Time Of Our Singing
By Alex Fox from Hackleton
sang together, once, John my love.
we were thirteen, we sang together Happy Birthday to Me in
the classroom. You gripped my right arm and threw me for the bumps.
My skirt rose up to my neck; you decorously covered my embarrassment,
my white cotton knickers. Nobody had ever held my hand before. It
was chewing-gum sticky, football-boot sour-stinking, altogether
sang together too, the next year in the school choir. Rather, I
sang; you croaked. No lion growled in greater pride than you with
your breaking voice, finding registers youd never plumbed
before. That was the beginning of your manhood. Unknown to you Id
been your promised woman then for three long, waiting years.
we became, but divergent, eclectic in our tastes. I tried out the
Bach Choir; you attempted jazz; you fronted a rock foursome; I sang
madrigals for the mayor. We came together for karaoke, carols and
the annual G & S.
the time we had finished at the university, our harmonics were in
unison; we could resolve a cadence, harmonize any dissonance, learn
from a false note. Our bodies worked in harmony too; rapid staccato
followed languorous legato strokings. Wed make love sonata
style exposition, development, recapitulation. Sometimes
we tried it like a concerto one of us doing all the work,
competing for the prize of the virtuoso cadenza. Opera gave us the
giggles; oratorio showed us the solemn truth of our passion. Life
was still progressing steadily through its first movement, youthful
rhythm and energy, allegro ma non troppo.
your voice became husky, I thought youd caught a cold and
couldnt shake it off. Well, really I didnt think much
about it at all. I was far too involved in my own nausea, my heartburn,
my widening waistline. Our tempers quickened like the growing child
inside. We started to keep each other awake at nights, you coughing,
me with my cramping calves. I didnt know that we were both
succouring a parasite, an organism feeding from within.
took the sympathetic pregnancy a bit too far, I thought. When I
showed blood, you spat yours into a handkerchief. When I pushed
and panted to force out the alien tissue, you retched and gagged
to expel yours. We gasped and wheezed in unison. But by then, of
course, you were in the hospital, too.
they call it. How can a small cell cause such harsh cacaphony? They
said you might have six months left.
can do a lot of singing in six months. Its all thats
kept me sane.
a requiem for lost hair thats a really sad one. I sing
it as I stroke your scalp with the baby-soft nylon brush, and the
last, long sad black hairs detach themselves involuntarily from
the agony anthem. Were hearing that a lot at the moment, mostly
at night. There used to be a sense of rallentando, a holding back
of the pace and volume. Recently youve been speeding up, turning
up the sound. The conductors losing control.
theres the libido lamentations. Thats not one we sing
very often. Its better to remember love without sweat, sex
without struggle, passion without relentless recriminations.
may be hoarse and grouchy, my love, but still I'll write you a rhapsody.
You may be pale and skeletal, but Ill sing you my romanza
before you go. Your life-force fades to pianissimo, but our souls
will always sing out together in harmony.
weve made wonderful music and a beautiful child. Little John
will always remember you when he hears the cradle song you composed
for him. Ill hold him in my arms as I sing you that lullaby,
when you begin the slow diminuendo into your final sleep.