The Show

It was October of 2014 when my fingers met the strings of my ukulele for the first time. I remember I was sitting on our couch in our living room upstairs trying to play my husband’s guitar that I bought him for his birthday years back. I was desperately trying and miserably failing to play this song we both heard when we watched Brad Pitt’s movie, the Moneyball. I was getting frustrated. It was my birthday. And it was already around noon. I was hoping my husband and I can have breakfast together, but he was still sleeping. He has been working shift hours that month and we have been seeing each other less. Yet, looking back it was the best month of our married life even to this date. There was something special about that month. Maybe it was the lack of quantity time together that made us make the best of how little “we” time we have. It was like dating all over again, when we used to live in separate houses, in different cities.

I was living in Ajax at that time, while he was renting a place in Oshawa finishing his engineering degree. He’ll hop on the bus when class was over to see me, or vice versa. On Sundays, we will see each other in church, go out for lunch at Coffee Time, walk to the community center, and talk until the last bus home for him comes. At times, we’d meet in school, in between class, spent as much time as we can, until the last bus home comes again. And we repeat.

One time, I almost missed my bus home. We ran hard to catch it, but my legs and my lungs couldn’t handle it anymore. I had to stop and catch my breath. Taking a cab home would be insanely expensive. But at the time I thought to myself that might be my only option. Walking from Oshawa to Ajax will take me hours. And it was 9 in the evening already.

My husband, who was my bf then, let go of my hand, and darted towards the bus that has clearly left the campus ground and was heading to the streets. I was still catching my breath when I saw the bus stopped moving and parked in the middle of the street, with a guy on his jeans and blue jacket waving towards me. The bus looked small from where I was standing, and the guy waving looked even smaller. My eyesight is not very good. It never was! I have to wear contact lenses or eye glasses to see better. In the dark, it seems to be worse. My eyes couldn’the tell who the guy was. But my heart recognized him. So even in the dark, in that distance, I knew that the guy waving at me was him.

I used to call him superman. I still do sometimes. He’s fast. He’s strong. He’s a farm boy. He’s my Clark Kent. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. He was able to flag the bus down for me. He ran as fast as he could with his 40lb backpack on his back so that I won’t miss my bus. Those were the good old days. When our love was still young, and new, and not tattered with hang ups and disappointments that happens to any intimate relationships.

Anyway, there’s something about that song in Moneyball that made me want to learn it. In the movie, it was played by Brad Pitt’s teenage daughter. They went into a music store and she grabbed a guitar and started humming this beautiful tune she composed while finger picking the guitar. Her dad asked her to sing the song, and she did.

I’m just a little bit caught in the middle
Life is a maze, and love is a riddle
I don’t know where to go
Can’t do it alone
I’ve tried, but I don’t know why

I’m just a little girl lost in the moment
I’m so scared but I don’t show it
I can’t figure it out
It’s bringing me down
I know, I’ve got to let it go

And just enjoy the show

Perhaps that’s how I feel sometimes. I feel like this little girl lost in the moment and I can’t figure it out. I know I can’t do it alone, but I’m afraid to show it. It’s not easy to let your struggles known. It takes a lot of guts to let yourself be that vulnerable. It’s funny though how we alienate ourselves when the going gets tough when we all go through it. We all experience pain, and yet we are not very good at sharing them.

Apart from the lyrics, I really love the tune. And if I can only play it in the guitar, that would be epic! But I have no musical background. Playing a musical instrument to me is entering new territories. I know a few chords in the guitar, and I can play a few songs in the piano. But I know I want more. Someday, I’d like to continue taking piano lessons and not let my perfectionism discourage me from learning when I cannot play something perfectly.

Anyway, my husband and I googled the song after watching the movie, and found out it was sung by Lenka. I don’t know if she wrote the song for the movie or if the song was already out prior to the release of the movie. I didn’t get to that part. I was more interested in just learning to sing it and play it at the same time. So my husband found the chords online and started playing it just like that. I wish I could do the same! He doesn’t do finger picking when he plays the guitar, but he can play mostly any song by ear. He taught me how to play the song but I struggled to play it and sing it to the level I want it to be. However, I was determined to learn it and the callouses on my fingers were the proof of that.

So going back to that day, on our white leather couch upstairs, with frustration building up in the air… one for not being able to play and sing the song the way I wanted it, and two for not having my day turned out as I planned, my husband finally got up, and walked through the living room into the kitchen to grab something to eat. He said I was sounding good. But not good enough for me. So I let my frustrations out. I knew deep down it’s coming from some place else, but I chose to hide where my hurt was really coming from. It was my birthday and it was already past noon. We both knew in a few hours he will be going back to work again. At that time, I felt forgotten, invisible, and unappreciated. As these feelings festered, I got more and more frustrated playing the song in his guitar.

And then from behind me, I remember he said “well maybe you can learn to play it using this”, and handed me a small black case. It was a ukulele! He gave me a kiss and said “happy birthday”. I was 5 months pregnant at the time, and hormonal. So you can imagine the bucket of tears that clouded my sight as I learned the first song in my ukulele. In between my sniffles, I strum the strings of my very own instrument, and my heart smiled.

We didn’t have any special plans that day, no surprise cottage rental in the woods like last year, not even a trip to a restaurant in town. But that day was pretty special. We spent the very few hours left in our midst reconnecting. I learnt 3 more songs before we went downstairs to cuddle and reminisce our love story.

Yes that day seemed pretty ordinary. And it didn’t even start out the way I planned it to be. Yet it turned out to be a very special memory.

There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen.

——–

Here’s the full verse of The Show by Lenka. (I hope someday I will have the courage to record myself singing this song while playing it in my ukulele). Enjoy!

I’m just a little bit caught in the middle
Life is a maze, and love is a riddle
I don’t know where to go
Can’t do it alone
I’ve tried, but I don’t know why

Slow it down, make it stop
Or else my heart is going to pop
Cause it’s too much, yeah it’s a lot
To be something I’m not

I’m a fool out of love
Cause I just can’t get enough

I’m just a little bit caught in the middle
Life is a maze, and love is a riddle
I don’t know where to go
Can’t do it alone
I’ve tried, but I don’t know why

I’m just a little girl lost in the moment
I’m so scared but I don’t show it
I can’t figure it out
It’s bringing me down
I know, I’ve got to let it go

And just enjoy the show

The sun is hot in the sky
Just like a giant spotlight
The people follow the signs
And syncronize in time

It’s a joke, nobody knows
They got a ticket to the show
Yeah

I’m just a little bit caught in the middle
Life is a maze, and love is a riddle
I don’t know where to go
Can’t do it alone
I’ve tried, and I don’t know why

I’m just a little girl lost in the moment
I’m so scared but I don’t show it
I can’t figure it out
It’s bringing me down
I know, I’ve got to let it go

And just enjoy the show

Just enjoy the show
I’m just a little bit caught in the middle
Life is a maze, and love is a riddle
I don’t know where to go
Can’t do it alone
I’ve tried, but I don’t know why

I’m just a little girl lost in the moment
I’m so scared but I don’t show it
I can’t figure it out
It’s bringing me down
I know, I’ve got to let it go

And just enjoy the show

Dum De Dum, Duh Dum De Dum
Just enjoy the show
Duh Dum De Dum, Duh Dum De Dum
Just enjoy the show

I want my money back
I want my money back
I want my money back

Just enjoy the show

I want my money back
I want my money back
I want my money back

Just enjoy the show

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