Nov. 8, 2017
“Oh, we come on the ship they call the Mayflower We come on the ship that sailed the moon”
~ Paul Simon
My name is Angie Aparo.
"I am a selfish songwriter, using my melodies for personal therapeutic desires. I am a voyeur's dream and a poker player's nightmare."
I told the pilot that as I walked on the plane. He chuckled and said.
"I don't play poker with this plane son. I like to win. I like to arrive..."
I said, "touche" and settled in for a long flight, Atlanta to Tokyo.
It was a direct flight, fourteen hours, two meals and a mid day lunch. But three hours in, I couldn't relax. I've been flying since I was a teenager. You know (or maybe you don't), back when people smoked on planes and still drank liquor on the Johnny Carson Show. Now, as an adult, I usually loved to fly. It always gave me time to work, to write, to overthink..haha! But this journey was different. And I thought I knew that going in?
I kept telling myself it was because I was flying to a different world (Japan.) or that I was just nervous about playing music there for the first time. But while sitting in my seat, watching the GPS Gods trace the cartoon airplane across my screen, I heard a song in my head. I rifled through my phone, through my memos for the lyrics (I had always kept them near me) and I found it....
Paul Simon, ‘American Tune’.
I started reading....
“Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I’ve often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I’m all right, I’m all right
I’m just weary to my bones...”
My mental narration spun into melody. I sang it under my breath, in my half voice...
Eight bars in, I felt my selfish world evaporate. I found myself surrounded now by other travelers, a human flock in a metal bird...the screen said we were over Anchorage!
I sang on...
“I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered I don’t have a friend who feels at ease I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered Or driven to its knees Oh, but it’s all right, it’s all right For we lived so well, so long...”
I heard the melody rattle the bones of my skull and tingle the top of my arms. I said a prayer, it was simple...
“tell me what to do.”
And as my mind sang the bridge, my heart heard an answer...
“Begin, to begin."
WTF, I thought.. I was beginning. I had been in meditative bliss for six months, I started a non profit, I bought the fucking ticket!!
Then I felt anxious again....I thought of Joseph Campbell ...The Hero's Journey...and instantly I knew.....
I was crossing the threshold. Anchorage, almost half way to Japan, "begin, to begin."
I knew what it meant. The last year had removed all my worry of the future and the past, when a medical trauma ended my old life and forged another, but that was just the womb. This was initiation, a let go, can't get no, satisfaction initiation.
I felt better, but not really, until my voice got to the last verse..
“Oh, we come on the ship they call the Mayflower We come on the ship that sailed the moon We come in the age’s most uncertain hour And sing an American tune Oh, it’s all right, it’s all right You can’t be forever blessed”
As I sang, I pulled them in, all of them who journeyed for freedom, who journeyed for the spirit...all of those who crossed their own threshold.
I spoke the last few lines...
for all of us.
“Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day And I’m trying to get some rest That’s all I’m trying, to get some rest”
Just then, a across the aisle from me, I heard a boy say, I won! He had been playing tic tac toe with his mother.
I turned the light off above me
and slept the rest of my way to Tokyo.
The Belly of the World