“Tantos veces eu soltei foguete…”
I never learned those lyrics. Miriam always sang this song, and I accompanied her on the guitar and pretended that I was singing, too, but, of course, I hopelessly floundered in Portuguese. Miriam used to play in her young years, too, and now it was all coming back to her, and, as time went by, the guitar became the anchorage, or the lifeboat, in the raging sea of her oncological diagnosis. A year passed, and, once, when I gave the guitar to Miriam, she could not press a chord. In several more weeks, the arm stopped moving altogether. We met in the waiting room eventually, and Miriam did not look me in the eyes. I said that I still could not master the lyrics, and she started to sing…
She sang and cried. With the last chord, she breathed out and told me that during the last five minutes she felt alive again. And she laughed. About a month later, her oncologist came up to me and quietly told me that Miriam was gone.
“Moonriver” was another song that we often shared. Now it will always stay “Miriam’s song”.