Home > The Song of David (The Law of Moses)(8)

The Song of David (The Law of Moses)(8)
Author: Amy Harmon

“You smell good, David.”

I half-gasped, half-chuckled, surprised once more. But she kept right on talking.

“So I know you are big, strong, angry, and you smell nice. You’re tall too, because your voice is coming from way over my head. You’re also from Texas and you’re still young.”

“How do you know I’m young?”

“Old men don’t fight. And your voice. You were singing Blake Shelton under your breath when you approached. If you were older you might sing Conway Twitty or Waylon Jennings.”

“I sing them too.”

“Excellent. You can sing while we walk.” She flicked her stick with a practiced hand and it collapsed neatly into thirds. Then she tucked it under her left arm while reaching toward me with her right. Then she wrapped her hand around my bicep as if it were the most natural thing in the world. And we were off, walking slowly but steadily through the silent streets, the snow falling, the wet seeping into our shoes. I am a guy who can make conversation with the best of them, but I found myself at a complete loss.

Amelie seemed completely comfortable and didn’t offer up conversation as we walked, arm and arm, like two lovers in an old movie. Men and women don’t walk that way anymore. Not unless a father is walking his daughter down the aisle or a boy scout is helping an old lady across the road. But I discovered I liked it. I felt like a man of a bygone era, a time when men would escort women, not because women couldn’t walk alone, but because men respected them more, because a woman is something to be cared for, to be careful with.

“There was a time when everything in the world was more beautiful.” The words fell from my mouth, surprising me. I hadn’t meant to think out loud.

“What do you mean?” She seemed pleased at my statement. So I went with it.

“Well, if you look at old pictures . . .” My voice drifted off awkwardly, realizing she couldn’t actually look at old pictures.

She saved me, gracefully. “If I could look at old pictures, what would I see?”

“They had less. But they had more. It seems like people took more care with their possessions and their appearances. The women dressed up and the men wore suits. People wore hats and gloves and were well-groomed. The way they talked was different, more careful, more cultured. Same language, but totally different. Even the buildings and the furniture were beautiful—well-crafted with attention to detail. I don’t know . . . The world had more class. Maybe that was it.”

“Ah, the days when men didn’t fight for a living and women didn’t dance on poles,” she said, a smile in her voice.

“Men have always fought. Women have always danced. We’re as old-fashioned as it gets,” I shot back. “We’re timeless.”

“Nice save,” she giggled, and I laughed quietly.

We walked in companionable silence for several minutes when it occurred to me that I had no idea where we were going.

“Where do you live?”

“Don’t worry, big guy. I know where we are. Turn right on the next corner. I’m the old house thirty paces in.”

“You live in one of the old mansions?”

“Yes. I do. My great-great-grandfather built it, speaking of a time when the world was more beautiful. I’m guessing my house isn’t quite as lovely as it once was. But everything looks amazing in my head. Perks of being a blind girl.”

“You said thirty paces. What? Do you count steps?” I could hear the amazement in my voice and wondered if she could too.

“Usually. But I’m less observant when someone is walking with me. I know where the sidewalk ends, where the trees are, the potholes too.”

“That’s amazing.”

“Well, I grew up here and I could see, once. I can still see it in my mind. It’d be harder if I had to start over in a whole new place.”

“So what happened?”

“A rare disease with a fancy name you would probably forget as soon as I said it. We didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late. And even if we had known sooner, there probably wouldn’t have been anything anyone could do.”

“How old were you?”


I swallowed. My life had changed at eleven too. But in a totally different way. Before I could comment, Amelie came to a stop.

“This is me. This is it.” She snapped her stick back out and tapped it in front of her, turning toward a little wrought iron fence and stopping as her stick rattled against it. She released my arm and stepped away, feeling for the latch on the gate and releasing it easily. The house was old, turn-of-the-century old, if not older, and it was still stately, though the smattering of snow and the darkness camouflaged the yard and the large, wrap-around porch that had seen better days. Light shone from the upstairs windows, and the walk and the steps were clear. Amelie seemed comfortable traversing them, so I stayed by the gate, waiting until she was safely inside. She stopped about half-way down the path and turned slightly.

“David?” she asked, raising her voice as if she wasn’t sure I remained.


“Thank you for walking me home.”

“You’re welcome.”

I waited until the front door closed behind her before I turned away. The snow had stopped and the world was so still I sang to keep myself company, closing my eyes now and then and counting my steps, wondering how it would be to not see at all, and wondering how a blind girl had ended up dancing in my club.

(End of Cassette)


MILLIE REACHED FOR the tape recorder, sliding her fingers along the buttons until she reached the one she wanted. Then she pressed it down and Tag’s voice ceased. She sat gripping the player as if she were holding onto the memory. The room was filled with expectancy, with anticipation. I’d heard it in Tag’s voice, felt it in the care with which he remembered the details, and felt his wonder as he retraced his steps. He’d pulled me in, and I’d forgotten for a moment where I was. But now I felt awkward, intrusive, and I wanted to put my hands over my ears.

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