When I was little, I wanted to be a singer. I loved the way words curled around my tongue and filled my mouth with emotions. In some cases, my first taste of an emotion was through song, rather than experience. I loved listening to my Dad sing. He would stop working and focused completely on the song. His deep voice filled a room or the car and his eyes softened, as if taking on this other persona for 2 1/2 minutes meant he got to be himself. He was fully open when he sang. I imagine he was the same when making arguments in court.
One year, I got a tape recorder for Christmas. I hurried to my playroom, aptly called the middle room because it was between my sister’s room and mine. I used two hands to press down the record and play buttons. I sang into that recorder with all my heart. And then sat, horrified, as I listened to the playback. Surely that wasn’t really my voice–that flat and tinny pancake voice sounded nothing like the tones in my head. I sat on that wood floor, the future applause dying, the stage lights disappearing, the divine costumes pooling around me. Sweet famous singer me, her imaginary headstone–a plastic tape recorder.