The Song That Changed Your Life
Yolanda by Christopher Levan
This story is on the shortlist for The Song That Changed Your Life challenge.
Video source: Youtube.
Yolanda? Is that you?
Sing for me one more time?
True, you don’t exist. But I’m willing to overlook that little detail, if you’ll refrain from making fun of my receding hair-line.
So good to hear you again! You know neither of us is young any longer. I’m touching sixty and you’re not far behind me. But we’re a pair! Okay, you’re a love song and I’m a hopeless romantic. But from where I sit that makes us a perfect match. You live as poetry. I am an ever-willing pair of ears.
Do you recall when we first met? It was back in ‘92. I was sitting in an outdoor cafe in old Havana and you were the third song of the second set of a street performer. Remember how he had that outrageous mustache that twitched every time he took a deep breath. Sure, he mangled some of your verses, but I fell for you anyway. So sweet, so sensual and so impossibly tangible. Never has a melody spoken so quickly and eternally to my soul.
Yolanda, you’re my dream. What a memorable opening line you’ve got: “Esto no puede ser no mas que un cancion.” (“This can’t be just a song”) Never was a truer verse written. Your lyrics say it all: “It is the touch of your hand that calms me.” “You strip away all my pretences with a single word.” And your ending? It’s so intoxicatingly Latin: “If I must die, may it be at your side. ... for all eternity!” I have been a singer all my life, but no song captures my heart, my dreams the way you do!
I’m not crazy! I realize that you’re a song, the creation of Pablo Milanes. You don’t exist, not in the traditional sense. But for me, you are so real: a symbol of all that Cuba can be. I fell for you and the country that holds you dear. I’ve come back countless times to what is now my second home where I have a new family and growing circle of friends. In Canada, we have winter. In Cuba there is “Yolanda.”
You’re now famous, a standard in the repertoire of every Cuban quartet. To most tourists you’re nothing more than a musical interlude between sips of rum. So I won’t tell them if you don’t. We’re two lovers wrapped up “eternamente!”
Christopher Levan is from Toronto, ON.