It was around 7:00 pm on a weekday as I entered the house. The hall lights were dimmed & the atmosphere was sombre... so heavy that I knew there'd been a stormy argument very recently. From the kitchen, came the sound of a knife rhythmically slicing through vegetables & hitting the cutting board. The clickety-clack of the computer keyboard could be heard faintly from my folks' bedroom. My strategy in such times was to quietly slink into my room to ensure I was not at the receiving end of any leftover angst. I know you've done that countless number of times too.
The stereo was playing a tape called 'Love at the Movies', a mix of romantic 70's & 80's movie songs. Not being at an age where one is terribly enthused by random people yodelling on about love, pain, loneliness or belonging, I barely paid any attention to the music. Just as I'd crossed the hall toward the passage to my room, the opening bars of this floated forth from the speakers.
For, while I could identify the guitar part of the song, it was the other accompanying sound that reached into me, into the depths of my heart, making it feel heavy and light simultaneously... setting off sparklers in my head, letting me see rich colours pulsing in the dusk. This being a time before the internet was even heard of, I found out whatever I could about the song from the catalogue. And, for the very first time, I read the letters... took in the sound of the word... imagined the tune in my head as I spelt it out - s a x o p h o n e.
Mesmerised. That's what I was. I remember thinking that I finally knew what the soul would sound like.
I was 12 then. At first, thanks to a lack of knowledge and of course convenience, I heard the song again and again... to a point where my mum made me a copy of the tape to ensure the original would stay safe. I was satisfied by just listening to it. A few years later I was watching an episode of the Simpsons... remember the one where Homer is in the hospital and Lisa plays him a song on her saxophone ? At the exact moment she starts playing, I knew.
I had to play it too.
Today is supposed to be the day of my very first saxophone lesson. So much emotion, so many memories, too much, actually... is balanced on possibility.
Song for the moment: Turn the page - Bob Seger