This is another piece of writing I did for a class. It was entitled 'Soundtrack' and we had to write about one song that would be included on the soundtrack to the movie of our lives.
I hear the phone ringing in my mom's room. A quick glance at the clock shows that I still have an hour before I have to be up for school so I roll over and being the process of falling back to sleep. I am interrupted by a knock on the door.
"It's your dad," my mom says as she walks the phone over to me. "He wants to wish you a happy birthday."
I take the phone and mumble some sort of greeting that vaguely passes for 'hello'. My dad had moved back to Ireland for a year with my stepmom and Baby Bro. I had last seen him seven months earlier when we said good bye in Belfast. We had gone for a pint and then to a Christy Moore concert, just the two of us. It was the best send off I could have asked for.
"Good morning, Claire," came the response. Claire. I haven't heard my name since his Christmas phone call. His time in the old country as he called it has strengthen his previously mild accent and I can hear the accent my friends had always commented on growing up. "I wanted to make sure I was the first to wish you a happy birthday and of course..." He starts to sing.
When first I saw the love light in your eyes, I thought the world held nought but joy for me,
I sit up and smile. It's a song I've heard so many times in my life, I don't recall not knowing it. My dad had always said he was going to sing it to me on my sixteenth birthday.
And even though we've drifted far apart, I never dream but what I dream of thee.
My knowledge of this song comes from my dad blasting his tapes of The Furey's through the house on Saturday mornings. Name a Furey's song, and I have a memory to go with it. Green Fields of France is my Remembrance Day song of choice. From Clare to Here reminds me of driving the length of Ireland many times over to visit family when I was six. The Old Man made me break down in tears after my dad fell ill for the first time. I Will Love You takes me to the day when I learned my aunt Eileen had finally died of cancer. The list is endless and it runs the gamut of every emotion I have ever felt.
I love you as I never loved before since first I saw you on the village green,
I had heard him sing this song many times--along with the recording, when driving in the car, with his musicians friends (usually fellow immigrants) at his parties--and now here I sat, alone in the dark, with my dad thousands of kilometres away while he sang it to me. My dad is not a great singer but in that moment it was the most beautiful rendition I had ever heard.
Come to me e'er my dreams of love are o'er
I am my dad's only daughter and I was also the only child who really took to music. Long before the explosion of Celtic music occurred in North America, I knew more Irish folk songs than I did popular songs. I got that love of the Furey's, the Chieftains, Christy Moore, the Dubliners and countless others from my dad and I got my pride in being Irish from those songs.
I love you as I loved you when you were sweet, when you were sweet sixteen.
The last note hangs in the air for a moment before slipping into the darkness along with my anger at having been woken up so early.
"I love you, dad."
"I love you, too."
"It's my seventeenth birthday today."