Returning the favor

My godson turned fifteen last Tuesday. It is remarkable to think how quickly that happened. People say this all the time, but it does feel like he was a baby just yesterday. Now he is almost a man, although not as as tall as he would like to be.

Unfortunately, my godson got sick shortly before his birthday, so the day was not as pleasant as he would have liked. He had to stay home from school, and he avoided everyone to keep from spreading his cold. We did have a small get-together, however, the party was on Saturday.

I decided to surprise him with a particular gift. His band and I learned a song to play for him. I sing for him all the time, but this time I played the guitar for him as well. The band’s guitarist taught me how to play. It was slightly odd learning to play an instrument from someone half my age, yet it was a fun experience. I am nowhere near as good as him or my godson, both of whom can learn songs by ear. It took me about three months to get the hang playing, and I still need to look at my hands for certain notes.

I said to my godson, “Last summer you played for me. I want to return the favor.” I borrowed him guitar without his permission, but he did not seem bothered, just surprised. I picked up the guitar, began to play, and I sang this:

You’ve got a face not spoiled by beauty
I have some scars from where I’ve been
You’ve got eyes that can see right through me
You’re not afraid of anything they’ve seen
I was told that I would feel
Nothing the first time
I don’t know how these cuts heal
But in you, I’ve found the rhyme

That is the first verse of Song for Someone by U2. I found the lines fitting given my relationship with my godson. I have never known anyone outside of my blood relatives who could know me so well. He is the only person not related to me who can almost completely see through my mask. And he does not seem bothered by what he sees.

I managed to return the favor he gave me for Father’s Day. I did not get far into the song before he teared up. By the end of the song I had eight other people crying.

But my godson, being true to his nature, could not let me get through it without throwing it back at me. So when I got to the second verse and lines:

I was told that I would feel
Nothing the first time

he got up, put his fingers over my mouth and sang in a still cold-ridden voice:

You were slow to heal
But this could be the night

When I finished, people applauded. I said to my godson, “Oh, gee, I made you cry. But it’s good crying.”

My youngest cousin came over and told me the song was “awesome.” I ignored modesty and said, “Of course.” They laughed, and in that moment about standing there with the two people I love the most. My cousin taught me to love. My godson taught me how to love. I have no idea how to return the favor, but I will try my best.


5 thoughts on “Returning the favor

  1. That was a very sweet gift. It takes a lot to get up in front of everyone like that.

    They do grow up fast. My cousins whom I used to plat peekaboo with are now getting married and having children of their own, but it’s hard for me to look at them and not see little kids.

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