Life, One Sip at a Tim
Ticket to Ride
©2021 R.G. Ryan
If I live to be, well, older than my present age, I will never understand the ebb and flow of customers. I mean, yesterday my favorite coffee shop looked as if a convention had convened on the premises! The line to order was out the door; the line in the drive-through wrapped around the building; there was nary a table or chair to be found.
That was yesterday.
Well, today was a different matter entirely.
Tables to spare and never more than two people in line at a time to order coffee.
A Beatles anthology was playing delightfully in the background.
Those two guys were amazing songwriters.
McCartney and Lennon.
Song after song seeped out of the overhead speaker system like a misty, soothing balm to delight my ears and stimulate my memory.
While listening to the current selection I couldn’t help but notice that the fifty-ish woman seated at the next table was singing along softly:
Who knows how long I’ve loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime
If you want me to, I will
Her voice faltered, and she began to quietly weep as a melancholy smile played around the corners of her mouth.
She kept singing, but the emotion was so strong she lost control of her voice and eventually could produce no sound at all.
Both hands clasped over her heart she sang silently, “Love you forever, and forever; love you with all my heart,” before losing it completely and allowing her suddenly too-heavy head to fall into waiting hands.
Shoulders shaking with each quiet sob, she presented a pathetic figure.
I had it figured that she had recently lost someone dear–that, perhaps, this had been their song.
A quick shake of the head and she seemed to regain control as the music played on.
Coffee cup held aloft, eyes skyward she said softly, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” and took a long, slow sip.
Wiping her eyes on the sleeves of her tee-shirt she sighed deeply and glanced my way.
I mouthed, “I’m sorry,” she smiled sadly and in return mouthed, “Thank-you.”
The song segued into, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which seemed to lift her spirits a bit as her head, covered by shortly trimmed gray hair, bobbed along in time to the music.
When the chorus came around she sang loudly, and poorly, as if she were the only one in the room, “Can’t buy me love, ev’rybody tells me so, Can’t buy me love, no, no, no, no.“
Something happened then; a healing, if you will, for her previously fallen countenance was being transformed as a slow, but definite glow invaded her previously gray complexion.
“Eleanor Rigby,” was next, and by the time, “She Loves You,” came around we were both singing along with the infectious melody like two crazy participants at a Karaoke contest.
A previously scheduled appointment demanded my attention, forcing a grudging departure.
As I left, “Ticket To Ride” was playing.
“She’s got a ticket to ride…”
And she rode those amazing melodies right out of despair and into a better place.
But isn’t that the nature of great songwriting? To quote the legendary Stevie Wonder, “The writer takes his pen, to write the words again…” And again, and again, and again…and we all get to bask in the creative glory.
“She’s got a ticket to ride…”
And so do we, my friends.
So do we.