But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
When I heard Sara Ramirez sing “The Story” on Grey’s Anatomy, I cried.
Not because I was sad. I never quite believed anything tragic could happen to the characters this time around. Last season, they survived a shooting, and they’ve been dealing with the ramifications all season. I cried because I felt Callie Torres.
I’ve sung like I was singing for my life before.
I haven’t posted my voice. I don’t think very much of my voice. Some kinds of singing I can manage. I’m pretty good doing “There’s A Fine, Fine Line” from Avenue Q, and if you come to St. Cate’s of a Sunday, maybe you’ll hear me belting out a hymn, provided the hymn was written before a certain era. What you’ll never hear is the kind of singing I do when I’m alone. Sometimes, I’m so full-up with emotion that the only way to cope is to sing it out.
Watching Callie sing to everyone she loved, who couldn’t hear her but were working to save her life, I felt like she was singing for it, and I knew that feeling. It’s the same feeling as Wilde’s nightingale. I build roses out of moonlight, too, and I stain them with my heart’s blood. I have done this for many more years than you have known me. For someone who has made so much of her life out of words, it’s surprising to find that my story is told in songs. There is sheet music I would save from a fire before I went back for the photo albums.
A friend asked today whether it’s wrong to love as much as she does. Instantly, my answer is an emphatic no; Shakespeare was wrong; there’s no such thing as a woman who loves too well, even if she does love unwisely sometimes. I have loved unwisely. It is a different kind of love, more agape than eros, the fulfillment of which would tear the whole glass castle down around my ears, but without that love, I think I would have died of the cold. If I had not loved, I would have stopped caring entirely what happened to me. The woman who writes is also, still, the girl who sang, because the girl who sang is the girl who lived. She still lives in my dreams. She still loves. Better to dream of love gone by than to wake with a silent scream on my lips.
Wisdom tempers the love I give now. The maxims I mouthed as a little witch come full circle: I have known. I have dared. I have willed. And I have learned to keep silent, except in song. If I can only sing some kinds of love, then let me sing them. You don’t have to listen. It’s not for human ears. The roses I still build out of moonlight I gladly release into the universe. I know what to do with my love now. I give it to the ones who want it, and the ones who can’t take it don’t need it from me, but I pray every day that a little bit of it comes to them from somewhere beyond all knowing.