The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

March 12th

Roberta Flack

I burst into tears last evening. Well, I think only one tear actually rolled down my cheek, but for me, that is serious crying. But there was more — I gasped for air with my mouth trembling, and I put my hands over my head as I leaned back in my chair, tightly holding my eyes shut. There were several more gasps for air through a quivering mouth before I calmed down.

A single line in a song caused all this deep emotional rupture —

and the first time ever I kissed your mouth

That is the first line of the second stanza from Roberta Flack’s version of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”. That was all needed for my emotions to spill from somewhere deep inside me. I mean, from the first note of this superbly hauntingly beautiful song, I felt a deep pang of yearning. My thoughts were not organized or concentrated, but I knew that those emotions are about Jola, the closest and the dearest person I ever had in my life. She is gone, it is now six and a half years since she died, and occasionally this deep insatiable aching pain returns. And then, this line came up. There is a slight pause in the song before those words are sung, and I already at that moment started trembling. I could hear those words in my head before I could hear them in my ears. I felt like I was grabbed by a throat, and the throbbing and pinning in my chest was so palatable that I had to gasp for the air.

I don’t know when I will be able to listen to this song again. For now, it will be on my “do not listen — too emotional” list of songs. Actually, it will only be a second song on that list. The first one is “The Famous Blue Raincoat” by Leonard Cohen. That song has been on the list for years now. Maybe one day I will be strong enough to explain here why.

Going back to Roberta Flack — I think that my emotions came spilling out of me not only because of yearning and memory of Jola. I think it was also the presence of beauty in the song itself. The gentleness and wistfulness in every note and every word and every slight delay before the next note is played, and the next word is sung, creates a masterpiece of music as an art form. And reach deep inside to bring out hidden, half-forgotten memories. I will go back to this song again, just not for a while.



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footsteps of the Furies

footsteps of the Furies

“for they knew what sort of noise it was; they recognize, by now, the footsteps of the Furies”. Enjoying life on the road to recovery. Observing and writing.