In the Shape of a Heart (MIMM Challenge)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is a story I wrote for a challenge. I have seen Jackson Browne in concert and he is to me still a top notch performer. I was taken by this paticular song. I have included the song at the end of my story. I hope you enjoy it. Susan :)

I had finished my business meeting early. Tired and spent I had about three hours to kill before my flight would take me home. I traveled to Houston on company business once a month and would be just as happy to leave this time around. I was not unfamiliar with the night life and decided to have a drink while waiting for my departure. The Mercury bar and lounge was not too far from the hotel I was staying at. A phone call later and I rode away in the cab.
I arrived at the club somewhere around nine thirty. I was still dressed in my business clothing and felt more than a little uncomfortable. Everywhere I looked the clothing was a wave of denim and cowboy boots. Silently and swiftly I made my way to the first vacant barstool and parked myself.
A rather large burly looking man with a cowboy hat on greeted me with a grin and said in a heavy southern drawl, “Howdy Missy, what’s your pleasure?”
I could not help but smile as the words left his mouth. It had been many years since my last drink and I sat for a moment wondering what my pleasure really was.
“An amaretto sour frozen,” I finally answered hoping he would take my order and fix it quickly.
“Here on business or pleasure?” the bartender asked trying to make small talk.
“Business,” I replied, “Say is there a band tonight?”
“Yep,” he said smiling, “He plays here all the time. Think you might like him. He’s a pretty popular fella.”
“Okay, thanks,” I replied taking a drink of my cocktail, “You did great on the drink.”
He smiled and tipped his hat at me. I sat and sipped my drink waiting for the show to start. I could feel that first little buzz I always got from any type of alcohol and hoped the bartender was right about the entertainment. I did not have to wait long to find out. The band returned and started to play. I was flying high and loving it. It was then I noticed the singer. He stood about six foot tall and had dark hair. I did not know for sure but he looked to be a least part Mexican. His eyes are what caught me off guard; they were the most beautiful shade of blue I had ever seen. He had on a ripped pair of tight jeans and a loose fitting shirt he wore unbuttoned thus exposing the white T-shirt he had on. There was something that drew me to him, maybe it was the drink, or perhaps that aura of sadness he possessed. He approached the mike and started singing.
“Was a ruby that she wore on a chain around her neck in the shape of a heart,” he sang with that southern drawl I loved so well.
I sat on my barstool and absorbed the song. It was so sad and heart wrenching. The song without him singing it would probably not have brought the tears to my eyes. It was magic as he belted out the chorus.
“People speak of love, don’t know what they’re thinking of, wait around for the one who fits just like a glove, speak in terms of belief and belonging try to put some name to their longing. People speak of love,” he sang and I sat at the edge of my barstool melting like snow in springtime.
I had never seen anyone put so much of their heart and soul into a performance as he did, guess I never will again. He finished the song and his set. I eyed him as he found a table and sat down. Generally I am a very shy person, but this guy I really wanted to meet. Taking a big gulp of my drink for courage I casually walked to where he was. The rest of the band members after mingling with the crowd were making their way to his table as well. I stood there for a moment just staring at him. I must have looked a total fool or one of those people who stalks celebrities.
“Is there somethin’ wrong, Ma’am?” one of the band members finally asked with a grin on his face.
“Oh!” I finally said snapping out of my daydream and staring at the vocalist, “I just wondered if I might talk with you for a second? That song you performed and the way you sang it was just amazing.”
The band members started laughing and clapping each other on the back. I could feel the color rising in my cheeks and I wondered what had possessed me to express my excitement in such a manner.
“Okay boys,” he finally said glaring at his band, “Get lost for a few. Me and this lady here are going to have a talk.”
With his foot he pushed one of the chairs out and motioned for me to have a seat. I did so not sure what it was about him I found so attractive and appealing.
“Can I freshen up your drink?” he asked looking me up and down as if I were some type of bizarre creature from another planet.
“No,” I stammered placing my hand over my drink, “Could I buy you one?”
Even though he laughed at my comment a deep hollow sadness resounded in his voice. I wondered what had brought him down so low.
“Swore off the sauce about two year ago,” he replied pointing to the glass in front of him, “These days Coke is about all I drink.”
We sat for a moment in a rather uncomfortable silence when he looked me dead in the eyes and said, “I wrote that song for a friend of mine.”
“Well it was just the best,” I answered as I waited for more of his story.
“The guy I wrote it for well he and his childhood sweetheart got married right after high school. He was a singer and the girl fancied herself in love with him. He gave her the necklace right after they were married. That girl wore it all the time. A cheap little necklace with a stone that looked like a heart-shaped ruby,” he said with a far away look in those beautiful blue eyes.
“He adored her and she said she loved him. I wonder sometimes if she really did. Well to make a long story short he ran the bars performing, she for awhile till the baby came along went with him. They had troubles and problems along the way, but she rode it out with him. He started drinking heavy and smoking dope, she took care of the baby and tried to hold the marriage together as best she could. It wasn’t long before the fighting started between the two of them. She wanted better and he just would not give up his life style,” he said and then took a drink of his Coke.
“Guess he just didn’t realize what she was going through,” I said sympathetically, “You know her having the baby and all.”
“Yep,” he said going back into that trance like state, “Like I sang in the song, she up and left him one night. She packed her stuff and headed back to her parents with the baby. He knew it was over when he found the necklace on the nightstand. She didn’t have to leave a note. He knew she was done.”
I watched him as he ran his fingers through his hair. Not sure whether he had finished his story or not I sat waiting. In the corner of his eyes I saw what looked like tears. I placed my hand over his. He sighed and tried to smile.
“He went on with his music career,” he said choking the words out, “She filed for divorce. I guess some good did come from it all. He cleaned up his act and maybe one day she’ll see that he still loves her.”
I thought about all he had told me in his story. How love blossoms and grows and then when left unattended it withers and dies. I had been in love so many times and felt the sting of disappointment and frustration. I wondered if anyone really knew what love was and if they did know could they even see how fragile it was.
“I think it was kind of you to write the song for him,” I finally answered, “It is a beautiful song and anyone who’s been there can relate to it. I hope the two of them can work things out. It sounds as if they might if they really love each other.”
“Do you think so?” he asked flashing me a genuine smile.
“I think all things are possible,” I replied smiling back at him, “If we just put a little effort into it.”
“Thanks,” he said.
I noticed what time it was and thanked him for the song and story. He thanked me for the ear and friendship, but as I got up to leave he reached into his shirt pocket and withdrew something. In his hand he held the necklace she had worn so faithfully around her neck.
“I already knew,” I said as I headed for the door.


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Submitted: March 20, 2010

© Copyright 2021 Mistress of Word Play. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



I get to read first and comment. I loved it! Never heard the song, but I agree a total tear jerker. You did a great job on the write. Tanya

Sat, March 20th, 2010 4:40pm


Hi Tanya thank you so much. I am so glad you liked it. It is a tear jerker, but I just love this song. Susan :)

Sat, March 20th, 2010 1:06pm

lily of the nile

You had me going there. I thought this really happened. I love this song. I must say the story was just amazing. Good luck my friend. Lily

Sat, March 20th, 2010 5:57pm


HA! I got you! Thank you Lily. Susan :)

Sat, March 20th, 2010 1:25pm


Cool story. I am a big Jackson Browne fan and this is one of my favorites too. Impressive write. You had me believing this acutually took place. Good luck in your challenge. Whether you win or not this was perfection. M

Sat, March 20th, 2010 6:17pm


Hi M and thank you. I just love this song and you are so right about the challenge. I had a ball writing this one. Susan :)

Sat, March 20th, 2010 12:59pm


I liked this story you told with such care. Beautiful as is the song it came from. You did an excellent job. Good luck dear friend.

Sat, March 20th, 2010 11:44pm


Hi Myra and thank you dear friend so glad you liked it. Susan :)

Sun, March 21st, 2010 2:03pm


Nice one my friend. Sorry been awhile. You know they have been working me hard. This was great. I actually have been to the bar you wrote about. You had me thinking it actually happened as well. Chad

Sun, March 21st, 2010 7:34pm


Hi Chad and thank you. Remember I was born in Texas. I do know my way around that paticular state. Susan :)

Sun, March 21st, 2010 2:04pm


I liked this story. Seemed real to me. I enjoyed the song you picked too. Goes well with the story.

Mon, March 22nd, 2010 2:21am


Hi Gloria and thank you. I guess everyone felt it was real. Guess I did a good job. Susan :)

Mon, March 22nd, 2010 11:18am

Timeless Thought

HaH! Had them all going on this one. They are right it does sound like it actually happened. You done good honey! Good luck. Like this song. Gary

Mon, March 22nd, 2010 2:52pm


Hi Sweetie! Thank you love. Who knows it might have. Susan :)

Mon, March 22nd, 2010 11:07am


I liked this tale you told so well. I believed it really happened as well. Excellent story dear lady. Good show on this one!

Mon, March 22nd, 2010 4:27pm


Thank you dear friend much appreciated. Susan :)

Mon, March 22nd, 2010 11:00am


HI Susan!
I really liked this story. It sorta had me on edge. I thought it was going to morph into one of your supernatural thrillers. It didn't. Nevertheless, it was well told. I didn't realize your writing was so extensive.

Mon, March 22nd, 2010 9:13pm


Hi Shorty. I don't always write creepy murder stories. Glad you enjoyed it. I write just about everything. Thank you! Susan :)

Mon, March 22nd, 2010 3:38pm

writing man

Nice story. I liked the end. I sort of knew myself it was him. Like this song. Good choice!

Mon, March 22nd, 2010 9:28pm


Hi and thank you so much. I really appreciate the read and comment. Susan :)

Tue, March 23rd, 2010 7:16am


Oh this story was amazing. you did a great job with this one. I enjoyed reading this. good luck in the challenge my friend. Jessica :)

Mon, March 22nd, 2010 11:27pm


Hi Jessica and thank you. I entered Angellynn's challenge. You should give it a whirl. Susan :)

Mon, March 22nd, 2010 4:30pm


Wow! A great write and beautiful song. You rock with your writing Susan - you have to win this one - Good Luck. Blessings always Chiqui

Tue, March 23rd, 2010 7:08am


Hi Chiqui and thank you. He is an awesome entertainer and still one of my favorites. This song always got me when I would listen to it. Susan :)

Tue, March 23rd, 2010 7:08am


I enjoyed this story you told. I even remember the song. Lord knows you listened to it enough. I liked the part at the end the best. You did great! Good luck in the challenge. Angie :)

Tue, March 23rd, 2010 3:41pm


Hi Angie and thank you. :)

Wed, March 24th, 2010 8:28am

Susan Vallante

That was a really...nice story. I don't mean that in a bad way at all, I mean that because it wasn't violent or scary it was a nice change. Not that the other entries are bad because they've got a little action in them...okay now I'm just talking myself in a hole *sigh* And when you consider my current state of residence I could easily see myself in that bar with all those cowboys! Thanks again for entering!

Tue, March 23rd, 2010 9:29pm


Thank you my friend everytime I hear this song it reminds me of this story. Heartache and lives changed. Always hope in the back drop though. Thank you for hosting this one. I had fun. Susan :)

Wed, March 24th, 2010 10:04am


Well done on this story. Had me going as you did the others. I like the way you told this one. Good luck dear friend.

Wed, March 24th, 2010 7:04am


Hi Daniel and thank you so much. Susan :)

Wed, March 24th, 2010 8:24am


This was a sweet story, well-written, and not overdone. I'm glad you entered the contest and I wish you the best of luck.


Wed, March 24th, 2010 7:22pm


Hi Kilo and thank you. Everyone did a really great job on their stories. I always loved this song. I still do. It has so much of real life contained in the lyrics, but the way it is put together makes the harshness beautiful. Susan :)

Thu, March 25th, 2010 4:20pm

isabella T

You have music here. Love this one!

Mon, March 29th, 2010 2:08pm


Hi Isabella and thank you so much. Susan :)

Mon, March 29th, 2010 9:45am


This is a really great story. I liked it! Thomas

Wed, April 7th, 2010 8:16pm


Thank you Tommy. I appreciate it. Susan :)

Wed, April 7th, 2010 1:22pm

Adelaide DeWitt

amazing story :)
i love it :)

Mon, April 19th, 2010 11:00pm


Hi my friend and thank you. I always loved the song. It is still one of my favorites. Susan :)

Mon, April 19th, 2010 4:13pm

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