Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Sands Of Time

It had been a wedding gift, this record, and  appropriately, the song's title was The Sands Of Time. The Perry Martin Orchestra performed it beautifully, and once or twice, they even danced to it as if still on the beach where they were married.
When he was at work, she would put the record on the old Victrola and make up lyrics for the melody as she did the breakfast dishes, washed the kitchen window, constructed dreams..
At first, it made her believe, later, it made her remember a happiness that was or wasn't real and that's the great thing about a song you write the lyrics to.
At night, when he came home from work, she tried to teach him the lyrics, show him how well the words defined their melody. She would sit upon the arm of his chair of refuge and sing to him while he smiled up at her and tried to sing along.
"What do you think?" she would fairly burst. "Isn't it perfect? isn't it us?"
As she squeezed his arm tenderly and swooned to the music, he would smile and hum along as she sang.
Music changes as time rolls by, as does everything. Perry Martin became Elvis Presley and then The Beatles, then the Stones, Dylan, Zeppelin, Madonna, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, but still they held onto that old Victrola, that first record, and the words she gave it.
She taught it to their children, to her family, to his, their friends, and anyone else who would listen.
And all this time he smiled and hummed along, but in truth, he never was crazy about the song, never really got it, and the smiles grew forced as the humming turned to gravel.
It's funny how she held to that song like a flattened rose in a blank album. If she did tire of it, she never let it show but rather, sang it all the louder and played it even the more.
Have you ever heard of the Perry Martin Orchestra? Didn't think so. It was a rare recording, and in fact, only one copy existed.
One day, as she washed the morning dishes and watched the birds sail before the window, the record skipped and she nearly panicked. Pausing mid-wipe, her face froze statue as the same part of the song played over and over. It was the place where her words sang "we will love beyond the sands of time"
and as she sang the verse over and over, the tears hidden deep within denial sprang forth and the birds flew away as if knowing.
Somewhere far away, far beyond miles and her reach, his sprang forth as well as if on cue.
That night, on the arm of that old chair, she pleaded as the song spun in the worn groove.
"Can you fix it?" her desperation asked. "Can we replace it?"
Hanging his head and shaking it, he listened as she sang the verse over and over.
There is a place where a battle must be faced, cannot be ignored, and truth must be shaken from the limbs like fruit gone bad. Perhaps the tree must come down. Maybe the only victory to be had is in a surrender long overdue. As she cried and sang all the louder, he knew they had come to this place and rising from his worn out chair of refuge, he took the long walk without smile or hum, raised the needle, lifted the record, and broke it in two.
His heart broke, same as her's, the only variance being cause.
She wanted to sing that song forever.
He never did sing it, but hummed along far longer than he should've, lying to her heart cruelly, far beyond the sands of their time.