Story A Day for May, Day 23


Liner Notes

The chorus from the dream song circled Kate’s head while she prepared breakfast.

Wild child
wolves sing your name

As she blended the blueberries and yogurt, one of the verses returned:

Past  willow, past shore
To the bluff you’ll run no more.
There’s a space where you
Stood, there’s a space
Where you could
Have stopped to be
Past willow, past shore
Over dunes you’ll run no more.

The cadence felt familiar. She wanted to hear the rest of it. She knew this song. One winter, they’d listened to it over and over, on rainy Sundays, in the breaks between storms, dancing in the kitchen in spots of sunlight. She remembered the recording artist’s voice: soft, nasal, mumbling, but sweet, too–endearing.

She still had her grandfather’s turntable and records. She listened to them, sometimes, when she wanted to hear the muffled sounds of analog. It carried her back.

The records filled four milk crates. On top of the first crate, she’d stacked the LPs she listened to most often: the 1985 recording of Beethoven’s 9th, with the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi; the Philips 1987 recording of the Guarneri Quartet performing the Grosse Fugue; and several of Gould’s records, including the 1976 CBS Masterworks recording of Bach’s Six Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord, which had been part of the soundtrack of her last years of high school.

The rest of the approximately two hundred records sat filed in the crates, unheard.

She thumbed through them, looking for the one that held this song. It was “Wild Child”, wasn’t it? The title song of Trey Kidd’s first album, that she’d just read about in the old clippings she’d found the other day?

Wild child,
eyes sparking light

Beyond meadow
over shore–
I can’t remember
any more.

The album covers felt soft between her index finger and thumb, and she breathed in that delicious scent of the old cardboard sleeves. She paused at the artwork now and then. The primary colors of Sgt. Peppers took her back–her grandfather had let her choose that album, and they’d listened to it all through the summer of her ninth year. She remembered staring at the cover of Sounds of Silence while she laid under the table and tried to puzzle out the lyrics. She’d nursed a daydream of running off with Simon and Art, joining them on that road they walked. They both had turned and were looking back at the camera, and while she listened to them singing “April Come She Will,” she imagined that they had turned to look at her, that she was running down the road to join them. That had been one of the years when her grandfather’s door was often closed.

Near the back of the third crate were Trey Kidd’s six albums, with Wild Child first. The cover photo had been shot near here, showing the lighthouse across the bay in the background. Kidd stood in the foreground, looking directly at the camera. Though she and her grandfather had listened to this album often, she’d never paid that much attention to the cover–she’d been too busy dancing. Trey was beautiful: he had full lips, long hair, bright eyes that lit up even an old photo on an old faded album cover.

She glanced at the liner notes, looking for the lyrics. They weren’t there, but in the credits, she spotted this: “Wild Child” – Lyrics by Solomon Elder.

Her grandfather had written the title song.

The watermark behind the credits contained the initials WC in big, gray block letters.

WC stood for Wild Child. WC was Trey Kidd.

Kate slid out the vinyl, and blew on it, gently. She placed it on the turntable, turned up the volume, set down the needle on the title track, and danced, danced, danced, like a child. She had found the identity of her grandfather’s secret lover.

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Prompt for May 23: “Choose a detail that only your character would notice in this story,” from