A Life of Letters

Do You Still Want Me to Play, Or Should We Call It a Day?

Posted in 1977, Loves, Nancy by southpawcom on January 12, 2010

Nancy was my girlfriend in the first semester of 11th grade in the fall of 1975. She had a pixieish face framed with a layered blond ’70s hairstyle. Over her blue eyes was a pair of gold aviator frame glasses. She wore a musk perfume.

Nancy played the piano better than I. She also sang in the exclusive girls’ vocal and handbell ensemble at Bloomfield Hills Andover High School, the Jills. I remember, too, that she played in the marching band, and I can remember some crisp evenings in the stands watching her play at half-time that fall and how she looked in her band uniform and hat (pleasing in a fetishist sort of way), but I don’t remember what band instrument she played.

As time went by, she ended up going out with Ted, my best friend. I don’t remember all of the circumstances, but I seem to recall that she broke up with me and soon was seen hand-in-hand in the hallways with Ted. I don’t remember being heartbroken about it, and I sure didn’t resent my pal for that.

In spite of it, though, I wrote a pretty decent song for her, titled simply enough, “Nancy.” I could probably still play most of the ballad on the piano, or at least fake it, and I’m pretty sure I could sing it entirely. I was asked a lot in high school to play the song at parties or when people were gathered around the piano before choir class. The chorus:

What can you be thinking, Nancy

When you throw it all away?

What are you feeling, Nancy?

Do you still want me to play?

Or should we call it a day, girl?

Oh, Nancy. Oh, Nancy.

By the time she wrote me this letter, she was in her freshman year at Michigan State, obviously enjoying all of the fruits of being young, upper-middle class, and unchaperoned. She had fallen back squarely into the realm of “friend” by this point and was eager to share her new experiences with me.

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