“George” — C.Birde, 8/18
The last time I’d seen him was a few years ago. Without warning, expectation ,or fanfare, he had shown up in my drawing class. Just like that – poof – he had strolled into the room, his steps hardly sounding on the gray linoleum tiles, to take a seat at one of the long white tables near me. And he looked great – just as he had in 1970, when Let it Be was first released. Dressed in a neat white suit, his dark hair shaggy about his shoulders, sporting a brushy beard and mustache like a modern-day Jesus. Too afraid to approach, or look the fool, I had told myself it would be rude to so, that the polite and right thing to do would be to let him…well, be.
Self-deception is a terrible thing.
When class had ended, I packed up my things – collected pencils, kneaded eraser, pad; stowed everything away in my bag. I had taken my time, played it casual. But I could see, from the corner of my eye, her. Dressed in flowing fuscia and sunflower-yellow wide-leg pantsuit, with enormous hoop earrings, her hair piled on her head in haphazard fashion. She had approached him unabashedly, laughing and crowing and dramatically swooning. How humble he had been in accepting such adulation, how kind. That might have been me, could have been me. They had left the art room together. I think they went to lunch.
Well, after all these years, he paid another visit. Last night. I didn’t actually see him. But I heard him. Singing – gently, sweetly, earnestly. The chorus of a song he had written post-Fab. Over and over and over. If I heard it wrong – matched a word or syllable to the wrong beat – he immediately began singing from the beginning. At 4:28am, I awoke – all the words in the proper order, the harmony moving like water, like the sea inside my head. I got out of bed, walked down the hall to the bathroom, returned. As soon as my head hit the pillow again, his voice arose. A gentle yearning; an urgent, hopeful plea. When the alarm went off at 6:20am, his singing remained, looping through my mind.
Until it didn’t. I don’t know when his singing stopped. But now, I can’t remember which song he sang to me – over and over.
And I don’t know when he’ll come back.
— C.Birde, 8/18