Every night I lying in bed holding you close in my dreams
The song begins to play on my iPod, it’s melody, the drum, the bass, guitar, everything about it takes me back to what seems like so long ago, a lifetime ago, twenty eight years to be exact. I close my eyes escape in the memory.
My feet are propped up on his dashboard; his hand is resting on my knee. The wind is blowing through my hair as I stare out the window at the moon; it was bright, beautiful, almost full. The stars over the gulf seem to go on forever, millions to wish on, if only I had.
I am lost in the beauty of the night sky, for the first time since January I am feeling comfortable, unafraid around a man. Not thinking, I start to sing along with the Eagles. I feel his hand slide off my leg, out of the corner of my eye I see him reach for the dashboard. The volume of the chorus becomes softer. The realization hits me that I was singing out loud and he was listening. Mortified I stopped and immediately apologize. I explained to him it was a bad habit.
"Oh my God I can't believe I was singing!"
He chuckled at my quiet exclamation. I buried my face in my hands/knees out of embarrassment. I felt his hand rub my back, then push my hair back, trying to get me to relax, look up at him. I was praying he would simply turn the radio back up so we could both forget my singing, my embarrassment. Pretend like it never happened. I was surprised when instead he questioned me.
“Bad habit, no it’s a good one. Why do you sing so quietly? Why are you holding back?”
I can still hear his voice, the confusion as he was trying to understand why I was so embarrassed, almost ashamed that I was singing. When I didn't answer, I felt the car pull off the road and stop. With my head still buried in my hands I asked, "Why did we stop?"
"Just tell me why and I will drive."
When I finally looked up he was patiently staring at me. Our eyes met and he smiled. He raised his eyebrows, silently letting me know he was waiting for a response. I explained to him, when I was younger whenever I sang along with the radio or a record it drove my mom crazy. I was constantly scolded told to stop. My dad didn’t mind but to my mom my singing was annoying. Even my sister on a few occasions told me my constant singing with the radio bugged her. From then on I tried to tell myself not to sing with the radio. I confessed I didn’t realize I was singing, usually I only sing when I am driving alone ... then he interrupted.
“When you feel safe”
“I guess so” I answered, amazed at his correct choice of words.
His eyes lit up, his smile transformed into a huge grin, “I am an officer and a gentleman. You will always be safe with me!”
I shook my head. I couldn't believe how lame his line was, but I knew he was trying to get me to relax, laugh. I teased him, “That was really bad!”
He started laughing, said “No this would be bad!”
He put the car in gear, pulled back on the road.He reached down and turned up the radio. Cyndi Lauper’s 'Time after Time' was playing and he began to sing along loudly. He was a bit off key. I couldn't tell if he was singing off key on propose, to make me feel better or if that was normally how he sang. It didn't matter, he proudly and sweetly serenaded me.
If you're lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
He reached over and poked me, then continued singing.
If you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
Time after time
He jabbed me harder, “You know the words, come on. Let it loose. I don’t sing solo”
He playfully pushed me. I finally joined in.
After my picture fades and darkness has
Turned to gray
Watching through windows you're wondering
If I'm OK
Secrets stolen from deep inside
The drum beats out of time
You said go slow
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds
Time after Time.
When the song ended, he turned the radio back down. Then he asked, “Promise me you will sing more, sing loudly and never hide your voice. “
I shyly smiled, confused as to why he would want me to make him such a promise. I answered hesitantly, “Okay I promise.”
He rubbed my leg, turned the volume back up. The rest of the ride to my condo we sang along with the radio, loud, unabashedly and many times off key.
It was heaven, just the two of us, singing, laughing, with the moonlight, the night wind and the stars above as our audience.
March 15, 1984 was a great night. One I will always remember and cherish!