Now here, close to the Santa Monica Pier, is our spot. I spread open the woolen blanket for us. Sitting down, Natasha pulls the transistor radio out of my pocket and plays with the knob, turning it this way and that. Meanwhile I kneel down next to her and squint to watch the sunset.
All the while I see her in my mind, not the way she is now, but the way she was back then, riding the beast, coming towards me out of a cloud of smoke, debris swirling all around her. I remember her hand as she pulled me up to my feet, saving my life.
Whatever happens to Natasha, that’s the way I’ll bring her back, always.
“Oh! I found it, I found it!” she cries, gleefully now. “Music!”
I take the instrument from her hand and adjust the volume, so it may play for us alone.
You must now hold on to me
I must save the memory
Of our past, so we’ll be there
We’ll be there...
I’ll always believe in you
Cling to me, we’ll be strong anew
In days to come, we’ll be there
We’ll be there...
The song is hopeful and yet, so sad. It stirs something deep inside me, bringing to the surface so many thoughts, so many unanswered questions.
Did Natasha keep my letters, the ones I sent her after she left for New York? In all the years since then I have never seen any of them, which makes me wonder.
What will be left behind, once we are gone, and our actions—forgotten? This question keeps coming back at me, not only because of Natasha’s illness but also because so far, my own contribution to the war effort has been disregarded. A secret it was, and a secret it remained.
Lenny in Dancing with Air
In several volumes of my series, Still Life with Memories, I include lyrics of songs that I wrote, inspired by songs of the era. This scene is towards the end of the book, written in Lenny's voice during the 1970's, as he reflects on their adventures in WWII. As I write, the music plays in my head, over and over, pulling me in.
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