Lovely Day

Who: Fred
Age: 40
City: New York, NY
Profession: Taxi Driver

He owns an eco-friendly kind of taxi; they’re becoming popular these days. The A/C is on but not blasting at us, just enough to cool the beads of sweat on my forehead, nose, chin. A moment later, I notice beads slipping down my forearms as well. I let them. The music hits me like a ton of bricks. Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day”. I can’t help myself, “I love this song,” I explode at him. “Oh, yes, it’s a favorite for many,” he says from over his shoulder.

When I wake up in the morning, love… 

“Little do people know about the fella,” Fred continues. I see his thick, dark head of hair, parts of his cream shirt and a slice of his eyes through his rearview mirror. I can’t distinguish his nationality. “How you mean?” I ask. I’m hoping he won’t lower the volume to start a conversation when I just told the guy I want to hear it. He does. Damn it. He looks at me from his mirror, “Mr. Wither’s use to hit his women.” That stops me. “What?” I ask in shock. “Yes, he was known to express his feelings through his fist.”

A lovely day. Lovely day, lovely day, love-ly day…

Fred lets this statement land for a moment. Smart ass. I feed into it, “That’s crazy,” I exclaim. “Yes, it is,” he affirms. Another beat. I squint out at the Hudson, the sun setting on New Jersey. “My question to you, ma’am, is does it affect the way you appreciate this song now?”

Then I look at you and I world is al-right with me…

I’m speechless. I’m listening to this song in a way I’ve never done so in my life; a song that has shaped fond memories to millions of people, has been overplayed in movies and commercials, and has been memorized without even trying, by all – and yet the heart and soul, the creator, is a woman-beater?

Just one look at you, and I know it’s gonna be, a lovely day…

“That really sucks,” I say. Fred doesn’t say anything. I don’t know how to answer his question. I’m sure a lot will change, but I don’t want to assume so at the moment. Can we still enjoy a lovely song just the same? Do I want to?

Fred turns up the volume again.
I look back out the window.