Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

The Patient Sikh: Part Four—Song Lyrics




This is an excerpt from a novel. For reference read the following posts: 

The Patient Sikh—Part One,

The Patient Sikh: Part Two–The Wonder Years,

The Patient Sikh: Part Three–Sonny


I waited for Sonny at Espresso Royale, right across from my Biology class. What do I like about him again, I keep forgetting? He has a pretty face those cheekbones from heaven, etched into the side of his face. He has a good nose too, it’s nice and slim, not too long, not too short. Who am I, the nose police? What’s wrong with me?

I stood in line waiting for a latte. A man standing behind me told me that I had a tag on the back of my shirt. I was walking around so proud of my new magenta top, and all the while everyone could tell it was only $8.99 from T.J. Maxx.

I see two men embrace like you rarely see men embrace in public. It seems that they may be father and son, the father wearing a maroon baseball cap, about 40 years old and the son with black tennis shoes, maybe around 20. I see you, I want to say. I see you.

I sit down at a table next to the window facing State Street. It seems like the worst blind date in the nation is happening next to me. I assume it’s a blind date because they introduce themselves awkwardly. The man looks like he’s a Hell’s Angel with tattoos and snakes all over his shirt and a scruffy beard. The woman looks like an actual angel wearing a pink cardigan, her hair pulled neatly back into a bun. He says he’s self-employed then they start speaking Spanish.

Sonny walks in with a certain sway in his walk that I find very cool. He wore sunglasses as the sun hit the left side of his face. We were getting together in order to come up with some good song lyrics for him, he was having trouble with creating original music. He found out that I wrote good poetry from a close friend of ours.

I told him I don’t know anything about music, but I could help him with the lyrics. We were originally going to meet at his garage so he could play the guitar and set the words to some music. But I couldn’t make it out there, etc. So we decided to meet here and try to come up with some lyrics and then he could set them to music later.

We said our hellos and started.

I looked at Sonny closely noticing the tiny pores on his skin. “Do you want to write a hit or do you want to write a good song?” I asked.

“Both.” His voice was smooth.

“That’s a tall order,” I replied.

“I’m tall,” he said and we both laughed at his terrible joke.

“Songs are funny,” I said and stared at the purple clock on the wall. “Some songs are so simple like umm…” I thought of a stupid simple song. “Like ‘Lollipop, Lollipop.”

“Why do you think that worked as a song?” he asked.

“I think because the words and the music jived,” I said and looked into his pretty eyes, they were very dark, dark brown, almost black. “But then there’s songs like ‘The Wind Beneath my Wings.’”

“I think I’m more of a Lollipop guy, more than a Bette Midler guy,” he said and swept his hair to the side.

“OK, you want to write a love song?” I asked as if I writing songs was my business.

“Maybe…Yeah, a love song would be good.” He grinned slightly. A woman peeled an orange next to him. A woman with slightly auburn hair. I always wanted hair that color. She was pretty, I wondered if Sonny noticed her.

I could love you, I want to say to him. “How about we start with, ‘I could love you.”

“OK, ‘I could love you,’” he wrote it down on lined paper with a black pen. “’But I don’t’” he said and wrote next to it.

“I could love you but I don’t” I said. “It has a good ring to it.” I looked over at the orange peel the woman put on the table. “How about ‘I will drink your Sangria if you won’t.’” I laughed. “Is that funny or is that poetic?”

“I think it might be poetic, let’s go with it,” he smiled. I made Sonny smile. My songs had all been sung.

We went on like this for hours and came up with some possibly good, possibly cheesy song lyrics:

I could love you but I don’t,

I’ll drink your sangria if you won’t,

You smell like a strawberry daiquiri

I just want you to come sit next to me.


There are those who say

You will fly away

But I know you’ll come here today

And once you are here, you’ll stay


Where are you in the middle of the night?

You mean something to me,

I have to make this right,

Don’t talk like that, let’s not fight. ….etc. etc.


“I don’t think it’s brilliant,” I sighed.

“Maybe it will sound better with music?” he looked up at me sheepishly. I wanted to kiss him right then. Maybe the words will sound better coming out of your mouth. I forgot about the bad kiss with that other guy, the other night. I forgot about everything.

“We should have done this with your guitar,” I sighed again.

“Don’t look so sad, nothing is written in stone, we can work with this.” He took my hand in his as he said this. I think my hand was shaking slightly as he did this.

“O.K.” was all I could muster up to say.

“It’s O.K.” he laughed and held on to my hand. I noticed as I looked down that you could see slight cleavage from my shirt. It was not intentional, but I was happy about that. He seemed like a guy who would be happy about that. I was worried about the bad song because maybe he wouldn’t ask me to help him again. Maybe I wouldn’t give him what he wanted.

It never occurred to me what I wanted.

“Let’s a drink,” he announced and stood up. It was four o’clock in the afternoon but I was too embarrassed to tell him that I never drink in the day.

“Sure,” I said and stood up next to him.

We walked outside in the unseasonably warm October sun. I wanted Sonny to hold my hand again. I wanted his hand in my hand and the hands between us to be one hand.


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