jao gilberto

The Girl From Ipanema
Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto
The Girl From Ipanema
Stan Getz & Austrud Gilberto “The Girl from Ipanema”

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t finished the novel, you may want to avoid the text below. 

When Callie and Ephraim finally leave their house to escape the cyclone, this song is all they can find on the radio.

Turns out we’re not the only ones who stayed too long — another SUV shows up in my mirror. Close to the front gate, it passes me. Fine, I’d rather follow him than the other way around.

The booth’s empty, the glass all smashed. And the gate’s been knocked off its rollers. I get afraid that we can’t get out, but the guy in front finds a path. Right turn. No other way to go but down the hill.

There’s less debris now, and we get a decent pace going. It feels so good to be doing something. And I realize — it smacks me — we were gonna die back there.

Contraction. I can’t pull over, I can’t. I squeeze the wheel. It’s shallow and I breathe through it. Ephraim’s worried. “I’m good,” I tell him when it’s over.

The windshield wipers are even more useless than the headlights. We come around another bend and the car in front stops. Mudslide — all kinds of debris and a river gushing over the road — it feels like the whole hill’s gonna give way. Real slow the other guy picks his way through and I follow.

We get through. I feel nauseous. I jack up the AC and ask Ephraim to try the radio.

Static static static. Except our jazz friend, he’s still there. It’s a song I know, which makes me smile. She’s tall and tan. She’s young and lovely. She’s walking in the sun.