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Sunday, January 26, 2014

She Sang With Abandon to a Song on the Radio.


About ten years ago, I went to a coffee shop in Parksville to meet a friend. Another patron was there, a woman who looked to be in her early twenties; there was something going on with her that gave the impression that she was developmentally challenged—something in her posture or her speech—but that's not what ultimately drew my attention to her.

"Unbreak My Heart" was playing in the café via a local radio broadcast, and this young woman was quietly singing her guts out to this song. Her eyes were closed; tears streamed down her face; her hands gestured with every word. She didn't seem sad—she just seemed like she was deeply connecting with the song itself.

I'd heard this song a million times over the years—I liked it well enough—but somehow this woman changed the whole feel of the song. It was such a vulnerable, childlike, private display that I was, at first, unsettled, but her freedom and expressiveness moved me so deeply that I've never forgotten her. I hope that wherever she is today that she still has the same unfettered freedom and innocence.

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