Thursday, January 31, 2008

Singing in the Rain

Sam sat by the window of the #72 crosstown bus which must have just stopped by a school because it was filling up with noisy teenagers humped with overstuffed backpacks listening to thumping ipods, with the volumes set way to high to be healthy. Some talking on cellphones, others chattering about their day--Like you know--ah so it like s-o-o rocked. Sam smiled because he knew the adults of his day must have been shaking their heads and wondering what will become of the English language when he and his friends were talking, wow, crazy, cool man, Dig?

Sam began noticing other passengers in front of him, many were women from downtown offices fashionably dressed, colorful silk scarves, carrying large purses. Most had raincoats or umbrellas. Some carrying cups of Starbucks coffee...probably low fat lattes. One young woman was sitting reading what looked like a romance novel, another either checking her messages or texting on her cell phone. What Sam found amusing was that almost all of them no matter how smartly they were dressed wore trainers like they were about to set out on a marathon as soon as they got off the bus. Sam refered to it as West Coast Chic because you would never see women dressed like this in Montreal.

A young Asian girl was sitting sideways in the seat talking non stop without break or breath. Her backpack pressed into his side but he didn't mind much because he had rested his head against the window and looked out at the grey brown smog through the rain drops running down the window. Even though it was only 4 o'clock the sky it was dark and the lights from the shops and cars reflecting off the wet pavement made it all look like an impressionist painting. He should have waited until after rush hour to go home. Went to a coffee shop or checked out Virgin Records for any new Jazz releases. It's not like he had anyone waiting for him at home.

It would have been 40 years tomorrow. Their Ruby anniversary. Ruby, because they are thought to possess an eterneal inner flame. A symbol for the passion that is still very alive and strong after 40 years. Not that he knew that, he had to look it up on the computer. Beryl would have known this if she were still alive. She knew everyones Birthdays and Anniversaries. Sam used to rely on one of his daughters reminding him that their special day was approaching but now that she's gone he has never failed to remember. Life is strange. For a moment there he had thought that he had caught the scent of her favorite perfume. The perfume he used to buy for her before it was discontinued and was no longer available. Quelque fleurs, he can smell it like it was next to him now. He closed his eyes and wrapped himself in her scent.

Love is like a burning ember and only memories remain. That's from a song his father used to whistle on days like this. And through the ages I remember Blue eyes crying in the rain.
Sam remembered one time this song came on the radio when his mother was at the stove making supper and his father and him were sitting at the table fixing the toaster. He remembered how his father got up and took his mother in his arms and began waltzing around the kitchen. She in her apron with the wooden spoon still in her hand and he in his coveralls. She laughed and complained that dinner would be ruined but Sam knew that she didn't want to stop.
What was the rest of that song...that wasn't the first verse. How did it go?? In the moonlight glow I, no it was twilight.
In the twilight glow I see her, blue eyes crying in the rain.

What was next? When we kissed goodbye we, no! when we kissed good bye and parted, I knew we would.... never meet again. That's it that's the first verse.

Then came love is like a dying ember. The last verse was Someday when we meet in heaven and only memories remain.
No! that's not it... when we meet up yonder not in heaven. We'll stroll hand in hand again. In the the land that knows no parting, for blue eyes crying in the rain.
That's it that's the whole song!

In the twilight glow I see her

Blue eyes crying in the rain

When we kissed goodbye and parted

I knew we'd never meet again.

Love is like a dying ember

And only memories remain

And through the ages I'll remember

Blue eyes crying in the rain.

Someday when we meet up yonder

We'll stroll hand in hand again

In the land that knows no parting

for blue eyes crying in the rain.

Sam wasn't sure if it was the awareness of the ghostly silence or the salty taste of a tear that brought him back in to the moment but he awoke with a start to clapping and giggling of young girls around him. Everyone on the bus was looking directly at him. Someone touched his shoulder and when he turned he was looking at an old lady maybe ten years his senior, wearing the perfume he thought he only imagined.
Thank you for those wonderful memories. That song always brings me back in time. I had forgotten about it for years. I missed my stop but it doesn't matter, I had to hear it all.
Sam could feel the heat of embarrassment rising up within him and he imagined that he probably looked like a ripe tomato about now, then to his horror he seen several passengers with cellphone cameras pointed at him.
Great!!! Now his daughters are going to see their father make a fool of himself on youtube or facebook. 'Old Guy singing on the bus.'


gautami tripathy February 1, 2008 at 3:26 AM  

Well, I liked the youtube/facebook bit. You bet!!


This made such a good read.

anthonynorth February 1, 2008 at 9:52 AM  

Good story. And I suspect many have witnessed such a scene for real.

Square1 February 1, 2008 at 10:04 AM  

Ah but to me that brief humiliation, no matter how immortalized it might become, would be forever worth the joy it brought the old woman, and the chance to smell the perfume thought lost forever.

paisley February 1, 2008 at 11:28 AM  

oh that was sooooo good... i love the addition of all the lyrics,, the sentiment and the comedy,,, all rolled into one perfect little bundle.....

pia February 1, 2008 at 2:04 PM  

That was sweet, funny and I enjoyed it very much

pjd February 1, 2008 at 2:44 PM  

Terrific, especially the generational differences as mentioned by others and the potential title for the YouTube post.

Mine also involves Singin' in the Rain, though not literally (my character sings the song :)


keith hillman February 2, 2008 at 10:03 AM  

What a great read! Everything seemed so real because you included so much detail.Loved it!