it’s not a callous.
the edges of my pointer finger, the frame of the nail i coated in glitter polish during a late night wander through the makeup aisles of duane reade (so many TRY ME’s, i stood no better a chance than alice had), are just a little tougher. just a bit harder to the touch. maybe, just a shade stronger.
if anything, it was the new perspective. boyfriend has vision, and he is always eager to help me see. he finally got a chance to flip the furniture arrangement in my apartment when i was sick & useless on the couch (thankfully, he had moved that piece a few weeks before, so i didn’t have to be feng shui-ed), & it’s beyond an improvement. it’s like getting a new apartment. he’s good that way (many ways).
so, suddenly, in addition to this broad avenue of space to practice yoga/sock-slide into the bedroom, in addition to better light & less yawning, bleak wall space, the ukulele was just more there. lower on the shelf, more visible somehow. & i woke up one morning & thought, yeah, i’ve got 15 minutes.
of course, it took that only to tune it, & even though i had only the cats to judge me, i was furiously embarrassed. but i was in it, too. it was going to be tuned & it was going to be strummed, sorry to the neighbors (but maybe also stop stomping everywhere).
it was a grey day. the cars sloshed along 2nd Ave, their usual murmurs amplified on the drizzly streets. cold air, hinting at winter, seeped in around the edges of the windows. the song came like a dream.
it’s simply played on the uke. strum C for awhile – down, down, up-up, down-up down-up – and then F sharp. back to C, back to F#, back to C. G makes a brief appearance, but finish strong with C. it’s simple, like the song, and it feels right, like the song.
the thing is, “you are my sunshine” should be sad. it is sad. the lyrics, certainly, but even the melody is a subtle blend of childlike sing-song & a touch of melancholy, like a nursery rhyme that has grown up. even so, it made me smile, it made the whole room brighter. the cats, dopey as they are, followed me around the apartment as i strolled & strummed, their tails high & their chirps completely discordant. i laughed through the umpteenth replaying, fumbling the transition to G from C, starting over.
a few days later, boyfriend sent me a voice message, with the text note, “it’s a work in progress.” i was waiting in a line, tired, cranky. his voice was warm and jovial, round on the vowels. filled with smile. i was grinning, dopey, singing along. the woman in front of me turned & laughed once, politely. “i love that song,” she said. & we just smiled.