SONGS OF CINEMA by Michael Bolton
Genre: Blue-Eyed Soul, Adult Contemporary
Favorite Songs: “As Time Goes By,” “Jack Sparrow (Ballad),” “Cupid,” “When A Man Loves a Woman (2017 Version)”
In every other way, it was a normal Tuesday evening. I sat on the balcony of my beachfront third-story condominium timeshare, enjoying the comfort of my favorite easy chair and a glass of Napa Valley red as the tide came and went below me. As the foamy waves went back toward the ocean, they left behind a small, shiny, square object that caught the reflection of the sun’s glare and created a small rainbow—the covenant between God and man. I placed my glass on my antique 19th century side table and absconded to the beachfront to retrieve this most sacred object.
I stumbled through the hearth of the condominium complex. The spot where the mysterious object lay still shone upward, and a beacon of light from above guided me toward it. I arrived at the resting place of whatever divine artifact awaited me on this publically owned subsection of the Pacific waterfront and discovered what appeared to be a jeweled compact disc case, marked and stained by presumably many years at sea. I was dumbstruck—what secrets awaited me in this plastic CD case? Eternal youth? Infinite knowledge? Ho, what gift had God from on high sent to us?
I took it upstairs to my beachfront third-story condominium timeshare and scrubbed away at the grit and grime to reveal the words “SONGS OF CINEMA” in an unremarkable and italicized serif font, and then the face of an older, blonde Caucasian man. His hair was cropped short, his eyes smiled along with his mouth, and his left ear was pierced (so that we knew that he was a cool guy who gets piercings, but also not “gay”). Sporting a sharp black vest and grey tie, the man casually held a black sportcoat over his shoulder with a single finger, as if to imply the tiniest bit of edge and nonchalantness; the proverbial knife that was this man is enough to prick the finger and draw droplets of red blood, but given intimate access to the nooks and crannies of one’s corpus, shivering with uncertainty but also sweet, agonizing anticipation, it would bring you no harm. Still mesmerized by the visage before me, I wiped away the last of the residue to reveal a name for this striking figure: Michael Bolton.
I said his name aloud. Michael Bolton. Michael Bolton. It rolled off the tongue and implied a quiet strength; a lover, not a fighter, who would rather resolve conflict peacefully, but certainly would throw a punch or two if necessary. I opened the case and found a compact disc, which I swiftly placed in my antique, 1999-vintage Coby battery-powered CD player and FM tuner. As I nestled into my restored leather sofa, what I heard changed my life forever. Images of films that must have been made years ago immediately flashed into my vision. I saw Meg Ryan comforting that guy who played Terry in the OCEAN’S ELEVEN series on a park bench. I saw four boys discover a body on the Oregon coast. I saw Tom Cruise sliding around a hardwood floor in his underwear. And right there, guiding me along this journey, was that beautiful man in his dapper suit. I think Dolly Parton was there for a second too.
When it ended, I craved more. My knowledge of middling romantic comedies and iconoclastic ‘80s teen movies yearned to expand. But, as I practically punched the play button on that small, flimsy antique sound machine, the CD would not play. I fell to my knees and cried to the heavens, “Why? Why do you give such bounty, then take it so quickly!” I wept for what felt like days; I could not be consoled with Michael McDonald, or Lionel Richie, or even Air Supply. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the case, adorned with the grinning mug of that glamourous GILF, begin to glow again. I ran towards the light, and I could swear that he winked at me before the case turned to gold dust and ascended to the heavens. I checked the Coby for the CD, and it was gone too.
Though I am still, to this day, in an immense melancholy over the loss of my prized possession, I have come to realize that some things will be sullied if enjoyed more than once and thought about too much, like the film LA LA LAND or a delicious but ethically dubious Chick-Fil-A sandwich. Also, the cover of “I Will Always Love You” that was on SONGS OF CINEMA was just kind of bad. Nonetheless, Michael Bolton brought me an evening and an experience that I will never, ever forget, and I hope that when I cross this mortal plane, we can be together again. I will treasure the memories we made together until the end of time.