The silvery raindrops fly out of the darkness of the night, shattering against the pavement in the parking lot lights and spraying out bits of broken dreams. Like mine.
Why did I come to this “celebration?” Mr. Jenkins had just been promoted to Director of marketing and had chosen me to be his secretary. It was supposed to be an honour, but I’d seen the glances shared between the others; I should have known.
The Karaoke machine at Ellard’s was one of those internet-wired ones where you have way too many choices and part of the “fun” was that we would each go up to sing one; I got the “honour” of going first. I chose one of my all-time favourites, an ancient song that my Gran would listen to as a teen. I would sing it as a tribute to her, putting all my heart into singing it well.
As I started singing, the noises started: hoots, jeers and catcalls. I was trying to sing from my heart but my attempts were being totally laughed out, not only by my co-workers but by many of the other bar patrons as well. I didn’t make it through the first verse.
So now I’m standing in front of the bar, losing my tears in the rain and slowly letting my best dress get soaked through.
“Excuse me, miss?”
I turn and miss him at first. He’s barely five feet tall and not that handsome; everything I’d never looked for in a man. He’s holding out a slightly-worn leather coat.
“Would you like my coat? It’s a wild night.”
I consider refusing him, but something in his eyes convinces me he’s not a creep.
“I loved your singing tonight, at least until those hooligans tried to ruin it. I’d love to hear you sing the rest.”
“But what about the orchestra?”
“The original version was one man and one guitar, and Paul won’t even play the ‘wall of sound’ version now. He thought Phil Spector ruined it.”
“You want to sing out here?”
“Would you rather be in there with the Philistines?”
“From the top of verse two; I’ll start, and we can sing it together, okay?”
And he started. His voice was a bit nasal, by no means great, but I could hear the feeling. I joined after the first few bars.
“The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day;
Why leave me standing here
Let me know the way.”
By the end of the verse, I’d forgotten about the rain.
By the end of the song, I was ready to start down a Long and Winding Road of my own.