There’s something about this song written by Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern that I have always loved. It reminds me of how one person can change your mood, brighten up your day. I love this style of music. It’s classy. It’s romantic. And there was no auto-tune. People had to actually sing and play it…live…no edits…and in one long take. I am incredibly guilty of using edits and ProTools and admire all the musicians now and of that era who worked their craft.
Inspired by the song, I created a little flash fiction this Friday. ENJOY!
THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT
I STOOD OUTSIDE his door, the one I’d passed through so many times without thought, knowing my friend would be inside, playing guitar or listening to vinyl or reading poetry—cuz he was like that. This time I’d be going in there and all his stuff would be there, the things I’d taken for granted like the pictures on the walls of us doing stupid shit at college together, of us at his first solo gig, me in my scrubs, looking like I’d been put through the ringer after my first eighteen hour shift in the ER. F*cker took it right as I left. He’d been waiting by my car, wide-eyed and with a double espresso.
I unlocked it. Opening it, the familiar smell of candles and him filled my senses. I ached. He belonged on that empty sofa. He belonged in this room. I stumbled through the door, feeling like a stranger in a place I’d called my second home for years. The simple one bedroom apartment with a gold record sitting as a prized possession on the mantel. I never knew someone could get a gold record and not be famous, like really famous. But he did it. He’d joke and say he was huge in Japan and I’d say, “Of course you are. You’re six foot three.”
I wandered down the short hallway and into the bedroom where only a week ago we professed our love. He’d been braver than me that night. His show went well, a small gig at a wine pub, and sure, I’d had a few glasses just for a light buzz. We’d laughed about the old wino in the corner, the drunk guy who thought everything was funny and sang along while my friend played. The guy requested The Way You Look Tonight and couldn’t sing and gave zero f*cks. Priceless. So as we sat on the couch later that night and had a laugh, we started singing, “Someday when I’m awfully low, when the world is cold…” completely off key. We laughed harder, barely getting through the line and our eyes met. I found him looking at me with a blend of vulnerability, uncertainty and want—a look that had my heart leaping out of my chest and my head all swimmy. I never knew. Years and years and I never knew he felt that way. And now…so much had changed.
I entered the bedroom with purpose not wanting to look at the bed but not able to help myself. The sheets were a mess. I took his pillow in my arms and inhaled deeply wishing he was here, laughing, tickling, kissing, hugging, and making love to me all over again. I clung to the pillow as I rifled through his closet and found a rucksack, tossed some track pants and a few shirts in it. . .
I’ll be thinking of you and the way you look tonight…
Numb, I returned to the front door only to realize I’d carried his pillow with me. I couldn’t leave it. I clutched it tighter to my chest and exited, locking the front door and leaving the memories trapped behind it of the way he looked that night.