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January 27, 2009 by · 1 comment

Renee Rigdon

Photo: computerhotline

My grandmother always told me I should sing not to the pretty girls but to the heavens. The heavens, she said, would always be there for me, but the girls would just flit in and out until I got some God in my life. She was full of these bits of unasked for, unwanted wisdom.

I would nod my head, promise to go to church and sing in the choir … then go home and call Penelope Woodridge and sing to her instead. The problem with heaven is you can’t see it, but you can see a pretty girl, feel inspired by her, and create music to which love can grow. I never believed so much in the heavens as I did in the girls. My grandmother is probably shifting in her urn just to hear me say it.

My songs were only for Penelope’s ears; the notes of music are the words of love.

She loved me back, I think. But there are fast cars and fast boys out there who can’t write a song to save themselves from disaster. It seemed right that Penelope left me for a soccer player with a scar on his nose and a gravelly voice. I wished them the best, or at least that’s what I told myself.
After Penelope, I came to a hilltop, far out of town.

I just wanted to be away from the girls that I knew then would never listen to the songs from my lips. For the first time in my life, I sang to the heavens. I sang songs of my pain. I wrote songs for the stars.

I was broken from my song-trance by a hand on my shoulder. To my surprise, all that was beautiful in the world stood in front of me in jeans and a tank top. She had gorgeous blonde hair sweeping down to her waist, in the darkness, the moon lit up her pale blue eyes. She was small and bright like a star in the sky.

“I liked your song. My name is Tay. Well, Taygete. My parents had a bad sense of humor.”
I felt the slow creep of the compliment over my skin.

“There are seven of us, each named for one of the Pleiades,” she continued.

I stared at her, deeply in love with this strange girl. She grabbed and guided my hand to a tiny constellation. “There. That’s the seven sisters. We were named for them. God save us from the mythology nerds, right?”

Until dawn came, I sang to Taygete songs better than any I had written before. In the morning, she took me to meet her sisters, each with those same sparkling eyes and open smiles. Every night thereafter I have sung to Taygete’s eyes, and Electra’s ears, Maya’s lips, and Alcyone’s fingertips.

I have written songs for Celeano’s hips, Sterope’s thighs, and Merope’s … well, I’ve had a lot to sing about. I sing to the stars now, of my own personal constellation. They sparkle around me, and give me the warmth of heavenly bodies, radiating fire into my life. One day they may leave me, but I will be their Orion, chasing them across the skies.

I doubt that this was what my grandmother meant when she told me to sing to the heavens, but you could never really make her happy anyway.

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