In my life, I have accumulated a handful of truly happy memories…

I was recently reminded of one of them, and I thought I would write about it:

I used to run the local IT Department for a company that was based in Ireland. One year they decided to hold a Departmental Retreat, and so they flew us to Ireland to meet with our Irish counterparts, and then took all of us up into the mountains of Carlingford, for a week of team-building exercises and similar activities. During the evenings, we would go to pubs, explore the town, or just hang around the common room of the hostel where we were staying.

One night, there were a couple of musicians there, and one of the Irish techs went back to his room and got his guitar to join them. They all played for a while, and then the other musicians left, but he continued playing his guitar, and the rest of us were all sitting around listening to him.

At one point, he started up a melody that was very familiar to me.

“Romeo & Juliet,” I said.

He nodded. “Do you know it?”

I indicated that I did.

“Sing it then,” he suggested with a grin, as he continued to play.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am terribly self-conscious. Not shy exactly, but definitely lacking in confidence, and singing out loud to a group of people simply isn’t the sort of thing I’m likely to ever do. It’s something I might fantasize about in the back of mind, but only if I could do it as someone else.

Several of the others tried to encourage me. Unfortunately, this just made me that much more nervous and self-conscious.

I do love music though and I did know this song, and in spite of everything, I could feel it almost bubbling up inside me, looking for a way out.

Before I even quite realised it was happening, I started singing…

A lovestruck romeo sing a streetsuss serenade
Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made
Find a street light steps out of the shade
Says something like you and me babe how about it?

Juliet says hey it’s romeo you nearly gimme a heart attack
He’s underneath the window she’s singing hey la my boyfriend’s back
You shouldn’t come around here singing up at people like that
Anyway what you gonna do about it?

Juliet the dice was loaded from the start
And I bet and you exploded into my heart
And I forget I forget the movie song
When you gonna realise it was just that the time was wrong juliet?

Come up on different streets they both were streets of shame
Both dirty both mean yes and the dream was just the same
And I dreamed your dream for you and now your dream is real
How can you look at me as if I was just another one of your deals?

When you can fall for chains of silver you can fall for chains of gold
You can fall for pretty strangers and the promises they hold
You promised me everything you promised me thick and thin yeah
Now you just say oh romeo yeah you know I used to have a scene with him

Juliet when we made love you used to cry
Said I love you like the stars above I love you till I die
There’s a place for us you know the movie song
When you gonna realise it was just that the time was wrong juliet?

I can’t do the talk like they talk on the TV
And I can’t do a love song like the way it’s meant to be
I can’t do everything but I’d do anything for you
I can’t do anything except be in love you

And all I do is miss you and the way we used to be
All I do is keep the beat and bad company
All I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhyme
Julie I’d do the stars with you any time

Juliet when we made love you used to cry
You said I love you like the stars above I’ll love you till I die
And there’s a place for us you know the movie song
When you gonna realise it was just that the time was wrong juliet?

A lovestruck romeo sings a streetsuss serenade
Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made
Find a convenient streetlight steps out of the shade
Says something like you and me babe how about it?

I sang the entire song, from start to finish, accompanied by the guitar. I’m pretty sure I stumbled in a few places, but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t about performing. It was just about making music, and it was glorious.

When I was finished, everyone applauded. Whether it was because it was any good or they were just being kind, I don’t know, but that didn’t matter either.

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Time

On 9 August, 1996, in Dark Reflections, by C. Scott Davis

Time. Jump forward. Leap ahead.
Jump, puppet!
Pull the strings.
Reveal,
behind the curtain,
more of my life.
Dance.
Spin for me.
Wheel of Time.
Crushing.
The future is made
on the foundation
of my shattered bones.
Grind
me beneath your heel.
Cast
me high
into the air.
How will I land?
Joy?
Sorrow?
What’s the difference?
Neither lasts.
Nothing lasts.
Only the cruel impact,
the bruising, ripping, bursting
pain of the fall —
only that —
is Eternal.

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