Tall and tanned and young and lovely
The floor is cold beneath my bare feet as I enter the airport, humming. The air conditioning hits me, a merciful icy blast after the midday furnace outside.
A woman in business dress - her long blonde hair in flight - pushes past me, singing a familiar tune.
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
The Girl from Ipanema? How odd; I was just thinking about that song. I turn to watch her retreating, determined gait and wonder if she’s singing along to something? But I see no earphones on her, and there’s no piped music in the air. I guess she must like singing in public?
Something touches my bare leg, and I glance down and find a five-year-old boy tugging at my knee. He looks up at me enquiringly, perhaps lost, his wide blue eyes twinkling under a mop-top haircut.
And unexpectedly, he begins to sing.
And when she passes each man she passes goes A-a-h!
The statement is clear, his young voice steady and in key. And it’s the next line of the song. Weird. His mother bustles over and tugs him away by the hand, throwing me an apologetic glance. She chastises the boy as they hurry away, and her sharp-but-musical words find my ears.
When she moves it's like a samba
They move away and out of earshot. I turn slowly, bewildered, to find a group of nuns in my path. One carries a guitar - this is an airport I suppose - and they all carry a tune. As the penguined choir divides and sweeps past on either side of me, the Ipanema refrain continues in three-part harmony.
That swings so cool and sways so gently
That when she passes
Each man she passes goes A-a-h!
There’s a particular delight in the delivery of that last line. My jaw drops. Cheeky nuns? Well, I’d always suspected, to be honest. Good grief, another sane day in Camp Roth. *
[ * Camp Roth is a location, not a rumour. ]
The air is cold on my shoulders as I start to walk forward again; I really should have brought something warmer for this place. Still, onwards.
Now, where was it I was going? As I ponder this, my mind a blank, an old man in a short-trousered military uniform and beret is wheeled towards me in a bathchair. Medals gleam on his chest, but despite the rakish moustache, his eyes are inert and introspective. Behind him, a helper - perhaps a granddaughter - in sensible sandals and a long flowing summer dress, continues the verse while surveying a shop window.
Oh - but he watches so sadly
As I approach, the head of the old man raises and turns my way. His eyes have found a shine to match the medals. He sweetly croons his life story.
How can he tell her he loves her
He would just give his heart gladly
They pass from view, and again I focus ahead, my feet squeaking on the polished marble. Was it Arrivals I wanted? Departures?
The thought goes from my head as a beautiful redhead in a dark blue dress strolls my way. Her smiling eyes are upward, her face enjoying the play of sun as she passes beneath the indoors palms of the airport. Her voice fills the air, sultry yet elusive.
But each day when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead not at he
Well, isn’t that the truth.
Still, she looks Scottish and not Brazilian. Yes, definitely more Inverness than Ipanema. Do I recognise her? She looks like someone I saw on TV, maybe? As if she senses my scrutiny, she turns to look me in the eye. There’s a smile on her lips, but it erupts into laughter as she glances down at my attire.
Waitaminute, what is it I'm wearing exactly?
I look down and realise I’m naked. Well, apart from the Union Jack gathered about my shoulders.
I bend further down and hope it’s long enough. I sigh. It’s not.
The dreamy lady continues to laugh at me. I think it’s at this moment, with those exact words, that I realise I’m dreaming. Yes, it all makes sense; I’m naked in a public place, wrapped in a flag, and the woman of my dreams is laughing at me.
Not for the first time, I curse my subconscious.
It’s definitely out to get me.
I feel the imposing grasp of security guards on my arms. I don’t resist. I could spread my wings and fly out of this place, or sublime into smoke, or open my eyes and find myself in my bed.
But the lilting tune on the lips of the redhead holds my gaze as they drag me away to the cells. As she waves her delicate fingers and blows kisses to the guards, I feel the flag slip from my shoulders.
The tune may be timeless, but the experience is not.
Tall and tanned and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes he smiles
But she doesn't see
No she doesn't see...
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2009-2014.
With thanks to Karen Gillan. Not that she knew.
Well, well; kept us waiting but then delivered dreamily... sure it wasn't sunstroke?? YAM xx
Namaste Yam! Well, y'know, it might've been. I have been working very hard of late walking dogs at the shelter... tho I suspect it's too much pizza before bedtime =) Indigo xDelete
You know, I always found that song particularly irritating...most especially the monotonours monotone it's delivered in. Now I find it circulating around my brain on a never ending track. THANK YOU so very much for that my friend. I WILL find a musical way to get even with you.ReplyDelete
Hey Delores! Not a samba fan? What, not even with Stan Getz playing sax? You're a hard woman to please =) Actually, I waver between loving her voice and finding it exactly as you describe, which is odd. I'll keep trying. Now, sing along!... Indigo xDelete
She looks straight ahead not at HIM dagnabbit, not he--which cannot be the object of a preposition yet solidly pins the song to memory. A Persian flaw! In all a delightful romp, Indigo! That song effectively haunts my generation.ReplyDelete
Thanks Geo! I suspect it was more of a convenient rhyme (by Norman Gimbel when he translated it from the Portuguese) than a Persian Flaw. Astrud Gilberto's husband was one of the original writers, and she did very nicely out of it, flawed or otherwise =) IndigoDelete
I do have a soft spot for that tune. The first time I really listened to it, it was sung by a very talented young man at a school concert. He did a brilliant job and that's how I think of it, not as the original recording which I only heard many years later. Wonderful story wrapped around a beautiful tune, IR!ReplyDelete
Hey Jenny! Thanks, glad you like it =) I'm not surprised that you originally heard a cover version. Apparently it's the second most recorded tune ever! I'm fond of the Sinatra version, but he didn't have Stan Getz ;) Indigo xDelete
Stan Getz - the craziest bunch of guys I ever knew. #truestoryReplyDelete
Even crazier than that nice Mr. Hitler at number 37?Delete
Where in the WORLD did you get this idea??? The writing... the pictures it puts in my mind... OK OK and yes I even envisioned you naked with a flag. Your writing is always so on target... so incredible! ... and I KNEW there would be a ginger in it. There ALWAYS has to be a ginger!ReplyDelete
BRILLIANT writing, my friend!
Hey Katherine! I think it has something to do with my medication. You pictured me in a flag? Shame on you, I hope it was a big one =D And yes, these dreams often feature a striking redhead. But I never get the girl, you know? Indigo xDelete
BTW, someone asked me recently why I didn't put this in the Book of REDHEADS in TESTAMENT: FUNNY BADGERS. Simple reason: song lyrics. These are a minefield for authors, unless you're really famous or can afford a per-book royalty. I'm neither. Yet.Delete
I've been to Inverness. It was grey and a bit weird.ReplyDelete
Though no one was singing about a babe in Brazil.
Careful Roses, you'll have the North-of-the-Border contingent howling for blood! I once mentioned that I thought Gretna Green was a bit crap, and received Marital Death Threats for months. Indigo xDelete
I loved reading this, though I was never a fan of the song. And of course it sashayed through my mind for days.ReplyDelete
Hey Nancy! Wow, this song seems to have struck a nerve. Tho I like the idea of you sashaying through the day, may I say? =) Indigo xDelete
Heeeeeey. There's no What Kind of Sphincter test here!ReplyDelete
And me? I like the song. :-)
Yeah, sorry 'bout that, dude. Shamessly misleading marketing.Delete