Thursday, April 16, 2015

Someone To Watch Over Me

“So what do you want to hear?” Randy’s friendly warm voice calling out above the booze saturated noise that bounced off the walls and vibrated through his living room. Our company holiday party coming to a close over the crackle of stately hunks of wood blistering in the fireplace, the scent of smoke mixed with pine, sweet cream being washed from shallow bowls and the whisper of Cognac or Calvados scented voices. Randy’s feet stretching towards the peddles and fingers lifting the cover on his piano keys, my voice, for once, louder than any of my coworkers, bolting from my chest and lips like a five year old rushing down the stairs on Christmas morning, “Someone to watch over me!” my request, always.  The notes flitting about and sending a hush throughout the rest of our party goers, the soothing stroke of a room being filled with honest and homemade music. The clink of keys that can only be heard when you are standing close enough to the piano to feel the tension of the cords, mostly because every fiber within you is building and descending with each rise and slope of sound.

There’s a somebody I’m longing to see

I hope that he

Turns out to be

Someone to watch…

Over me

I still can’t remember precisely the first time I heard the song. I mean, how old I was, where I was or who was singing it, but I will not ever forget the way my eyes instantly, almost intuitively, filled with tears that silently floated down my little cheeks. Maybe I was just born a Gershwin girl, I’ve Got a Crush On You and They Can’t Take That Away From Me, have been a part of my toe tapping, and smile inducing for as long as I can recall but Someone To Watch Over Me, that one? That one evoked, or stirred something inside me that I’d either never felt before, or was only spoken in tiny remote sentences of deeply broken language that they were completely foreign to my ears, and heart.

I requested the song nearly every holiday party and each time I swayed back and forth to the music my beloved buzzy Randy agreed to play for us, my song, it felt like I had crawled barefooted atop his shoes, his big meaty hands enveloping mine. The way he smiled and led me, “Taste this”, “We’re going to dinner here” the “Sam, I trust you” and, “I’m sending you to France, to learn those wines, that food, those people” his sturdy learned feet lifting me, spinning me. His willing and wanting to teach me, bestow those immeasurable treasures upon me, feeling like a loving hand in the small of my back. 

There’s a somebody I’m longing to see

I hope that he….

Long time readers here know all too well that I was raised without a father. First because of his addiction and then because of his death from that addiction when I was six years old. I can remember his face, it looked, at the time, too painfully like mine. I can recall most definitively his smell, that combination of dirty clothes, marijuana, patchouli, wheat and the rancid stink of cooked drugs and dried blood. He was never unkind or even cruel, not that I remember anyway…and if he was, I’m glad I don’t. A few years ago his brother came looking for me and I was given the gift of replacing my indifference about him in general, and my somewhat hard-skinned,  “he picked drugs over me” attitude with a softer, more compassionate sadness, for what he had been through and lost too. Sure I learned that he was not only fantastically handsome and possessed a sensual core that drove women weak with willingness, (my mother had shared that bit of information hundreds of times. Both in woeful and wistful tones) to forgive, ignore, crave and ultimately care for him, but that he was almost terrifyingly smart, maybe too smart in fact, and my uncle was pretty sure that he suffered with some serious mental illness. 

So yeah, that someone watching over me thing? It was never even really a thing, which is why I’m sure when I let those silky and powerful words slip past my filter and tiny clinched fists, well I’m sure that’s why I cried. I didn’t know what it felt like but I knew I didn’t have it. I had an older brother that was truly awful to me, his father even worse and the men that sadly came in and out of my mother’s life were more like acts of flagellation than any kind of inspiration or aspiration for me. I learned to watch over myself and before long one learns that’s a pretty narrow scope, albeit a safe feeling one.

Won’t you tell him to put on some speed

Follow my lead

Oh how I need…

Been sitting here tonight, crap, this morning now, thinking about how easily I let that stranger of an uncle soothe my ruffled and life permed hair. The way reading words across my screen, my father’s story as told by a brother that loved him, didn’t spark any sort of “How come?!” or “Why didn’t he?!” sort of feeling. How that big empty space where father had been suddenly felt like a little frame that was just in need of a picture. How could thirty plus years of empty be filled so quickly? Glass of sweating Rose in my hand, the cool, crunchy minerals landing at the same time fruity and salty on my palate, Gershwin looping in my head and that was when it hit me.

I’m a little lamb lost in the wood

I know that I could

Always be good

To one who’ll

Watch over me.

The loving wine shop owner that took hold of this silly heart and litmus leaning palate, shoving me, sweetly in a direction that would forever change me.

An importer that let me tuck beneath his wing, made me feel like, in fact called me, a peer and spent years spoiling me rotten with palatable treasures that to this very second I can still smell, taste…feel. Pried open this largely flapping mouth and inspired me to share.

A young brown-skinned squishy thing that came from me, looks oddly like me, pigment aside, that first taught me how to be strong in a way that didn’t involve hurting or shunning others. In a way that allowed me to splay myself wide open and show my tender little bits. His tiny little brown fingers wrapped around mine as I lifted my awkward feet and tried to show him the way. His big feets leading his own way now and to my great honor, they are still very close and I know how watched over I am with each daily kiss upon the top of my head that he plants on me. 

A writer that took the time to encourage and engage me. Made me lose consciousness with pride and inspired me to read my own work and wonder, “Could I be half as good as he tries to make me believe?” which to this day can make me sink my teeth into my lip and scrape at my insides in a way that has me up, still. Wanting to be better. Wanting to please. Craving the idea that he might still be watching and like a little girl dancing on her tippy toes, dreaming of possibilities.

There's a saying old says that love is blind
Still we're often told "seek and ye shall find”
So I'm going to seek a certain lad I've had in mind…

Twenty one years ago, today, I let a very strange, socially awkward, drug affected pale, 21 year old man in horrific clothing lean in and kiss me. Not sure what came over me. Why I let him do it. How I could have even considered it, and no matter how many times I pushed away, tried to sabotage or run from it, that kiss grabbed my tiny fingers, let me step barefooted, and splayed, upon his bigger-than-mine feet, held with a loving death grip to the small of my back and danced me, 10 years ago, today on our 11 year anniversary of that first kiss…my son, now our son’s, 15 year old hand in mine, down the aisle. A man that taught me through example what being a father means. One I admire and find myself, even after all these years, increasingly in awe of. The finest and most loving father any man could hope to be. Proud to know him so you can just imagine how honored I feel to call him my husband.

A fatherless woman loving watched over by some of the most amazingly brilliant, loving, talented and supportive men on the planet. That's how it was so easy to fill that space. The "big empty" as it were, as it turns out, was far from empty. It had been filled by some astoundingly large shoes.

Those tiny cheeks covered in tears so long ago, they, in this very second, feel like more of a test of patience...

I waited


Now I see

There are so many





Thank you.....


Ed H. said...

Damn you, do you have any idea how miserable salty coffee tastes? Note to self: Drink morning coffee before Sam has a chance to make you shed a tear or two into it. Putting that aside, thanks for giving us this post, a post every bit as bittersweet and poignantly haunting as a Gershwin tune.

Romes said...

Sitting on an airplane crying with people wondering WTF as they board and pass me. You know how to make us feel and you touch our hearts someplace deep. That is why you are loved and protected, including by me as best I can from so far away. So... Now I need to find a tissue before take off!

Samantha Dugan said...

Dammit you two, this was meant to be a feel good post. Now I got poor Ed all tummy sick from salted coffee and Jess looking like Typhoid Mary on a jet plane. I'd consider this a total fail but making anyone feel something, with the words I string together, well that is my absolute quest so...sorry?

You are both very real and long time watchers and I stand taller every day because of that, so thank you from the bottom of my goofy heart.

Thomas said...

"The world will pardon my mush, but I got a baby on you".

I will add Someone To Watch Over Me to Walkin' After Midnight to remind me of you every time I play them on my piano.

Samantha Dugan said...

Man, what more can a woman ask for? That inspired an audible "Awe, Thomas" out of me. Thanks for being here my partner in fries. Love you and junk.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Of course I'm still watching you, Gorgeous. You know I love to watch. You?

And you are a supremely gifted writer, Samantha. Your talent astounds me.

I love you!

Samantha Dugan said...

Watching while being watched over is my personal favorite.

You sir have bestowed upon me a power equally as life changing as every other man mentioned here. You gave me a sense of pride and wonder, and a belief in myself and those gifts are immeasurable Love. I have nothing quite as grand to offer but, well I will forever be yours. Like it or not! XOXOXOX

webb said...

Sam, when you open your heart and let it pour out into the keyboard, you capture my heart. Remarkable men, indeed, and all for you. Not such a lost little girl now, and we are all better for it.

Unknown said...

That's truly the most touching love letter I've ever received. Thank you, dear Samantha

Samantha Dugan said...

They are a bunch of amazing men. I am confounded as to how I got so lucky....and I will greedily cherish every second of time. You are always so sweet to visit and leave your voice. Big hugs sent your way too.

Welcome back! I missed you and hope you and Dale had a great trip. I hadn't thought of this quite like a love letter but now that you mention it, it really is. I love all of you so much and you are part of the woman I have become. See what I did there? Kinda made it your fault and junk!

Anonymous said...

This is so wonderful!

Samantha Dugan said...

Very kind of you to say. Thank you!

Miok Rho said...

Happy anniversary, Sam. You touch my heart.

Samantha Dugan said...

So great to see you here. Thank you for the anniversary well wishes, he's less happy now that the Kings are no longer in the rink but, well least he still has me?! Poor fucker....
I adore you and Jim and thank you for stopping by to read me lady.

curtis03 Lewis said...

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