While the song starts out rather vague, I think all the "doors" and "hallways" she is referring to reflect the way those rock'n'rollers live - going to hotels, wondering which "set of rooms" they get next (enjoy it, Stevie - when I go to a hotel I wonder which half of the bed is mine!) She realizes she will live and die in that kind of lifestyle, but she shores herself up with a quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam A.H.H. xxvii: "'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all" (or, as Stevie says later, to "always be alone.")
In the second verse, I believe she is talking to Lindsey - she probably is referring to there being "more involved" in contributing to the group than one's own agenda and that staying would have been "the right thing to do." Just a guess - of course, we all know Lindsey chose to leave. She admits in the next verse that his leaving was inevitable - she knew that it couldn't last forever, that all the emotional turmoil over time would eventually "take its toll." It DID "tear [them] apart" - first it ended their romantic relationship, then finally even their friendship (although they have since made up). Despite knowing that inevitable conclusion, she is at a loss to explain it, even now in retrospect. No one can understand "the affairs of the heart."
JO and JENSEN speculate:
"One set of doors was the color of honey
One set of doors was pink and gray
"Well, I wonder which set is mine," said she
As she walked down the long hallway"
This is interesting. We always thought this first stanza was about her stay at Betty Ford. Then probably a year ago we found a site about Betty Ford clinic on line where you could see some of the rooms. And ALL of the doors were Pink and Grey. When she was in rehab she must have gone through some pretty tough emotions and feeling like she was going to die in the room she was confined to.
"I thought that there was more involved
Through all that time and all these months
I stopped many times to question you
Well, I told you that it was the right thing to do"
Stevie's relationship with Lindsey, in the studio and out. She was thinking that there was more to them than just the tour or the music. Perhaps she also thought that after all they had been through, that he'd stick around. But, he just left without much notice.
"But I knew that this was just for now
And the time would take its toll upon us all
Well, it would break our hearts
Tear it apart
But no one understood
The affairs of the heart"
She's saying that she knew that they were just being nice to each other for a while when making the album and that their fragile relationship would tear and take its toll eventually. We really think that Stevie thought that if they stayed in it together long enough that they would BE together in the end. But when it did end, she looked back on it and conviced herself that it was doomed.
"Well, it's better to have loved and lost
Than to never have loved at all
(Never have loved, never have loved at all)
Well, it'll break your heart
Tear it apart
But no one understands
(No one understands)
the Affairs of the Heart."
The band, the fame, the music. Everything they wanted, did in the end tear them apart form each other and even in from their selves.'
I find it interesting that uses the colors pink and gray here...
She used them in that interview with the "he'd just as soon I stay home doing laundry." She said, "If Lindsey said the wall was gray, I would be sure it was pink. In order to get a song on the record, I would have to say, 'OK, Lindsey, the wall is gray'." I thought that was an usual choice of colrs then for comparison, and I think that again here. Is there any reference in Tennyson's poem to pink and gray? I am unfamilar with the poem in its entirety.
All the doors and hallways put me in mind right away of hotels, too.
Overall, I think it is mainly about what she was feeling while traveling with Lindsey after the breakup. I'm sure it must have been strange what with all the packing, unpacking, dressing, undressing, interviews, rehearsals, sound checks......all that stuff she had done with him for years, and now there was a wall between them, both literally (hotel room wall) and figuratively (their estrangement). She tells herself it was the right choice to separate from him, but she "questions" him. Hmmm...could this be her questioning him about what he is doing with her songs, or how he is acting towards her? I'm not sure.
"But I knew that this was just for now" makes me wonder..... I have always got the impression that Stevie felt they would get back together after this last major breakup.
Despite the fact that there must have been a fair amount of that casual sex going on, I do think Stevie went to bed alone more times than Lindsey did. I can imagine her lying there, after the show, feeling a little lonely for him in spite of everything, and feeling that it was better to have had that perfect, innocent time before all the hotels and such, than to have never had it at all.
Was this, by any chance, written around the same time as "If Anyone Falls"? Because I get a similar feeling in that song about hotels. IAF seems to be about Stevie being attracted to someone (not Lindsey) that she is hoping can be of comfort to her because she is "dealing with a man, who when away from me stays deep inside my heart (Lindsey)"