My Tears Ricochet—Laurie (and Jo)
I know it seems like all of these are about Jo and Laurie—I promise the next one is not, it’s just how the first few songs on the albums fit the characters.
This song connects to the part of the story after Beth dies, when Jo is home alone with her mother. Meg is with John, Amy is in Paris, and Laurie has run away to Europe. I kind of think about it in the point of view of Laurie, because of what he comes home to. Jo is so far in her grief that she resolves to settle for marriage with Laurie, while Laurie has moved on from the hurt that she has caused him—hence the sadistic line, ”my tears ricochet”.
“We get back here, we line up, weeping in a sunlit room”
For a while, everyone had been away from the March house. Laurie and Amy in Europe, Jo in New York, Meg with her family. But, after Beth’s death, they all come back to the house for the funeral—“weeping in a sunlit room”.
“If I’m on fire, you’ll be made of ashes too”
I interpret this line to be describing the fact that two people are so close that they are almost connected emotionally, like if one is upset, the other is too. This is how close Laurie and Jo were, before they both left. They’re still very close now, but there’s a small rift between them. They are also both very all-or-nothing people—if one burns the other one burns too.
“Even on my worst day, did I deserve, babe, all the hell you gave me?”
Jo broke Laurie’s heart, plain and simple. He was definitely angry about it when he went to Europe, as well as just hurt. He was definitely running away when he left, and that’s why he seemed like such a mess.
“Cause I loved you, I swear I loved you, ‘till my dying day”
When Laurie proposed to Jo, he swore she was the only person he’d ever loved. In that moment, he was very all-or-nothing, naive, and immature. He was young and truly believed he would love only her forever. Of course, he does still love her when they reunite, but he acknowledges it’s a different love.
“I didn’t have it in myself to go with grace”
Laurie left and made a mess. He went to Europe and acted a fool. Even Amy pointed out that he needed to mature and stop moping, and when Amy tells you to stop moping you know you’ve done something wrong.
“And if I’m dead to you why are you at the wake?”
This line fits in with the theme of death and funerals, since when Laurie and Amy come home it is for Beth’s funeral. But, it is also when Jo is grieving, which makes her dig up feelings for Laurie in order to cope. Laurie doesn’t know this of course, but if he did he would be appalled.
“Cursing my name, wishing I’d stayed, look at how my tears ricochet”
At first, both Jo and Laurie thought they’d lost each other. Laurie figured Jo hated him—that’s why she left. For those fleeting days, she’s ready to take him back. He would never agree to it, not after Paris.
“We gather stones, never knowing what they’ll mean, some to throw, some to make a diamond ring.”
This line shows how the two characters have grown apart from each other, and how Laurie found love with another.
“You know I didn’t want to have to haunt you, but what a ghostly scene.”
Neither of them wanted what happened between them to end the way it did. But, because both of them left the way they did, there was never any closure. Now, they haunt each others’ memories, and they long for the friendship they once had.
“You wear the same jewels that I gave you as you bury me.”
Here we see the ring again. For some reason, Laurie still wears the ring that Jo gave him, despite her breaking his heart and leaving him in the dust. He seems to have set her behind him (“buried” her), yet he still wears that ring.
“And I can go anywhere I want, anywhere I want, just not home.”
Both Jo and Laurie ran away. Jo felt as if she was losing everyone—Meg to marriage, Laurie to love—and she left home because she felt it was her only option. Laurie went to Europe and went everywhere but back home to see the March family. As we see when he reunites with Amy, none of them had seen much, if any, of him since Jo broke his heart.
“And you can aim for my heart, go for blood, but you would still miss me in your bones.”
No matter how badly Jo hurt Laurie, she always missed him and wanted him back. In the end, she even tried to save that relationship, willing to settle for a marriage she didn’t want because she didn’t want to lose everyone from her childhood.
“And I still talk to you, when I’m screaming at the sky. And when you can’t sleep at night, you hear my stolen lullaby.”
Laurie and Jo will always love each other, but they were not meant to end up together. Their love is deep but it’s immature and romantically one-sided. It hurt both of them to leave, and they will always remember that hurt.
“I didn’t have it in myself to go with grace, and so the battleships will sink beneath the waves.”
Back in strictly Laurie’s POV, we are referencing his running away to Europe again. He left the fight, or whatever we want to call it, up in the air, and now all of the hurt and damage is buried instead of dealt with.
“You had to kill me but it killed you just the same. Cursing my name, wishing I stayed, you turned into your worst fears.”
Jo broke Laurie’s heart, making it clear she never wanted to get married, and would never love him that way. Now, she’s regretting it. She wishes he stayed and she claims that she will marry him, because she’s lonely and she craves being loved. She’s become the very thing she swore she would never be.
“Drunk on this pain, crossing out the good years.”
Jo is grieving, and everyone sees it. Her pain is so bad that she’s making claims she never would have before, making rash decisions about love, and trying to grasp the tiny fragments of her past that she has left. By doing this, she’s simultaneously destroying the person she was during her ”good years”.
“Cursing my name, wishing I’d stay, look at how my tears ricochet”