Prompt: go to a random playlist and write an entry inspired by the first song you hear. My song is “Dawn” by the Four Seasons.
At one end of the lodge, across from the door that led outside, a girl was stationed behind the counter to sell soft drinks and candy bars. The summer I worked at the resort, that girl was Krysten, and in addition to selling cokes and candy bars, she watched for cars to pull up to the resort’s entrance. From every car that arrived, she collected one dollar per person in the car. When the customers had paid, she pushed down on a weight at one end of a gate which raised the barrier and allowed the cars to pass.
If I were close by when a car pulled up, I stopped mowing, cleaning the fish pond, or scraping the barbecue grills and watched as Krysten collected the money. She had an easiness about everything she did that was pleasurable to watch, and she had gray-green eyes that I couldn’t look at without forgetting how to breathe–eyes that were framed by hair that was impossibly black and laid across her shoulders like the idea of shoulders had been invented just to be ready when her hair needed a place to rest.
I didn’s speak with her until the end of my first week on the job when she walked to where I was sweeping the floor and handed me some quarters.
“Why don’t you play some songs?” she said to me.
“What?”The strangulating noise that came out of my mouth didn’t sound as much like that word as I intended.
“Put the quarters in the juke box and pick some music for us to listen to while we’re working.”
We were standing two feet apart, and up close she had the kind of face that made conversation a distraction from the gawking that was called for, and I just stood there, not attempting to force another strangulation sound to come from my mouth.
“You like music don’t you?” she asked, and she took a step closer to me as if she wanted to see how fast my heart could actually beat.
My voice had chosen to wander off to a place where it was no good to me, and I might never have responded if it hadn’t occurred to me that Krysten might think I couldn’t speak and would try to communicate with me through gestures. Rather than allowing that to happen, I croaked out the words, “How about ‘Don’?”
“Don?” Krysten asked.
“Yes, ‘Don.’ The song by the Four Seasons. I could play that.”
“I’m not sure I know that song.”
“You probably do,” I said. “It goes–” and I began to mumble musically one of the lyrics to the Four Seasons song: “Don, go away back where you belong.”
“Oh!” Krysten said, and she smiled, more or less re-inventing what that act looked like. “You mean ‘Dawn.’”
“Yes,” Krysten said, and she stepped back, threw her arms out from her sides, and started to sing, “Dawn, think What a big man he’ll be/Think Of the places you’ll see/Think what the future would be with a poor boy like me.”
If her voice had been as goddess-like as the rest of her, I might not have survived her performance, for my already dangerously elevated heart rate would have reached bursting speed; but, luckily for me, she sang off key.
“That’s it,” I said. “But I thought it was ‘Don’ not ‘Dawn.’”
“Either way,” Krysten said, “just put those quarters in the juke box and play some music.”
When she had walked off, I looked for a moment at the broom in my one hand and the quarters in the other. Then, I leaned the broom against the wall and started toward the juke box, singing softly, “Dawn/Go away back where you belong/I want you to think/What the future would be with me.”