When I was a child my mother used to bring me to a Jazz Café, there was an un-named band and I quite liked the female singer of that band. I used to call her Ms. Bessie and she would blow me a kiss every time when I and my mother will leave the café. As time passes, the band members were old and I could see some grey hair in some of the member's hair, I never felt that Ms. Bessie grew any older from the day I see her in that café.
I started to ask questions about the band as usual, my mother will nod her way to the kitchen going, "Yea, yea, the jazz band of the café... They were there since the first day we went to that café right?" I tried to get her attention that time, "No, mum! See the members are getting old right?" I chased my mother, "Yea? How old are you and think how long have we been having our afternoon tea there? Of course people will get old, silly, look at me at first alright?"
I stood in front of the fridge when she tried getting the supper ready from the fridge, "Look mum, there is one member whom does not get old at all!" My mother shook her head and asked "Yea? Who would that be? Is that the guitar player? Do you want a guitar?" (I have been begging my parents to buy me a guitar, but I never knew how to play it at that period) "No! It's not that mum! The singer! Ms. Bessie! She is always so young!" My mother started to laugh as if she thinks that I am tricked by a woman, and continued to prepare the supper. I got frustrated and went up my room.
The next day we went to the café as regular, my mother gave me a grin as if she was looking at me having my first date. When the band was on the stage I looked for Ms. Bessie, in regular days Ms. Bessie will wave at me and blow me a kiss, somewhat like some hot lady in some classic cartoons. "So, young man, where is your Ms. Bessie?" She asked as if she had never met her, "Mum, you sound like you had never seen her! She's that singer of the band!" my mother became scandalous and said, "Look, if you don't like this place I don't really have to come? Why do you have to lie?" I gave my mother a dubious look and asked "How do you mean lying?" The band started to perform as if everything was normal; a female voice started singing, "It's her! She is here!" My mother shook her head and waved the pay check.
I smelt her perfume and felt the warmth of her breath, a wind blew the backstage cover, and I saw was an old tape recorder, play button being pressed. My mother paid and stood up and walks away, "Are we leaving or are you going to tell your lies?" I told my mother "I never knew that it was a recorder, but those songs were sang by Ms. Bessie! I saw her! She sang on the stage!" My mother got fed-up; she brought me to the cashier of the café and asked "Hey, do you know who sings for the band on the stage? My boy is SO curious to know" the man looked at my mother amazed; "Ma'am, the singer, hmm... She had not come back since the war..." the man told us the history or the café.
The café was a pub and before the band, there used to be a female singer and a pianist. The 2 performed for the pub (I am imagining a scene in some movies of Marilyn Monroe), the pianist went to fight the war and had never came back, the singer died of a broken heart, which later the owner of the pub realized that she was the fiancée of the pianist.
The present owner had found some old recorder discs with only the woman's singing voice, probably recorded for the pianist for his practices and preparation. The owner found that the way the woman sang very attractive, he hired a band to cover her songs and tried many times to record the songs on a cassette tape but never succeeded. And so there is this band right now, with no sing performing the songs for customers.
The songs were indeed very original, all were arranged or rearranged by the band members, there were only 3 to 4 songs sung by the singer, but variety of the music was endless, some are very odd, but when time goes they become new songs, there sure were good songs during those classic days before the war.
Now that I know that Ms. Bessie might have been a person from the past, I would want to thank her for performing her songs to us until these days. Also, a special thank for the old talented band for rearranging all the songs, entertaining us making the song alive again. Good old song never would be forgotten.
By the way, I had never met Ms. Bessie ever since I saw the backstage and after my mother asked who she was. Till today, my mother will go to that café, but the stage is no longer there (that is what I have heard from my mother). She would still laugh and say that I used to lie about a female singer but was busted since it was just an old record disc. Did my mind made things up or was Ms. Bessie trying to tell me the story of the café?
I know sometimes a child can imagine lots of things but this, I still felt the present of Ms. Bessie, did I communicate with the spirit of Ms. Bessie?