Soundtrack of a broken heart...
by Erin Halfelven
No celebration, alone again on Valentine's Day, I took out my best blue gown and lay it on the bed. I used to joke that it was the dress I wanted to be buried in.
I put some Beatles on when I went to take a shower, careful not to get my hair wet since I really no longer had the time to dry and set it. I used the scented body wash I'd bought one day in a fit of indulgence. Its smell made me think of lilies but I loved it.
John and Paul did their magic while I shaved carefully, everwhere. Underarms, legs high up on my thighs, places I usually didn't bother. Then I dried myself off with my best big fluffy towels, enjoying the luxury. I helped Ringo out on the lyric a time or two and stopped moving completely while George bought another piece of guitar heaven for me.
I used the perfumed powders that had come with the bodywash, spicier with a tang of sex and eroticism. The scent made me think of the boxes of clothing left behind when my grandmother died, except for not smelling of mothballs. She'd liked the Beatles, too, I remembered. The old lady had class and I hoped I could make her proud.
I laid out all my best and sexiest lingerie and chose carefully. The black ruffled panties I'd bought in Houston that afternoon before the night Robert had taken me dancing, the subtly padded bra I'd ordered from Victoria's online, the garter belt a friend had given me and the fine hosiery I'd found in the little shop in London but had never worn before. All black.
I dabbed a little of the perfume Jerry gave me in New York behind my ears, in the hollows of my neck, knees and elbows then I put on the underthings, one piece at a time, savoring it and being as sexy as I knew how to be, a reverse striptease just for myself.
More music played while I dressed, a mix of songs I'd loaded especially; sad romantic ballads, classical blues, dance music for vampires. Annie Lennox, Bonnie Tyler, Pat Benatar. I hoped I'd programmed enough.
When I had everything on except an outer layer, I lay on the bed next to the blue gown and cried one last time. I didn't want to ruin my makeup, later. Then I fixed myself a drink, dark, smoky Scotch from the Highlands with less than a dozen drops of bottled spring water. I'd bought the liquor for a special occasion and this one would do. A teenage Leann Rimes sang "Blue" while I finished the first drink and made another.
At the makeup table, I did it all. Eyes drawn large, lips painted red, blushing cheeks and shadowed lids, full mascara and a dusting of the sparkly top powder from the shop on Melrose Place in Los Angeles. It may have been my best job ever, I hoped so.
I got up then and danced to Robert Parker, Randy Newman and Billy Joel, then I put on the highest heels I owned while Dean Martin sang about memories and Patsy Cline went "Walkin' after Midnight." I made myself a third whisky and left out the water this time.
Tina Turner, Leon Redbone and Robert Palmer explained things to me while I picked out jewelry. I brushed my hair to Shocking Blue, Johnny Cash and the B-52s. Then Elvis sang a sad, scratchy waltz, Janis took another little "Piece of My Heart" and I didn't hardly cry at all.
More music, a fourth whisky, I didn't think I'd have time to finish another. I pulled the blue gown over my head and settled it into place. A wide belt and a few more pieces of jewelry then I sprayed some of the perfume into the air and walked through it. I took a ride on the "City of New Orleans" with Arlo Guthrie and stayed in the "Hotel California" courtesy of the Eagles before we all went for a "Run Through the Jungle" with Creedence Clearwater.
I took the player into the bathroom with me and set my drink down on the toilet seat next to the other bottle. Then I made a little nest of pillows and sat on the cold floor tiles with my tattered old plush animals around me. I kissed Pookie Bear on the nose and put him in my lap. I gathered my legs under me, settled my skirts with my feet in their black stilettos just peeking out.
Harry Chapin, Loretta Lynn, and Jim Croce helped me get ready to leave it all behind. Sam and Dave sang "Soul Man," Bonnie Raitt made her decison in the "Nick of Time," then Paul Simon helped me finish "Slip Slidin' Away."
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