Out of Time ...Finale

in #writing3 years ago

“She has a look," I said, "of not altogether belonging to today.”
― Robert Nathan


I'm sitting in the Clinton Tavern with Kath, a girl I rescued from the rain.

She was wandering the streets with a head wound looking dazed and lost so I took her home, fed her her and loaned her some of my ex's clothes.

Dried off and cleaned up, she looks like a movie star and it turns out the club where she wanted to go is the place where she used to sing—but nobody, including Kath, seems to know exactly when that was.

Our waitress seems sympathetic. She can see Kath is upset.

"Maybe you should talk to Roy," she tells us, "he knows everything about the place.”

“Who’s Roy?” I ask.

She points to an old man sitting at the end of the bar nursing a draft beer.

I give her a big tip and watch as she heads back to the bar, taps Roy on the shoulder, and points our way. I smile back at him and raise my glass.

He nods, knowing free beer is coming his way. Within seconds, he’s sitting at our table, smiling at the two of us, gnarled hands cradling a full glass of draft.

“You know, Miss, you look exactly like a girl who used to sing here back in the Thirties—her name was Kitty Madison.”

Kath smiles gently at the old guy. “Is that right?”

“Yeah, I started hanging around here shining shoes outside when I was ten—just turned eighty-eight last week.”

“Happy Birthday,” she whispers. “Hope you have many more.”

“You look so much like her,” he says dreamily, “ bet you can sing too.”

A mischievous sparkle lights her eyes. “Anything special you want to hear?”

His eyes grow moist. “Kitty used to have a signature song.”

She places her hand over his and begins to sing:

You came to me from out of nowhere
You took my heart and found it free
Wonderful dreams, wonderful schemes from nowhere
Made every hour sweet as a flower for me

Tears roll down the old guy’s face. Kath seems concerned. “Are you okay, Roy?”

“You’re her, aren’t you? I don’t know how, but I sure as hell know, nobody else had that waver and those nuances in their voice.”

I look at Kath and she’s transformed. Somehow that vulnerable, little girl lost look is gone and she’s a Siren, pulling every ray of light out of the room and into her soul.

It’s only a moment—a fraction of a second, but Roy sees it too, and gives a tiny moan.

Kath starts to tremble and turns pale. She gets shakily to her feet.

I stand up to steady her, but she shakes me off and wobbles toward the restroom.

“Wait,” she calls out, “I’ll be back.”

I’m alarmed. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

She pauses to nod and smile. I watch her walk away.

I never see her again.

The waitress searches the restroom and the deserted back hall, but no trace of Kath.

I can’t forget that last look—my long drawn-out look returned—part entranced, partly smiling, and then she was gone, out of my life forever, laughter’s glow on her lips.

It seems unjust somehow, and late at night her face often comes back to haunt me. I wonder if she were ever real, and if she were, where the world is hiding her.

I sit through long nights in my condo in the Flatiron building, staring out at city lights. In the background, one of Carla’s scratchy records from the Thirties is playing, and Kitty Madison is singing her song:

You came to me from out of nowhere
You took my heart and found it free
And if someday you should go back to your nowhere,
I’ll wait, hoping you’ll bring your love to me.

And I'm still waiting, hoping she'll find her way back to me.

© 2019, John J Geddes. All rights reserved


  • Out of Nowhere song lyrics by Hyman/green

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