My posts during April form part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is Jazz and I've selected a variety of classics from across the board. I've mixed up the performers a bit though ...
Lying back on her beach towel, Melissa chain smoked, stubbing out one after another in the sand beside her. Her family had ganged up on her and persuaded her to join them this time and here she was on the Grande Plage in St Malo, wishing she was somewhere else. Anywhere else in fact.
Melissa was tall, unusually so for a girl and she'd always stooped a bit. She loved high heels, knowing they made the most of her trim ankles and calves, but she never allowed herself to wear them ... not wanting to add extra inches to her height. She knew her mother dispaired, but it wasn't helped that her father and brothers still called her by her childhood nickname 'Lanky'.
Spotting her mother break away from the family group in the water, Melissa put out her cigarette and set a towel out on the side beside her. "Thank you darling" purred Melissa's effortlessly elegant and petite mother as she dropped onto the towel alongside her - for Melissa and her brothers all favoured their tall and lanky father. They sat there in easy companionship, chatting about nothing really, when Melissa's mother sat up straight. "Look Melissa, look there!" she pointed barely able to keep the excitement out of her voice. Melissa sat up and looked where she pointed - to a group of people walking. "Erm, what am I looking at Mama?" she asked, her eyebrows raised. "That's the Georges family who stayed at the Hotel with us last year. See their daughter, there, in the middle. She's over 6 foot. Doesn't she look magnificent?" Melissa sighed and went to lie back down when she caught sight of her mother's expression - it was pleading, desperate even. So she looked. And she had to admit that the Georges daughter did - indeed - look magnificent.
"She walks very well" was all she managed to say though. "Yes, exactly" she heard her mother exclaim "she walks tall, her shoulders back, her chin up, her long legs striding out from the hip. Look, Melissa, look. That could be you, if only you would believe" and Melissa realised that her mother's eyes had teared up. "Really Mama, is that what you believe?" "I know you lack in confidence Melissa, and no wonder with your father and brothers treating you like you're still that tomboy. But you're a young woman now and you have no role model. Now you have one. That's why I wanted you to come so much." Melissa reached out to touch her mother's hand as she was suddenly unable to speak. "Just imagine the sight of you two beautiful girls walking along the sand" her mother said quietly "tall and tan and young and lovely ..."
© 2017 Debra Carey
The bossa-nova classic, with music by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes and English lyrics by Norman Gimbel. I tried, but couldn't choose any version other that this. Recorded with Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz, it was a huge hit in 1964, making Astrud an unexpected star. An impromptu decision to record a version in English led to Astrud singing, as the only Brazilian present who could speak English well. She was only there accompanying her musician/composer husband, João Gilberto and was not professionally trained.
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