Come Back To Me

roses

He was stunned – the stranger in front of him looked exactly like the girl he’d been dreaming about. He’d had the dream for weeks now, the same dream each time.  He was sitting on a bus dreamily staring out the window, when he’d see this young girl, maybe eight years old, sitting on her lawn as the bus passed by.  She’d wave to the bus, while mouthing something he couldn’t quite figure out.  For some reason it was important to know what she was saying.  He’d started recognizing the dream once he entered it and started trying to change things. He’d wave back but it didn’t change anything. A few times he tried to lower the window so he could hear her but the window was stubbornly shut and refused to budge. He even tried to get off the bus, but it didn’t work.

The girl was standing in line in front of him at the movie theater with her parents. He couldn’t help staring at her. She said something and her parents laughed. Her dad tousled her short blonde hair before stepping up to the window. “Two adults and one child for Elmer and his Flying Machine,” he said.

He bought tickets for the same movie and followed them into the theater.  He sat in the next row back and a little over, where he could study her face. She was a lively child, joking with her parents until the movie started. Then she fell silent, staring intently at the screen, the moods of the movie reflecting in her face. He was especially touched when a few tears escaped her eyes to drift down her cheeks.

He didn’t watch the movie.  He watched her and thought about what to do. He didn’t want to look like a creep or pedophile or stalker. He had no interest in her, other than that she looked exactly like the girl in his dream.  After the movie was over, he followed them back out into the lobby.

“I have to pee,” the girl said, and darted into the women’s room.  The parents exchanged glances and each went more slowly into the restrooms.  The girl came back out first, without either parent.  He saw his chance.

“Do you know me?” he said to her.

A look of confusion crossed her face. “No,” she said.

“Does a bus go in front of your house each day?” he asked.

She took a step backwards. “um, yes, several do. Why?”

“I am just curious.  Do you wave to the buses?”

“Yes, doesn’t everyone?” she said. Her arms were crossed and she was rocking back and forth on the tips of her toes. She looked behind her for her parents, but they hadn’t come out yet.

“What do you say when the bus goes by? You say something, right?” He broke into a cold sweat.  This was it.  This was the answer that he’d been waiting for.  The answer that had been haunting him.

“I sing,” she said. “I sing a song my grammy taught me.”

“Can you sing it for me?”

She paused. Her parents had come out of the bathrooms and were standing on either side of her.

“Yes,” she said. And began to sing.

Come back to me in my dreaming 
Come back to me once more 
Come with the love light gleaming 
As in the days of yore 
I wonder if you still love me 
And if your heart is still true 
When the spring roses are blooming 
Then I’ll come back to you
Somewhere a heart is breaking 

Calling me back to you 
Memories of loved ones waiting 
Of happy home and you 
Absence makes my heart fonder 
Is it the same with you 
Are you still happy I wonder 
Or do you feel lonesome too

When the sun is sinking 
In the golden west 
And the birds and flowers 
They have gone to rest 
Come tell me that you still love me 
And that your heart is still true 
When the spring roses are blooming 
Then I’ll come back to you

The theater lobby was quiet as she sang in a high pure voice.  When she stopped there was a spattering of applause. Her mother smiled at him and reached down to take her hand.

“Eva is a very special child,” she said. He nodded.

“Thank you Eva,” he said. The family walked past him. Eva gave a little nod as she passed. He walked slowly outside and thought about his wife. They had been drifting further and further apart and he hadn’t known what to do about it. Now he knew. He walked faster and faster towards his car and then began to run.

 

(Postscript: song lyrics are an old Appalachian song called Happy or Lonesome.)

 

 

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One Response to Come Back To Me

  1. Another good one babe

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