. I can relate to this song from both of our perspectives. We can't pretend forever, at someone point if things continue as is, it will be too late and one of us will "walk away".


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    Sep 15th, 2015 9:09am report

    Most of you are saying she left, cause he did something wrong. I dont think so.
    I think their relationship is over. None of them wants to tell the other but they both know it. For me, the song doesnt say anything about a certain reason. They just werent a "team" anymore. They lost their interests in the other, they didnt share interests anymore. So she was FAR AWAY. Not available or reachable. Theres the line "Hey are you awake? Yeah Im right here. Well can I ask you about today? How far am I to losing you?", which shows exaxtly this. They both go to sleep, but instead of talking about their problems or even just about their day, she just closes her eyes ans goes to sleep. So he asks her. Outright, just the facts, just whats important. Even if he knows the answer he asks, cause maybe that is what will really help them. If they just talk.
    This shouldnt mean, their conversation would lead to a happy end and they love each other again. Maybe it just shows that they dont have to fear the end.
    Thats what makes the song beautiful to me. The mysterium about the beginning and the ending of their relationship.

    And ant this point I just want to add, that I agree with the anonymus, that said: Maybe its not about a tragic lovestory, but about a familiy drama (dead,sickness,etc.) between, son and father, grandpa and grandchild, or even two brothers.(like in the Movie "Warrior" that showed me this beautiful beatiful beautiful song!)


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    Feb 6th, 2015 2:53pm report

    She just left and all he can ever do is watch her walk away. He says anything, she's gone. He leaves too, same thing. He's at her whim. She may be gone a day or forever. The best he can do is to just watch her walk away.


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    Feb 6th, 2015 2:21pm report

    I think when artists write songs they make them where you can understand the base feeling but they don't describe a specific situation because they want the song to reach everybody, not just certain people. The artist themselves might be motivated by something in particular, but it might not be the same for someone else. If you listen to the lyrics, obviously someone left their loved one out in the cold and the reason is unknown, and the love is still there, but the fear and hurt is stronger. This could be about a girlfriend, boyfriend, family member, or even just another friend who turned their back on you and never knowing why. So again, my opinion is that the song can be about whatever pertains to you, but the general meaning and feeling is the same


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    Dec 22nd, 2014 12:21pm report

    I think most if you are stuck on it being a "girl". I view this as its his dad or grandfather. He's probably sick or in hospice. If you've ever lost your father or grandfather and had to see them every day slip in and out, this song is word for word what you feel. I'm not sure it's so much as the loss of a relationship as it is about death, or just missing it.


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    Feb 10th, 2014 2:17pm report

    this song means a lot to me, i had a girl that meant the world to me, we were in a long distance thing for several years because i was in the army. when one visit she drove out to see me and i could tell something was different but i didn't know what to say. she spent several days with me and eventually i asked her what was going on because i felt as if i was losing her. she told me she had cheated on me and that we couldn't be together anymore, that next morning i watched her drive away. i cannot accurately describe the sadness i felt. this song is fantastic and represents to me that moment you realize there is a problem, getting up the courage to ask what is wrong, and wondering if the relationship is going to make it through it.


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    Jun 23rd, 2013 6:31pm report

    To me I see a guy who needed her in a situation. He needed her to be there but they were apart and when he finally came to her she looked at him and she left. Maybe lovr for another or fear of lovibg someone who will never be ther. And the part where he says" I didnt ask y I was far away" means he couldnt do or say anythin to get to her bcuz he knew he had been gone and couldnt replace wat she needed from him. Hes gone afraid of losin her but knows deep down he did. All these interpretations can be tied to urself in some way. This is exactly wat happened to me wh3n I returned from Afghanistan. And MY interpretation.


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    May 9th, 2013 5:05pm report

    He loves her but they both have had a distant relationship, like they have not been communicating and talking and their love is not what it once was. He does not really know how to talk to her or ask her bout things be cuase he feels way distant in the relationship and it's just meaningless to try and talk. He knows they are fading away from each other and he is trying to see when they will depart. But he still loves her and he says "well I'm still here how can I ask you" he still will be there for her and wants to try to fix this but still does not know how to begin and talk to her.
    Sad really, loving someone and wanting the relationship to last but there is something that prevents it. Like looking out side and wanting to go out but a window is in the way and it's preventing you to go out. So you can only watch, and dream of how it could be. THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG IN THE WORLD!


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    Mar 21st, 2013 3:18am report

    This song is deep its about a girl that you had and you cant explain why she went away and dont know why but you feel so close TO LOSING HER.


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    Feb 5th, 2013 2:52pm report

    this is about losing youre girlfriend to some mistake that you did and you now regret.


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    Jan 6th, 2013 1:03pm report

    Someone you love just walks away, without explanation, without reason, one minute they are there, next they are gone.

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