Ragged Clown

It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing…



I have a very special memory. One that I have not thought about for years but it came to me today in the middle of Saving Private Ryan. I don’t think I’ve shared it before.

In my solitude, you haunt me

A long time ago, I had a girlfriend and I used to sing to her. At that period of my life, I was entirely entranced by Billie Holiday and my most favourite song was Solitude and my girlfriend used to ask me to sing it to her. I sang it over and over.

With reveries of days gone by.

Eventually we broke up and she moved out and went her own way but a few months later she called me out of the blue and said she was afraid and asked if she could come stay with me for a few days.

In my solitude, you taunt me

She was having headaches and problems with her memory. We took her to the doctor who sent her to the hospital where they told us she had a brain tumour. It was inoperable but they might be able to treat it with radio-therapy.

With memories that never die.

The treatment didn’t work out and her memory and her headaches got worse and eventually she slipped into unconsciousness.

I sit in my chair

And, filled with despair,

Her parents flew over from Malta and came to stay with me in my little apartment and, one by one, her friends and relatives from all over the world came to join us sitting by Rita’s bedside.

There’s no one can be so sad.

We sat by her bed for days and weeks and months and, every now and again, she would drift back into our life and say a few words before drifting back into the twilight. One day she slept and didn’t wake up again.

With gloom everywhere,

I sit and I stare.

I used to sing to her while she slept her deep sleep – especially when we were alone, just Rita and I. One day, one last time, she spoke to me.

“What’s that song? I know that song.”

“It’s Solitude by Billie Holiday.”

“It’s a beautiful song. My boyfriend used to sing it to me.”

Then she went back to sleep. She didn’t wake up any more.

I know that I’ll soon go mad.

In my Solitude.

I promised that I’d never forget you, Rita. I kept my promise.

I’m praying,

Dear Lord above,

Send back my love.

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16 responses to Solitude

julio June 26, 2010

beautiful, thanks for sharing.

Dorienne August 5, 2010

mmm What can I say….. I know a little bit more….. things that we did not have time to share….

  • Randall B. February 14, 2015

    You’re a good one, Kevin.

    Mirek February 14, 2015

    Beautiful. I’m glad I’ve stumbled upon it.

    Ben M February 14, 2015

    Very sweet. Very nicely said.

    Dianne June 22, 2016

    Very beautifully said Kevin. She is forever in all of our hearts. ??

    Georgina Lawrence June 23, 2016

    I have to gather all my strength to read this and I do, every now and then and it always brings up the same strong emotions, as if it were that day, 25 yrs ago!! You are a good one Kevin…our angel! Ask our parents…ask me <3

      Ragged Clown June 23, 2016

      I get tears in my eyes every time I read it. It’s a happy memory.

    Marco June 24, 2016

    Beautiful words Kevin. You left me speechless and misty eyes. That was four years before I met Dorienne. Still I can feel emptiness and that missing link to know her.

    Rosa August 12, 2016

    Read this earlier and thought I will read later and it would bring less tears to my eyes but I was wrong second time round and the tears flowed faster. Such a lovely memory of our beautiful Rita. Thank you for sharing it. I have never forgotten her either. And I miss her.

      Ragged Clown August 16, 2016

      I feel so lucky to have such a special memory Rosa. I’m glad you found it special too.

        Rosa May November 18, 2019

        I just read it again and the emotions are just as strong. Thank you Kevin for being there for Rita and all of us.

    Jeff Persoff June 23, 2021

    Moving and expressed beautifully. Thank you, Kevin.

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