Everywhere I go today, I can’t escape the song ‘Proud Mary’, by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I shouldn’t complain, as it has always been my favorite song.
My earliest memory is of the time I clambered up on stage at my aunt’s wedding and sang a semi-accurate version into a microphone, whilst everyone clapped along.
My mom even named me Mary after the song, so I guess it was my destiny!
I keep running into my mom today, too.
I had a free day, and spent it wandering around my local shopping center, which is pretty typical, with a cinema, bowling alley and the usual restaurant chains.
I heard the song in the cinema foyer when I passed; it was being used in the trailer for some dumb biopic.
My mom was sitting in a generic coffee place opposite, on her own, smiling but looking anxious.
And through the open door, from a radio behind the counter, I could just make out Proud Mary playing softly.
I thought back to when I finished runner-up in my high school talent contest singing a Tina Turner-esque version of the song.
My one moment of (almost) glory! Whenever I went to a bar, I headed straight for the jukebox. My friends got pretty sick of it, but not me.
I didn’t go for coffee, just kept walking, following my feet, and reminiscing. Every major incident over my life seemed linked to that song.
The cover versions are good, since it’s one of those songs you can’t really screw up, but the CCR original reigns supreme.
I saw my mom again, looking a little stressed, sat alone inside a crummy restaurant, gazing back at me through the huge window.
The doors were propped wide open, and guess what song was playing through the sound system inside!
You know, it’s funny: I used to joke to my mom that if I was ever in some horrific car accident and ended up in a coma, she should play that song for me, at full volume.
If that won’t wake me, then she might as well switch off the life support.
I walked on. “Rollin'. Rollin'. Rollin' on the river!” My boyfriend always hated the song, which I should have taken as a bad omen.
He preferred speed metal as he raced around in his souped-up Audi.
The shops began to close for the day and I left the building and headed off down the street to nowhere in particular. A bus was waiting for me at the stop, it’s door open.
Proud Mary was tinnily emanating from somewhere on board. My mom was the only passenger. She looked weary, resigned, and suddenly very old.
But I carried on my way, and soon heard the bus doors close as it drove away.
I’m not tired, though it has been a long day. I think I should head home, as it must be getting late. There’s no-one else around, and the sky is suddenly growing very dark.