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Please Don't Take My Sunshine Away

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Harry sang. And everyone knew it. Harry sang to street corners when his mom ducked into a store and told him to stay right there. Harry sang to himself when people wouldn’t pay attention to him. Harry sang to the stars when he would sneak out of his house at night. Harry sang.

Harry’s mother talked. And everyone knew it. Harry’s mother talked to people in stores for hours on end, usually forgetting her son who was probably singing on the street corner. Harry’s mother talked to herself when people weren’t paying attention to her. Harry’s mother never talked to the stars though and maybe that was the reason why she didn’t understand her son. It could also have been the fact that Harry’s mother talked.

And Harry didn’t see anything wrong in singing, nor did he see anything wrong in talking so when his mother told him he couldn’t just sing all the time, he had to talk sometimes, he knew she was wrong.

And Harry’s mother didn’t understand what was wrong with talking, but she did understand the ways of the world, so when her son refused to do anything but sing, she knew he was wrong.

So it was no surprise that Harry was labeled a “slow learner” when he found himself unable to answer simple questions in class because he couldn’t find the right song.

It was also no surprise that Harry’s mother finally shut up after hearing one too many questions about her odd ball son. Whether that had to do with the inability to hear harsh words spoken against her son, or her unwillingness to risk dropping in social standing, well, no one knows. But it wasn’t surprising.

And Harry learned to shut up right alongside her.

Now don’t go getting soft for the boy, he had to learn to talk eventually, didn’t he?

And he did. He was mighty good at it too. Soon his talking voice almost surpassed his singing voice. But Harry still sang. Harry still sang to the street corners he would find himself on when he wandered away from the people he was talking to. Harry still sang to himself because there were times that people still didn’t pay attention to him. Harry still sang to the stars because Harry had found himself addicted to sneaking out at night. Harry still sang.

But people didn’t care so much anymore so Harry didn’t care so much anymore either. Talking was easier, they said, so talking was easier, he decided. Singing was only on occasion, they said, so singing was only on occasion, he decided. But Harry still sang because he liked the feeling it gave him. They never said anything about the feeling it gave him so it was ok, he decided. And he decided that on his own.

He also decided on his own that he was living next to a very beautiful boy. He decided this on August 2nd; 3 days after the beautiful boy moved in. And he decided this on his own because the boy made him feel the way music did inside. No one had ever said anything about the way the peter pan-like boy made him feel, so he was beautiful, Harry decided.

One day when the moon was particularly large in the sky (and Harry would know, he had snuck out to see the moon every night that month), something happened. And when Harry said something happened, it always meant that something happened.

The whole thing started out as a moon too big for the sky and it ended with the beautiful peter pan boy’s arms being wrapped around him the entire night, but the in-between section started with how Harry heard a faint voice. Only the faint voice wasn’t talking, because Harry always felt uncomfortable when someone was talking but this time he felt at ease. And that made him so happy because he knew what that sound was and it was coming from the beautiful boy’s house and the beautiful boy sings too.

Harry thought a lot especially now that he didn’t sing as much but in that moment underneath the swollen moon he didn’t think one thought except for the beautiful boy sings too and although Harry was naïve, he wasn’t usually spectacularly naïve unless he wasn’t thinking. But he had enough sense placed in his head to know that singing wasn’t always the same for everyone, that he liked it a bit too much although he still wondered what was wrong with that. So he cautiously approached the bushes separating the two houses and peered into the spot where his mother had chopped off a large portion of the bush claiming that it was choking her gardenias to death. And when he peeked in, his thoughts switched from the beautiful boy sings too to the beautiful boy sneaks out at night too but then right back to the beautiful boy sings too because the boy’s voice was the most fascinating thing he’d ever heard, he decided. And because no one had yet told him otherwise, he was certain.

But now the boy was singing a song he knew and although warnings were bouncing around his head and echoing in his ears he only seemed to remember one thing. He was Harry. And Harry sang.

So Harry sang.

And when Harry sang, the world disappeared around him because nothing was more important than singing, he decided. Except maybe the beautiful peter pan boy but he wouldn’t know that yet.

And when Harry sang, the world stopped to listen to him, whether that was a good thing or not. Harry didn’t understand why people got nervous when they sang; I mean it wasn’t like people got nervous when they talked. And to Harry, singing was just like talking, only easier. But that confused him because everyone told him talking was easier than singing, only it wasn’t.

But it wasn’t a surprise when Harry’s voice faltered upon seeing a small head peer around the bushes.

It also wasn’t a surprise when the beautiful boy’s step faltered upon seeing the moon’s glare reflected off of Harry’s stunning face, radiating with a serenity so intense, the boy found himself taking a small step back.

And when Harry finished singing they both were silent. What do you say to someone who understands you in a brief series of notes written on invisible lines, the chords still lingering above your heads? Do you say I love you, or is that too soon for two sophomores too small for their age? Do you say I want to spend every moment of my life with you, or is that too rash for two confused boys who liked singing to the stars?

It’s just that Harry felt love like he felt the night sky with no interruptions. He felt love like he felt an endless road trip going nowhere but everywhere. He felt love like he felt perfectly positioned words in a notebook. He felt love like he felt a flickering street lamp on an old cobblestone street, but mostly Harry felt love like he felt music. And if the beautiful boy could simply stand there and ignite orchestras inside Harry, it must be love. And since no one had told him a thing about love, he decided it had to be.

So naturally, Harry started to sing along to the symphonies the peter pan boy was starting in his mind and ever so gently he felt his hand being grabbed and lifted and he couldn’t tell whether his feet were still touching the ground but the symphonies of his mind were playing fortissimo, especially when another feather light hand was fluttering around his waist, swaying with him to the beat of the song of their hearts, perfectly in tune.

And it was no surprise to Harry’s mother when she found her son molded into the chest of the beautiful boy next door, shivering ever so slightly from the damp ground where they lay.

It was also no surprise to Harry’s mother when Harry would arrive slightly late to dinner every day, cheeks flushed a quiet pink, eyes bright and sparkling.

Nor was it a surprise when she received a call from the woman next door, asking her where in god’s name did her son get a voice like that and how much she appreciated hearing music in their house practically every day.

Some fall in love with words, she thought to herself one day. Some fall in love with the cadence of the natural voice ebbing and flowing, or with the content of the message. But only the special ones, she thought. Only the special ones fall in love under invisible notes scripted onto invisible lines. She shook her head. Maybe she had been spending too much time under the stars.

Still she would have liked to have known what the song was that started it all. Harry had not yet told her anything about that first night in the garden, other than the fact that it all happened under a moon too big for anything but miracles.

But Harry wasn’t the best for keeping secrets, nor was he particularly good at keeping his voice down, so when the beautiful boy from next door came over that night, she wasn’t even attempting to eavesdrop when she heard them start to discuss that night almost a year prior. And she certainly wasn’t eavesdropping when she heard the voice she had grown to know better than anything else in her life start to sing a song she’d never heard him sing.

You are my sunshine

My only sunshine

You make me happy when skies are gray

You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you

And she could practically see the beautiful boy’s arms wrapped around her son, like she had that day in the garden, stroking his hair with a feather light touch.

Please don’t take my sunshine away.