The evening of December 1st, 2015, I was dinning out with my ex-wife. We divorced in 1984, but I had since been missing the last 29 years (kidnapped by The US Military).
My wife, Lyndsey, and I still had a few logistics to go over post-divorce. Lyndsey still needed me to sign some documents, and some legal papers about my royalties, etc. She made reservations to meet in a public place, in case I had one of my episodes (otherwise known as “psychotic break”). We met for dinner at “La Sirene”, a very fancy French restaurant in NYC. I signed all the documents she needed me to sign, and then we ordered dinner.
As our dinner was served at our table, a song came over the French restaurant’s speaker. The song transcended me beyond my Fennel and Orange Salad with Lemon-Ginger Vinaigrette. I couldn’t even let go of my salad fork: this song transfixed me.
My heart was breaking with every lyric line. I was engulfed, overwhelmed with poignant love as I listened to this song and holding my fork.
I asked the maître d’ to play the song again: he complied. In a French accent, he said he was a Reggie Bender fan! The song I requested was played over and over again.
It was a song I’d heard before in a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers movie.
As the song played, it compelled me to look, in awe, into Lyndsey’s eyes and her beautiful face.
Finally, it seemed quite natural, almost unconsciously, to hold my ex-wife’s hand.
We sat at our table, holding hands as we listened to the song, smiling: each thinking our own thoughts as Fred Astaire’s voice sang the poignant melody and lyrics that remind every person that, years from now, a certain beautiful moment and feeling in time, will come back to haunt them someday.
The song seeped throughout my insides and touched places in my heart that overwhelmed me. As the song played, I knew this might be the last time my ex-wife and I laid eyes upon each other.
Uncharacteristically, I took my ex-wife’s hand and asked her to dance. “Only if you release your fork and put it on the table”, as difficult as this action was, (for I had, somehow, managed to find security when holding this particular salad fork; we had become friends), I managed to do it: I lay my salad fork down on my cloth napkin.
The song began once again. The song played, we slowly caressed each other, and we danced. As we danced to this song, we both knew we would never be together again.
The song finally ended.
We went outside into the cold New York night air; Lyndsey got into a taxi and drove off. And I? I went back inside the restaurant, hid the salad fork in my overcoat pocket, and walked stealthily out of the restaurant door.
Later that night, I sat alone watching our wedding video with the sound muted “off”. I watched our wedding video, and Lyndsey’s smiling, laughing, beautiful face as I played a vinyl recording of Fred Astaire singing, “THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT” over and over…and over again.
- Here is a video of yours truly singing an abridged version of that romantic song. Hey, I had no orchestra to play the nice instrumental interludes.
“THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT”
(Lyrics by Dorothy Fields; Music by Jerome Kern).
I also encourage you to listen to Fred Astaire’s original recording of this song. Fred does it the best!