He was cooking breakfast, oldies radio playing in the background, when it came across the news that it was the 44th anniversary of Sonny and Cher separating.
While noteworthy, this tidbit was nothing extraordinary, as people–especially those of celebrity status–unite and separate, marry and divorce, with regularity in this crazy society of ours.
Sonny and Cher
Bill and Nancy.
Joe and Sheila.
The game’s the same–the players just have different names.
Why, then, did he set down his spatula and start ruminating over Sonny and Cher? They were well before his time, they were of no relation to him–hell, he probably couldn’t identify them in a celebrity “Who’s Who” collage. No, there was no reason at all for him to lose a wink of sleep over these people.
But Sonny and Cher had once recorded a song, a song he first heard when he was a little kid, and that song made such an indelible impression on him that for this song, and this song alone, Sonny and Cher would remain important to him for the rest of his days.
While “I Got You Babe” would be recorded by other artists and stashed away as one of the era’s countless feel-good oldies, their version, for him, was sung with such sincere innocence, such honest smitteness, that it made Sonny and Cher synonymous with a love that his young heart had never known but wanted nothing more than to one day experience. It made him feel that with that one person by his side, any obstacle life placed before him would be fully surmountable. It made him feel like the world would stop turning before it spun without Sonny and Cher side-by-side.
But, as the DJ so unceremoniously reminded him on that frigid February morning, Sonny and Cher no longer shared that feeling, and the world had spun itself around the sun 44 times in their wake, crushing that romantic ideal long clung-to by his youthful heart. His breakfast smoked at his side, but he paid no heed, staring absently through his kitchen window, a tear trickling down his cheek, as he reminisced on the late Sonny, his untimely death causing him to ponder the answer to Cher’s question: Do you believe in life after love?
He isn’t the world’s most optimistic guy, but that part of him that still exists wants to believe so, for every time he sees a new woman, he truly feels like he’s falling in love all over again. There’s something about them–a smile, a curve, a flick of the hair–that captures his imagination, and that feeling comes to life, and Sonny and Cher sing tenderly.
And with each fling, every one-night-stand, it no longer matters that fairytales ceased to exist 44 years ago. He’s alive, and he believes. He’s that little kid again, sitting in the back seat of his dad’s van, listening to Sonny and Cher.
But then the morning comes, and with the sun comes the sobering realization that he isn’t as emotionally available as he thought he was the night before. So he skulks away, his head splitting, his hair a disheveled mess, as he fumbles in his pocket for his keys.
His phone splats on the pavement as his pocket turns inside-out, but, in all honesty, he couldn’t care less if his screen is cracked, haunted as he is by how different his life would be if he’d never met her.