I have a confession to make: I can't sing.
I don't know when it happened. I was in choir my entire youth. I sang duets and solos in church. I played Marty in my high school production of Grease. I did a good job with "Freddy, My Love." My public, they loved me.
Maybe it was the college and post-college years of pack-a-day smoking. Maybe it's that I used to sing soprano, and now I should sing alto, but I really don't know how. Maybe it's that sometimes when you're younger you can do things (I used to be fairly adept at drawing), then when you get older, those talents just poof away, replaced by skills like balancing a checkbook or knowing how to get Microsoft Paint to let you undo more than one thing at a time. Maybe it was the 13 phone numbers I've had since I left home. Maybe all that memorizing of useless data fried my vocal chords.
Maybe I could NEVER sing and people were just humoring me this whole time.
I've known for a while I can't sing. When I'm sitting in church, I fake it most of the time. I pretend I'm attending to the little angel's needs if there are people in the pew in front of me. My beloved knows I can't sing, but he never knew I could, so like so many things about me he hears but does not believe, he can't fathom me ever having been able to do it. I can't get him to sit through the ancient video recording of Grease. Maybe because it's on Beta.
I did think, though, that the angel was fooled. Ever since she was a wee tot, I've been singing to her in the bathtub. Usually "Splish, Splash." She used to like it. At least, she pretended to like it. Then, there was tonight. I plopped her in the tub, along with her favorite bath toys: Duckie, Mesh Duckie, Rain, Boat, Walrus Cu Cu Cachu, Frog, Hippo and Fishie. She splashed away with delight. Absentmindedly, I began to sing, thinking of New Year's Eve, and how my mother would be giving the little angel a bath while I put on my pretty new hip shirt from a Chicago boutique (thanks, Sister Little) and fun jewely and even high heels and went out on the town with my high school friends, who even to this day offered up booze cruising on gravel roads as a potential option for the evening.
Not that I ever did that in high school, of course.
Halfway through the first verse, the little angel stopped her splashing, Mesh Duckie hanging from one pudgy finger.
Little Angel: "Mama, no sing."
I choked on my gum.
Little Angel: "NO SING."