Only Love Will Set Us Free....


Can it be, do you hear?
A new freedom song is ringin'
No more doubt no more fear
There's a new day that is bringin'
Something simple is the key
Only love will set us free
It's so far, it's so near
Almost close, almost here

Apache Café, Atlanta, Georgia….

Marni coughed once as she pulled the soft gloves up her arms; pretty decorations to hide a lifetime of now-healed abuse. Between her age and the fading of once-dangerous scars, everything could be covered easily enough with makeup but the gloves added a touch a class. She walked out on stage and smiled at the comfortable crowd and sat down at the piano.

How many times had she repeated this action? She closed her eyes even as her fingers found their way to the exact places on the keyboard. In a moment she was off; the music flowing from the Steinway wannabee and her voice weaving in and out in sultry tones and riffs. She finished with the romantic piece from the old movie; her voice nearly as eastern in a way as the original jazz cover but for more precise phrasing. She walked off waving to a smattering of applause from the diners and drinkers.

Walking into the tiny dressing room, she sat down and stared at her refection in the mirror. Never a popular act even when she was in her prime and interacting more with any of the folks out on the dining room floor in the dark, but at fifty-six, it was more about the music and so much less about presentation. She sighed as she surveyed the toll life had taken on her. Crows’ feet were expected between a finally abandoned daily pull by nicotine and just general wear and tear.

As for number two in her triumvirate of life-long problems, she squeezed in meetings when she could and kept in touch with her sponsor as well. With only the twice-a-week gigs at the club, she found herself with much more time on her hands; normally a detriment to her addiction but with new-found support from a few members of her mostly estranged family, she managed to get involved as a support group facilitator for younger women like herself.

She took a washcloth and scrubbed her face down to a nice if weathered natural look. Her gaze fell upon an old picture. Two children sitting on the lap of a nice looking young man. The little girl on the right looked up at her father with admiring eyes. The boy on the left seemed distracted. She sighed. The photo was old and faded but in a nice frame. She moved her gaze to the other side of the table and noticed the single photo; a much more recent picture of the same girl; a young woman in fact with the same admiring eyes but looking beside her at a mature woman dressed in a modest black wool skirt and charcoal blouse. The face was familiar to both the young woman in the picture and the woman looking at the picture of course, since it was her sitting next to her daughter.

Sadly, like the empty spot on the makeup table next to the photo, both the boy and any picture of his were missing. Feeling like a lifetime ago but only six or so years, the division between her and her son was almost too much to bear. That idea that we can have everything we want seemed to scream at her in irony since she had everything she ever wanted for herself while losing almost everyone who ever mattered. She sighed again.

A few minutes later she stepped out into the cold, wet early morning. Her partner stood by an older model Subaru; green and grey and only a bit dented. She smiled at the woman and the car at the same time; all three of them none the worse for wear. Her partner opened the passenger door for her and kissed her lightly on the cheek as she helped her into the seat.

“Hey babe, get some early breakfast?” A sumptuous suggestion if there ever was, she nodded and wished she had a cigarette, but another invasive cough reminded her just how good a decision it was to stop smoking.

“Have I told you today how much I love you,” the only slightly younger woman said as she sat down in the driver’s seat beside her. She smiled; it was a routine they cherished like all the little benefits they both learned to grab between the wide road of disappointment they both had paved for themselves. Life had brought them together and while neither could have imagined being with each other, there they were. It wasn’t what they always wanted, but it might end up being what both of them needed.

“Yes…just now,” she laughed a throaty laugh. Not sultry, but attractive to her partner nonetheless, who leaned closer and kissed Marni on the lips.

“I love you,” Marni said, kissing her back.

“I know,” the younger woman smiled and kissed her again.

Something simple is the key
Only love will set us free
It's so far, it's so near
Almost close, almost here

Love Theme from Spartacus
Words and Music by
Terry Callier and
Alex North
As performed by

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