As Time Goes By
The Do’s Series: Segment 10
© Grandpa Jim
Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout, under a red canopy of morning sunlight breaking over the uneven tops of the protective ruins, the pretty nurse in her blue robe sits at a folding table. She ties multicolored poppies into small bundles bound with ribbon, then rests her hands, staring at the arrayed blooms — the bright colors of the spreading sunrise.
“Ms. Hoadie, what is it you see?” The black piano player lifts the bench from the top of the walnut upright, places it in front, sits and raises the keylid.
Nurse Hoadie picks up a flower. “Trouble, Sam.” A soft worried smile shadows the nurse’s clear white skin.
“What trouble bothers you?”
“Another request from the young lady.”
Sam furrows his brow. “Is it for more macaroni?”
“I wish it were as easy as that, Sam.”
“What you mean, Ms. Hoadie?”
“She delves deeper.”
“The girl? The one who changed her name for the fair?”
Ms. Hoadie Ilsalund Carmichael laughs. “The same. A lonely FarWay girl in a sandsuit. She does have friends, SamTrip BlazeHands. An odd group, but friends true to her. Friends who know little of what she seeks or what it may cost them.”
“What is it she seeks?”
“She wishes to heal a hurt, hers and that of others.”
“Well, she comes to the right place. To you, Ms. Nurse Hoadie.”
“Does she, Sam? Does she? My sisters demand a great price for the exchange she would have here. Is our young lady a Giselle to make such a bargain for her family and break such dark chains?”
“Now don’t you worry, Ms. Hoadie. The sun is up and the visitors be arriving soon. You have your flowers ready and your visitors will find their information.”
“Yes, Sam. I do hope so. Whether we feel we’re in a play, we are anyway.”
“What was that, Ms. Hoadie?”
“’I get a trifle weary with Mr. Einstein’s theory. So we must get down to earth at times. Relax, relieve the tension.’” The nurse sighs, sits straight and turns to the piano player. “Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake.”
“Now I don’t know what you mean, Ms. Hoadie.”
“Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.’”
“Ms. Hoadie, are you sure?”
“Sing it, Sam.”
Sam’s hands move over the keys as he lifts his head and croons,
“You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by. . . .”
“A lot of water under the bridge.” Nurse Hoadie’s voice is too low for Sam to notice — or he chooses not to – as he smiles a thin smile and plays and sings on without a noticeable pause.
“. . . It’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die.
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by. . . .”
“And we will,” Hoadie Ilsalund Carmichael says softly. “We will welcome them. . . . But can she pay? Can she make this exchange?”
“Oh yes, the world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.”
Sam stops singing but continues to play the melody. As he presses the last key and raises his hands to lower the fallboard, the final note lifts into the air and is carried on the morning breeze over the ruins to the roundabout and the group about to cross from Penny Lane.