He went to Paris
Looking for answers
To questions that bothered him so

The nurses on this floor aren’t as attentive as on the previous floor (but of course changing floors means you are one step closer to going home, so, it’s a trade-off). If you’re napping, someone knocks or just comes in every 17 minutes. But if we press the call button because you need help, all we see going past the door are tumbleweeds. They’re not terrible, they’re just slow to answer a call – knowing so many nurses I’m sure it’s the patient-to-nurse ratio and not because of not caring. I try to do as much for you as I can without asking for help.

He was impressive
Young and aggressive
Savin’ the world on his own
But the warm summer breezes
The French wines and cheeses
Put his ambition at bay
His summers and winters
Scattered like splinters
And four to five years slipped away

There’s been nobody around for a few minutes now, and you’ve had a difficult morning, so I decide to risk closing the door and turning the lights off, hoping you can relax and close your eyes for a few minutes before someone else comes in to poke your already-bruised hands with more sharp things. You’re so quiet when they do that, though. A resigned quiet, as if you think that if you submit calmly and do what they tell you to do, you’ll get to go home sooner.

Then he went to England
Played the piano
And married an actress named Kim
They had a fine life, she was a good wife
And bore him young son named Jim
And all of the answers, and all the questions
He locked in his attic one day
‘Cause he liked the quiet
Clean country livin’ and
Twenty more years slipped away

So I close the door, turn off the lights, and find my music app on my phone. The day before I had played you some Steve Goodman and it both calmed you down and lifted your spirits – you belly-laughed at one song as we both sang along loudly, and it was the first time I’d seen you even smile in a week. I chose some Jimmy Buffett, and you closed your eyes and drifted off. I sighed as the agitation left your face and your shoulders visibly unclenched.

Well, the war took his baby
Bombs killed his lady
And left him with only one eye
His body was battered
His whole world was shattered
And all he could do was just cry
While the tears were falling and he was recalling
Answers he’d never found
So he hopped on a freighter, skidded the ocean
And left England without a sound

I’m just sort of staring off into space, thinking of all the times I’ve heard this song, or that song, how long Jimmy Buffett music has been a part of my life and how odd it is that I love everything he’s done yet don’t consider myself a “ParrotHead” – I love the music, not the lifestyle – and I see movement out of the corner of my eye.

Now he lives in the islands
Fishes the pilings
And drinks his green label each day
Writing his memoirs
Losin’ his hearin’
But he don’t care what most people say
Through eighty-six years of perpetual motion
If he likes you he’ll smile, and he’ll say,
“Jimmy, some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic
But I had a good life all of the way.”

Your right hand is twitching in time to the music, your fingers moving perfectly with the acoustic guitar as if you’re the one strumming the strings. Motor function memory; you can’t hear a song you know so well without mentally playing your guitar along with it. I watch, smiling. How music has been such a part of both our lives.

And he went to Paris
Lookin’ for answers to questions
That bothered him so

-Jimmy Buffett, He Went to Paris

“Knock, knock!” the nurse says loudly as she opens the door, juggling blood pressure cuff and stethoscope and insulin level test kit and god knows what else. The quiet is interrupted.  Sounds rush in from the hallway outside; the clip-clop of shoes on the tile and the squeaky wheels of rolling equipment and the chime of a bell from the nurse’s station. The ice machine discharging nuggets into a bucket. Someone’s phone sounds like it’s very angry about not being answered. I turn the music off.

Lorena Souvenirs

5 Replies

    1. ZOMG, stop posting what I want to say! ::huff:: ::smooches::

      Srsly, it’s a rhythmic tale, and I’ve always appreciated the intertwining of lyrics (with implied music) and story …

      I’m grateful there’s someone beside me, during these times. I know the same applies.

  1. Nobody Speaks to The Captain No More
    No one is interested in settling old scores
    Hey what the hell were we fighting for
    Such a long time ago.

  2. I’m glad you were able to find some peace in the music. Jimmy Buffett has a way with words and melodies and the telling of tales.

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