Rubber Soul

It’s made of rubber – my soul that is. It must be to have been pushed and nearly broken so many times. Like a rubber ball left in the sun it has, at times, developed cracks and fissures. Its outer layer has developed a hardened shell and yet, it somehow manages to bounce back.

My song, yes…I said my song, is Michelle, sung by Paul McCartney, adapted by my daddy and sung to me. I don’t know what came first, the song or my nickname, K-Belle, but the words go together well.

K-Belle you’re swell, these are words that go together well…my K-Belle.

He sang it to me often. It was my song  – his profession of love to me, written by Paul and re-written to suit us. The song he sang to tell the world how much he loved me.

I love you, I love you, I love you! That’s all I want to say.

These were the only words he knew I’d understand when I was 4 then 5 then 6. What child could know what troubles a grown man holds in his own soul? How can a small child ever understand that her Daddy isn’t a God dressed in a state trooper uniform, the brim of his Stetson pulled low and casting shadows on his eyes. How can a child fathom that her Daddy is simply human?

I need to, I need to, I need to, I need to make you see… Oh, what you mean to me.

I missed him. I longed for him to come back and prove that he wasn’t just a human. I wanted the God. I didn’t want his flaws or his weaknesses. In my teens, though he is still living, I mourned him and, eventually, I stopped remembering. My memories of us grew foggy and distant as I accumulated years. I’m left with snapshots of moments made tangible by the music we listened to. Music pulls those memories from their dusty place, sometimes unexpectedly and like a punch in the stomach.

The Beatles are the soundtrack of my earliest years, when he was still with us. There really is barely a song that doesn’t remind me of him. But this song, this simple little song sung by Paul and adapted to suit us, is the one I love the most.

I want you, I want you, I want you. I think you know by now. I’ll get to you somehow. Until I do I’m telling you so you’ll understand.

Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble, Très bien ensemble.” Those are words that go together well.

I love you too, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!

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  1. Kelli, this is lovely. It makes me sad. It also makes me smile knowing you and your dad had a song.

  2. This is the sort of thing that made me very excited about this week’s prompt. Music has a particular effect on our memory, so I knew that it would be a good chance for people to bring out some of their favorite or most touching, bittersweet moments from their own past. It can’t have been very easy, but this is such a great story, thanks for sharing it.

    • Thanks! I actually use music often as a prompt when writing to trigger memories and emotion. Essential tools for memoir 🙂

  3. Bittersweet and tender memories.

    Regardless of any damage to your soul, you have a Dad who loves you and embedded a song in your heart.

  4. This was beautiful. I think it’s wonderful you thought of your dad that way, I did too.
    I’m glad you have the music to remember him.

    • Thanks, Jen. He’s actually still with us but those teenage years were tough. I loved your choice of song for the prompt!!

  5. I was wondering when and where I’d see a different kind of Father’s Day post. This was exactly the kind of imperfect perfection I was hoping for. Because not all dads are there always and carrying a new pack of baseball cards in their back pocket to surprise their son with on a random Thursday.
    But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there, somehow.

  6. Perfect. When I read your title this morning, I had a feeling I was going to love the story behind it. I love the little preface at the beginning about your soul being rubber. I think this must be true in some way of all of us…but some of us are definitely made of sterner rubber/stuff, as Shakespeare would say. Like you, I would say.

    I like the way you interspersed Paul/your father’s lyrics with your emotions. This is what a good song should do…I think. It’s between the lines where the story lies.

    That moment when we realize our father’s our human is a hard one. We put them up on such a pedestal and expect the world that when they show themselves to be fallible it’s almost too much to take. You do such a great job of describing this period of your life. The love you feel coupled with the disappointment and feelings of abandonment make the song a bittersweet one.

  7. You are such a talented writer. I can totally relate to those feelings of seeing your father become human. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. You leave me interested, I always want to hear more of the story.

  9. Kelli, you are my hero.

  10. A rubber soul! Oh, how very excellent you are with words dear friend! I am so impressed by this whole post. I couldn’t even write about my dad today, not because I don’t know the good things I can focus on now, but because it would have been too emotionally …charged… for me to be able to give my hubby a good father’s day at the same time. 🙂 So reading this was wonderful because it said a lot of the things I was thinking but couldn’t put into words. You are AWESOME. Thank you Kelli.

  11. I love this. Very, very much.

  12. Wow! You are right! No matter what happened I also put him up on a pedestal. Great post Kel, but you forgot the all time classic, “I Wanna Be Kelli’s Cow!” <3

  13. This is beautiful. I love the way music can bring back such vivid memories. You’ve captured that perfectly here.

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