When I learned this issue’s theme was “Stories & Things I Love,” my mind went blank. Not because I don’t have things to love, but because I love too many things to settle on a topic. And then it came to me, a song I love: “La Vie En Rose.” And I knew that was it.
I stood in the middle of the Main Market Square in Krakow, marveling at the talent of an older gentleman playing the water glasses. I was on one of the CANDLES Museum tours, which included Auschwitz-Birkenau and Krakow, and on my first day in the city I overheard the gentleman playing “Over the Rainbow” on his water glasses. It was gorgeous. Well, I had encountered him again and listened to him play various tunes.
“Do you take requests?”
Thankfully, he understood English, because my Polish was terrible. He nodded, grinning.
“La Vie En Rose? Do you know it?”
He nodded once more, his grin widening. His hands hovered over the rims of the glasses. I closed my eyes as he played my favorite song. It was an old song, yet it had only lately come to my attention.
“La Vie En Rose” means “Life in Pink” or “Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses.” It was Edith Piaf’s signature song, a song that almost never was. Apparently, there was some doubt that it was as strong as her other songs. However, Edith Piaf followed her instincts, and the rest is history. After Piaf popularized it in the late 1940s, other artists had their own renditions: Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and later Bette Midler and Lady Gaga.
Hold me close and hold me fast The magic spell you cast This is la vie en rose When you kiss me heaven sighs And though I close my eyes, I see la vie en rose When you press me to your heart I’m in a world apart A world where roses bloom And when you speak Angels sing from above Everyday words seem To turn into love songs Give your heart and soul to me And life will always be la vie en rose
Yes, I had been aware of it, but my favorite version is on a popular TV show. On season nine, episode sixteen of “How I Met Your Mother, Cristin Milioti—in a melancholy mood—sings “La Vie En Rose” while playing the ukulele. It became my favorite. The character Tracy McConnell had lost the man she loved and had just ended things with a man who proposed marriage. Little did she know that as she sang on the neighboring balcony, her true love, Ted Mosby, was listening. I’d hunt down different versions on YouTube, but I always returned to that one.
Now I was in Krakow, on the adventure of a lifetime. As I listened to this gentleman play “La Vie En Rose,” my spirits soared. I was a little lonely on that trip. During special moments, or even sad ones, I wanted to turn to someone—someone I loved—and share that moment. I had never been in love and had no prospects, but listening to the man play “La Vie En Rose” encouraged me to believe that love would come to me someday.
The tune ended. I gave the gentleman a good tip to show my appreciation. We smiled at each other and for the rest of the day, “La Vie En Rose” got stuck in my head. It has played again and again in my memories.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Leigh has been published in several anthologies and her work has appeared on GoWorldTravel.com and the Artist Unleashed, and she has published a couple of fictional stories. She makes her home in Indiana with her family and her furbabies. To learn more about her, visit her blog.