The prompt at Red Dress Club this week was to “Take a character from one of your stories and examine his or her iPod playlist. What 10 songs best describe the character?” I chose to write about one of my characters from a previous post.
She trudged up the stairs to her apartment. The quaint brick-faced building with the red door wasn’t much but it was hers. The lock turned with a loud click and the clinking sound of the keys as they landed on the hall table echoed throughout the empty space. No one greeted her, not even a cat.
She dropped her purse and coat onto a chair and walked into the kitchen. Opening the cupboard door, she took out a wine glass, put it down on the counter and then surveyed her wine rack. She found just what she was looking for – a big, chewy red. After all, this was dinner, right?
The gurgle of the dark liquid filling the glass was deeply satisfying. Closing her eyes, she took a long sip and let its warmth wash over her. She held the glass to the light and was struck by the similarity that the thick, viscous liquid had to the life blood that had seeped from her body. Again. It had happened again. A sob caught in her throat and she drowned it with another swallow of the wine, in some strange way associating this act with the replenishing of that which had drained from her.
She carried her glass into the den and slumped down into the chair in front of her computer. Music. That would help. She would wallow in her misery with those who could relate to her pain. She turned on her computer and opened her music folder, looking for something that would suit her mood.
Hmm, Natalie would understand, wouldn’t she? She double clicked on her selection and sat back to listen to Natalie Merchant’s, My Skin. She knew every word and her heart broke as she sang them.
Take a look at my body
Look at my hands
There’s so much here
That I don’t understand
She certainly didn’t understand her body, how it wouldn’t hold onto the one thing that she truly wanted in this world.
I’m a slow dying flower
Frost killing hour
The sweet turning sour and untouchable
Yes, she felt like she was dying inside. Untouchable.
I need a lullaby
A kiss goodnight
The angel sweet
Love of my life
Oh, I need this
Would she always be alone? Tears streamed down her face as the song ended and she savoured the last long, slow notes of the violin, each swipe of the bow scraping across her heart like a serrated knife.
She sipped her wine for a moment in the silence then sat up to choose her next song. Her eyes settled upon Kris Kristofferson’s, Why Me Lord? She used to think that this song was about him lamenting all the things wrong in his life but when she learned all the words, she realized that he was being grateful for all that he had. She chose it… but with her original perception in mind.
Why me, Lord.
What have I ever done
To deserve even one
Of the pleasures I’ve known?
Kris’s monotone voice filled the room and she was glad that she had invited him to this pity party. When she sang the chorus along with him, all her hurt and anguish poured out with the words.
Lord, help me Jesus
I’ve wasted it, so help me Jesus
I know what I am
But now that I know that I’ve needed you
So help me Jesus
My soul’s in your hands
Try me Lord
If you think there’s a way
I could try to repay all I’ve taken from you
I could show someone else
What I’ve been through myself
on my way back to you
Maybe it was a sign she needed to be more spiritual, more religious. Everything happened for a reason, right? She just didn’t know what the reason would be for her to go through this life so alone.
The song ended and the phone rang. A quick look at the call display told her it was her mother. She really couldn’t deal with that right now. She would, innocently, have some story about something cute that one of her sister’s kids had done. “The baby smiles every time she sees me. She is just so cute!” or “Tristan is hitting the terrible twos and I try hard not to laugh when he turns around and shakes his little finger at me.” She didn’t begrudge her mother this happiness but it was more than she could bear at this moment.
She took another sip of her wine and turned her attention back to her computer. She sobbed her way through Linda Rondstadt’s, I Never Will Marry.
I never will marry
I’ll be no man’s wife
I expect to live single
All the days of my life
Was this to be her life?
And more Natalie Merchant, My Beloved Wife.
You were the love for certain of my life
For 50 years simply my beloved wife
With another love I’ll never lie again
She would never know this.
Tony Braxton, Unbreak my Heart.
Don’t leave me in all this pain
Don’t leave me out in the rain
Come back and bring back my smile.
Come and take these tears away.
More wine, more music.
Bette Midler, Baby Mine.