So I stopped Top Management dead in her tracks today. Literally. Well, literally stopped her in her tracks—not so much, fortunately, the dead part.
We were out on our morning walk, pretty much the most sheerly pleasant part of our day. We have about a dozen different routes we cycle through, and this was one of the less strenuous and just plain prettiest. We say hello to distant neighbors walking dogs or watering their flower gardens or hustling their late children off to school. We hold hands until my palm gets too sweaty and Top Management subtly removes her hand and dries it off on her jeans. I retaliate by waiting until we're passing someone—preferably a male—and then casually resting my hand on her ass.
Anyhoo. We're on our walk and somehow talk turns to the recent illegal but amazing adaptation of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" someone did, turning it into a children's board book. It was gorgeous and oh so spot on. "Except for getting the end wrong," I said. "Obviously."
Top Management looks puzzled. She'd only looked at the first few pages as, like me, only even more so, perhaps, she likes to have "her" version of stories and songs, without having someone else's images implanted in her bizarrely retentive memory. Since she had even gotten to the halfway point, she didn't realize that the illustrator had erroneously interpreted the song's ending. In his version, there's a mechanical failure, and Major Tom is stuck up in space, forever.
"Well...yeah," she said. "That is what happens. His ship malfunctions and he's stranded in space. Ground Control to Major Tom, your circuit's dead, there's something wrong."
"No," I said. "No. Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles, I'm feeling very still, and I think my spaceship knows which way to go. The circuit's dead because he turned it off. He looked down at earth from up above there and he decided to stay. And he's okay with that. He feels like he's finally home."
That's when she stopped, right in the middle of the street we were crossing.
"You used to listen to that song every day."
"Every single day."
"As you were getting ready for school."
"Sophomore and junior year of high school, yeah. Ruined the tape, I listened to it so many times."
Her mouth dropped open. "And you listened to that song...and you thought he willingly decided to leave his wife down below on earth so he could die alone in space."
"Uh..." I said, suddenly realizing I was on thin ice. "Well...yeah. I mean, he still loves her and everything..."
She started to laugh as we began walking again. "You listened to that song hundreds, maybe thousands of times. And that's what you got out it. That was the interpretation that resonated with you." She shook her head. "If you had told me that part of the story when we first started dating..."
She shrugged. "Probably nothing." Improbably, unexpectedly, undeservedly, she stands on tiptoe and gives me a kiss. "I like a challenge."
I mean, come on! Listen to that! Clearly he decided to stay up there! ...right? How beautiful is that?