Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton) - day 13
This one will be tough. Esoterically, this song takes me to a moment at a bar in Oceanside with Ellen in the late eighties, before she met Justin, as the Clapton classic Wonderful Tonight came on the jukebox and she sang along. That really is my first memory of this song in the zeitgeist of my youth.
Sadly, this song with its weeping guitar and willowy lullaby became a drastically different memory for me in the days following Mary’s tragic and sudden death. There Frank sat with my brother Michael, silent and still in a fog of disbelief, at the bank, clutching a death certificate, awaiting the rep who would assist them with whatever financials one needs to handle during the worst possible moment of their lives, and on the overhead comes this song. I know I’m dramatizing the scene, considering I wasn’t there to witness it myself, but this is how I visualize the moments when I hear this song. The two of them, grown men, silently sobbing and moved beyond words by the events that had just unfolded days before. Just a few weeks back we were all at a wedding and Mary couldn’t have looked lovelier or more alive. How could any of this be actual reality?
So, there you have it. I cannot hear this song the same ever again. This is forever the ballad of Michael and his wife Mary, who looked more radiant than the bride that night just a handful of days before she would leave us with this indelible, unhealable scar of emptiness that now, even 24 years later, still aches. The sad guitar is the sound of my soul when I think of her, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.