Jul 29, 2009

The Music Lover

She suggests country ballads. He shrugs. What about Kenny Rogers? He picks biscuit crumbs from his beard.

Sinatra, or Elvis, older Elvis? His facial features, not prone to expression, make the slightest move towards the resemblance of a cringe.

Meatloaf then? She puts forward yet another shaggy, overweight singer. Denis bloody Rousos? His shifts his large figure forward, but only to reach the remote.

His CD collection gives her no clue. An almost random compilation of artists, common only by the fact that they are all gifts. Each one revealing something about the giver but not the receiver.
She remembers crying and yearning to so many different ballads over the years. Has he ever felt that passion?

She accuses him of not liking love songs. He answers that he doesn’t not like them. She thinks he never really wanted to get married, he just didn't not want to. Maybe he just doesn’t not love her. She puts this idea to him, but he doesn’t react.

She suddenly realises, after years, that she can't remember seeing him cry or yell or belt out a hearty laugh.

His mother took the children into the city for the day. The trip from Bendigo to Melbourne was a hot, sticky one, made more uncomfortable by her very pregnant bump of her fifth child. Walking through the streets she had the children line up behind her like little ducks, except the youngest, who she pushed in the pram.

Tim was always last in line.

When she turned a corner, heading toward the Grace Bros building, her little ducklings turned. Except Tim. Tim kept waddling straight ahead, oblivious that he was no longer following anyone.
He was Four and he was lost. Lost in the big city, the city filled with strangers, whom he must not speak to. He sat on the nearest bench.

His mother noticed one of her little ducklings was missing when she reached the café. Latter she would claim to be overcome with fear that she would never see him again. She took the remaining ducklings to lunch and afterward made her way to the police station to report him missing.

The police did not find Tim until later that evening when all the shops had closed. A green grocer came across a little boy sitting, waiting on a bench. His mother was very angry because they were late heading back to Bendigo. Tim did not cry.

She asks if he likes any songs of the Carpenters. He says he doesn’t know. She reminds him that he sang Close to You, on their first date. He is quiet and she thinks he won’t remember ever loving her.

She gasps when he jumps out of his chair happily and yells’ “Yes!” Is he so excited to recall their passion? He dances around the living room and hugs her. She smiles. She is loved. She walks out of the room feeling elated, he is hers. Close to You will be their song.

He sits back down in his sofa, still grinning as he watches the horse he backed in a trifecta, being led to the winner’s circle.

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