Friday, November 18, 2016

Angelina -- A "Dover Street" Story -- Part Two

Last time:

Angelina -- thin, blonde, and pretty -- was somewhat dramatically summoned to the loft apartment of her 
fiancé, Marty. After playing a recording of Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love" for her, Marty told her the song's history -- that it was inspired by tales of the Nazi death camps -- and that a song's inspiration may or may not always be obvious in the end product.

Then Marty told Angelina, "I want you to hear another song, my new one."

* * * * *

Without another word, Marty launched into a catchy instrumental riff. Angelina wished she had the musical background to describe what he was "doing," but she didn't. She only knew that she liked it.

Then Marty began singing. She'd never had the nerve to tell him that his voice reminded her of Barry Manilow's -- mainly because she wasn't sure if he'd be complimented or offended -- but it quite often did. This time was no exception.

Shuffling through some broken glass, I found a diamond.
Stumbling through a field of weeds, I found a rose.
In with icy things I should stay far away from
I found something warm enough to draw me close.

He paused briefly -- very briefly -- and she realized that his piano playing had improved considerably since last she'd heard it.

You may never know the ways in which you’ve touched me,
'Cause you’re so much more than what you had to be,
So instead of using you, I grew to love you,
And my tears mean I may never set you free.

Marty shifted slightly as he played the song's chorus for the first time.

As I look into your eyes,
I see your pain, and all the lies
That you were told
About that better life
That you never seem to find.

Wow, she thought, what woman can't relate to that line!

If I stooped to label you, then I could judge you.
If I judged you, girl, you’d probably start to cry.
If you started crying, I would feel my heart break.
As it broke, I’d wonder who the hell am I?
I could make a lengthy list of all my problems,
And by 'problems' I mean those that are my fault.
So if ever I should dare to act superior
Know the truth, and take me with a grain of salt.

Here, he repeated the chorus, then began the third verse.

I’d give anything if I could sleep beside you,
But I only have to give you up each night.
I can hope and pray we find a way around this,
Or else nothing’s ever going to make it right.
But reality keeps messing with my dreaming.
So damned many things keep getting in our way.
I’m no optimist, but with some perseverance,
Maybe you and I can work things out someday.

She couldn't recall ever having heard the word "perseverance" in a song before. But Marty never had been one to talk down to his intended audience.

He repeated the chorus again, then once more, only with different inflections. His reworking of the chorus' tune made him reach to the top of his somewhat limited vocal range. Successfully, she was glad to see. Damn, his voice has improved, too, she thought.

Shuffling through some broken glass, I found a diamond, he sang, repeating the first verse.

Stumbling through a field of weeds, I found a rose.
In with icy things I should stay far away from
I found something warm enough to draw me close.

As he'd sung the last line of the song, he'd slowed his pace. And the very last note he played on the piano coincided with his final lyric.

"Damn," she said softly. "What do you call it?"

"It's called 'The Life You Never Find.'* Like it?"

"Baby, that has instantly become my favorite thing you've ever written," she said, truthfully.

"Really? You mean it? Really?"

"Hey, I'm a Scorpio, remember? Don't ask me my honest opinion unless you've got the strength to take it. And baby... I loved it. I thought it was great." His face was unreadable once again. "I mean... shit. You did want my opinion, right?"

"Of course, of course!" he answered, motioning for her to sit beside him on the piano bench. She did so, seating herself on his right.

"Now you can tell me why you played both songs for me," she stated, hoping that such was the case, and that she would finally learn what all this drama was about.

Marty's face clouded.

Angelina continued, "I mean, you weren't simply asking me to compare the two songs, I hope... ?"

"What? You mean, me compare myself to Leonard Cohen? I'd be setting myself up as a pretty big target."

"Don't be too hard on yourself. It's not a case of whose song is better or worse, more like an apples & oranges kinda thing... " Marty nodded, placated. "But... Why did you play both songs for me, baby?"

"Part of it has to do with the teacher in me, I suppose. I wanted to present one example of a song which grew beyond its origins, and then present another."

"So, you're saying that... "

"My song, 'The Life You Never Find,' is about -- or was about -- something much different from what the song may seem to be about to a listener now."

Angelina smirked again. "Mm-hm. This is the part where I'm really hoping you'll just tell me what it 'really' means." She looked at Marty's face. Unreadable again. She sighed. "But you're not going to make it that easy on me, of course."

He smiled, and shook his head. He pointed beyond her, to a piece of paper on the coffee table. She hadn't noticed it whenever Marty had put it there. It was a copy of the lyrics to "The Life You Never Find." As she picked it up, and looked at it closely, he explained, "I knew that after hearing it only once, you wouldn't be likely to have memorized the damned thing, so this should help." Angelina nodded. "So, as before, if you had to guess what the song's about, what would you say?"

("Gina Angelina! Gina Angelina!")

The spotlight was on her again, and not in a good way. She poured herself a third glass of wine. "Umm... Well, to a casual listener, it seems pretty simple. Obvious, even. These two people are in love, but one -- or both! -- of them is married, or has another lover... Anyway, they can't be together full-time." She gulped down half the wine. "How'm I doing so far, Teacher?"

Marty slid closer to her, so he could read his own printed lyrics over her slender shoulder. "Well, what about lines like his comparing her to being a diamond in the broken glass, or a rose in a field of weeds?"

"Maybe she lives in a bad part of town? Or... God, I don't know! Maybe he's comparing her to all the women he dated before her, saying she's so much better?"

He pointed to another lyric, which he read while giving it his own special inflections. "Here, then. 'So instead of using you, I grew to love you?' How about that?"

He was sitting so close to her that it made her uncomfortable... and that was never the way she wanted to feel when Marty was around.

"Marty, take it easy!" Angelina forced a wide smile to belie her uneasiness, and her mild anger. "You're the one who already has all the damned answers, okay?" She emptied her wine glass, and held on to it. "Maybe he's just the kind of guy who'd always used women for sex before, but this one was different, so he fell in love."

"No," he muttered. "No. He's not that kind of guy."

"Well, how the hell would I know that?"

"Because you know the guy. It's me, Angie."

Grrr! she thought, Stick to "Doll!" She hated being called anything but her full name of Angelina -- with the sole exception being when Marty called her "doll," as he so often did -- but she'd never had the heart to tell Marty this whenever he'd called her "Angie" or even "Ange."

She watched as Marty finally finished his very first glass if wine. "So, baby," she asked, "you're not just the guy singing the song, you're actually the guy in the song?"

He nodded. "And... looking at the lyrics in a different, almost specialized way... would you believe me if I told you that the song's about... a guy... who falls in love with a woman who's a prostitute... and a heroin addict?"

Wide-eyed, Angelina didn't even feel the wine glass slip through her fingers and fall. It hit the hardwood floor at just the right angle, so it remarkably didn't break.

Her fiancé -- the man she loved deeply, more than any other in her past -- was telling her... what... exactly?

* * * * *

To be continued... Monday.
Thanks for your time.

*Lyrics to "The Life You Never Find" © David M. Lynch.


  1. haha still rings a bell at my sea. But enjoyed none the less. Ending sure makes one wonder the past as truth behind lyrics begin to rise.

    1. I'm wondering when you had a chance to read it. Oh, well, hope you like it this time around. Ha.

  2. Oh you! I thought we were going to have the conclusion today. Now I have to wait until next week!

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    1. Sorry. Part Three is Monday and Part Four is Wednesday.

  3. Shit. I know I've read this before, but I can't remember how it turns out. Have you ever considered a career as a lyricist?


    1. I wrote a few songs when I was lead singer in a band called Viper.

    2. I remember seeing a photo of you when you were in Viper.

    3. Hard to believe that was back in 1979, 1980!

  4. Is it just me, or is this guy kinda creepy?

    1. I suppose one might think so...

      Wait till next time. Heh.

  5. Well...this is becoming more interesting and maybe he stumbled onto her past...


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