The Very Thought of You
It’s a song that still gives me the heebie-jeebies. When your parents were planning their wedding, your mother decided that I was the person who could sing. A solo. As in, by myself.
She sent me an entire CD of possibilities, all classics by Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Cash and People I Could Never Hope to Emulate, written out in her immaculate hand on the face of the golden disc. But, she made it clear that she really, REALLY wanted me to butcher, I mean sing, Billie Holiday’s The Very Thought of You.
You’ve lived with your mother for a little over a year now, so perhaps you understand how persistent she can be. Yes, Andra. I want you to sing The Very Thought of You. A capella. Outside, with absolutely no acoustical assistance WHATSOEVER. It will be sultry, but people will forget that’s the humidity and the bugs, and they will attribute their warm and fuzzy feelings to you. And, I know it will be GREAT.
I practiced. In multiple attacks of nerves, I forgot the words. I practiced some more. I am mortally afraid of singing in public, unless I am playing a character, and I was almost in tears as we drove from Beaufort to Old Sheldon Church. Blinking my eyes as we pulled into the dirt parking area, I hoped the sawtooth bricks of the ruin and the Spanish moss would somehow sing the song for me, imagined the breeze whistling the tune in the gnarled limbs of the trees.
To this day, I know that whistling was you, circling around in the heavens. Blasting through the crumbling mortar. Rustling the leaves of the live oaks. The very thought of you was everywhere that June afternoon. All of us, we knew it.
I love you.
Is there a song that was supposed to be for one thing but reminds you of something else entirely?
This post is part of the series The Soundtrack of Life. If this is your first visit to the series, please click here for the first installment, click here for the second, click here for the third, click here for the fourth, here for the fifth and here for the sixth. MTM wrote a great guest post, which you can find here. Thanks for your contributions and insights in the comments. They always enrich this blog, especially in a series like this one.