THE PERFECT SONG • by Christopher Lockheardt

I sang to her. She seemed to like it. She was almost jealous.

“I want to sing to you too. But I don’t know which song to sing.”

I sang to her every song I had ever heard. Songs my mother had played in the radio as she drove me to school in her 1981 Mercury Villager minivan. Songs my father had crooned in the shower as he washed off the grime of a double shift. Songs my older sister had boomed on her bedroom stereo so my parents couldn’t overhear her phone conversations.

“It has to be a song right for my voice. I have such a limited range.”

I sang to her loudly, so she could still hear me three supermarket aisles away when she doubled back to fetch a forgotten salad dressing. I sang to her softly, so she could still hear every accusation spat by the quarreling couple in the apartment next door. I sang to her in my head, when she was too far away in miles or her thoughts to hear me.

“It has to be a meaningful song, a song that says just the right thing.”

I sang her songs about highway brigands, about ugly people in beautiful houses, about dogs that always found their way home, about smooth stones on the riverbed.

“I want to sing you the perfect song.”

I sang to her out of tune, absent-mindedly, drunk or half-asleep. When I didn’t know the words, I hummed. When I didn’t know the tune, I recited. Sometimes I sang the same two lines over and over until she punched me in the shoulder to unstick my needle.

“I found it. I know it now. The song I want to sing to you. The song I’ve been looking for. The perfect song.”

But she never had the chance to sing it. I had found someone else. Someone who knew every song. Someone who sang them everywhere and in every way. Someone who sang them out of tune, absent-mindedly, drunk and half-asleep. Someone who would sing to me.

Someone who would sing with me.

Christopher Lockheardt keeps trying to write novels and full-length plays. But his novels meet the back cover only one thousands words in and his plays call down the the curtain after a mere ten minutes.

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Every Day Fiction