This prompt involves playing a piece of music. You can play anything, really, but sad songs do produce some interesting writing. This time I tried something different, and I played a funny, quirky song: Sarah Vaughan singing, “It’s Got to Be Love,” from her album, Live at Mr. Kelley’s. I told the writers in the room to write whatever came to mind. Here’s what I wrote.
“Welcome home,” he says. “Tell me all about your trip!”
“Oh, it was great,” I say. “Amazing.”
I don’t say that Via Dei Coronari is filled with antique shops, and that I knew he would have loved it.
“I fell in love with Rome,” I say.
“Really?” he says.
“Yeah,” I say. “Everyone is so beautiful.”
“Yeah,” he says, “you Italians are a gorgeous bunch.”
I don’t say that there were lovers everywhere in Rome, or that there was a baby in Corleto Perticara who looked just like him.
“How was Paris?” he asks, “Did you like Paris?”
“Oh, God, yeah,” I say, weaving my way through construction on Divisadero, driving on the wrong side of the street for two blocks. “It was great to be back.”
He loves Paris.
“The food!” I say.
“I know,” he says.
I didn’t say that I missed him more in Rome. That I walked past the tailor shops with suit coats in the windows with wax markings on them, and thought of how nicely he always dressed. How I wanted to buy him a tie, but didn’t.
“Well, I want to hear all about it at lunch” he says. “Are you free tomorrow?”
I want to tell him that I still love him, that I think I always will. It looks ridiculous on the page as I write this, but it’s true.
“Let’s check in next week,” I say. “Tomorrow’s crazy.”
“Okay,” he says. “Well, it’s good to have you back.”
“Thanks,” I say. And I want to tell him that the baby who looked like him kept reaching out to me.
“You want to hold him?” his mother asked.
“No,” I said, laughing. “If I do, I may never give him back.”