The song, 500 miles, always made me sad. It was the perspective of a guy who was far away from home, and getting further by the minute, a guy who either couldn’t or wouldn’t come home.
I remember feeling a tinge of sadness whenever I heard this song. It was a great song to hum, and once it got into your head, it was hard to dislodge it. But one couldn't help but be struck by the regret in the words.
Because he never told us what kept him away from home, I was free to speculate. Was he ashamed of returning home? Had he committed a crime? Taken something that wasn’t his to take, or merely broken someone’s heart?
Why couldn’t he just get into the train and chance it, like the prodigal son did after all options were exhausted?
The mere lack of a shirt on his back and a penny to his name ought not to have prompted him to stay away.
So many questions, and the hero of the song never bothered to clear the air.
Five hundred miles is a long distance, in physical terms, but the resignation in the voice told us that figuratively, he was too far gone to return.
Some distances are just too far to return from.