This morning I found myself in a night club. I was certainly someplace I’ve never been before, a small and cozy hole in the wall somewhere with maybe fifty tables and a bar with some standing room. The tables were small round cafe style ones with fancy marble tops, very pretty but cold to the touch. I was nursing a mixed drink that had a sour flavor I don’t recognize. There were four elderly black men singing a song on a small stage, a lead singer and three backup vocalists. A jazz band sat obscured in the shadows at the back of the stage. The singer was obviously quite a star for such a small venue. The song he was singing was someone’s special request, a gospel style tune I didn’t recognize and I don’t remember it well.
Stephen and I were at the club with Missy and Tyler. The tickets were very exclusive and far more expensive than something I could really afford now. Tyler’s parents were friends of the club owner and we were able to get a table. Stephen and Tyler were arguing about politics and Missy and I were doing our best to act like we didn’t know them and sitting at the same table was just an unfortunate accident. They were keeping their voices down mostly but it was a small club and at quieter parts in the song everyone could hear them. I could tell several of the people close to us were getting annoyed. Stephen said something both loud and profane about Obama-Care, which is weird because we broke up years ago now. I hit him. “Shut up, you’re gonna get us kicked out.”
Getting kicked out turned out not be an issue. The song ended and the singer thanked us all. As everyone was clapping, a middle-aged black woman, came onto the stage holding a microphone. She had on a fitted gold dress, beautiful strands of pearls and matching pearl earrings with bright ruby lipstick. I recognized her as the club owner. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Albert Greene,” she said clapping her free hand gently against the one holding the microphone. We all stood and clapped louder. He gave us a subtle bow stepped over and greeted her with a friendly hug and a kiss on the cheek. “You and I go way back, Al,” she said, holding the mike in one hand and holding his waist with the other. “These good people would love to hear the story of how we met.” She rocked him fondly as he began a story of when she was just a little girl in a Memphis restaurant with a sassy mouth, who didn’t recognize the singer.
We all sat back down at our tables to listen. “Don’t you dare,” I mouthed at Stephen. He started his argument right back up again anyway, ignoring my dirty look. Mr. Greene’s story was funny and the club guests laughed and clapped sporadically. The club owner asked him some questions about his current tour and his career and eventually, she thanked him for playing her club and for singing his biggest hits. “Actually my biggest hit was…” He looked at her and gave a wide smile. “Well let me just sing it for you.” He took the mike from her hand and began singing an encore that I did recognize. “I’m, I’m so in love with you…” The club went nuts, clapping to the rhythm and singing along, and I felt an artificial rush of emotion that I knew belonged more to the audience than to me.
I must have actually seen Al Green on TV before. His face seemed familiar anyway. I had to Google the lyrics I remembered to find the song and I wasn’t at all surprised to find not only that there really was such a song, but that the man singing it was really a younger version of the man in my dream and that he used to sing gospel. Of course his song, Let’s
Stay Together, has been stuck in my head all day now. So here is the oldest Al I could find on YouTube for you to enjoy.
By the way, this kind of thing doesn’t surprise me anymore. Not that long ago, writing Webster’s Kiss I had a rare dream where I saw myself in the mirror, but my reflection turned into someone else while I was staring at it. Later that day while I was writing about Annie Oakley (you’ll have to read my book if you want to know why), I checked Google for some information and under Images for Annie Oakley, I saw a picture that looked strikingly like the girl in my dream. I clicked the link and there on the page about halfway down was the exact same face from the mirror wearing a hat.
© 2010 Anne Schilde
Any similarity to Al Green’s actual persona is purely coincidental!