1956 Elvis | Teen Ink

1956 Elvis

March 15, 2023
By natalierose63 BRONZE, Westerly, Rhode Island
natalierose63 BRONZE, Westerly, Rhode Island
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"But if the story's over, why am I still writing pages?" - Taylor Swift

There is nothing but the faint light of the microwave in the kitchen, as the cup of instant ramen spins around in the center. It is probably around 6 o'clock, the sun already set by this time as it does in New England winter. The days blur together for her, only separated by the rise and fall of the sun, with help from the birds that chirp in the morning and the crickets at night. 

With 2:06 illuminated on the little timer screen of the microwave, she makes her way slowly, feet dragging on the hardwood, into the entryway. There, a record player sits on top of an end table next to the couch. His record player, now hers, left with the house, the memories, the fragments, a constant time portal back to when she was naive, clueless of his changing, of how abruptly her world would be flipped. The woman walks over to it expressionless, and places the needle on the vinyl of Elvis' 1956 debut album that lay on the platter, as it always has. As “I Will Never Let You Go” starts playing, she lets her eyes close, lets her ears do the work with ease. 

Amidst the chaos of the crowd, she feels his hand on her waist as people rush by to the dancefloor or slide past them towards the punch bowl. They each have their focus on nothing but the other. The song begins to play over the speakers, Elvis's voice drifting with the slow, lovely tune. He reaches down slowly, away from her waist, until his hand finds hers. 

“It would be a dream if you would dance with me” he says, his lips forming into a smirk as he adds, “I promise I won't let you go”. She wants nothing more, and so she giddily nods, and they make their way together to the dancefloor. He lets his hands find her waist again, and she blushes as she places her own hands around his neck. Swaying in perfect rhythm with each other and the song, they— she awakes out of her daze, abruptly, to the sound of the microwave beeping. The record player is silent for a moment, and then, “Blue Moon” begins to play.


Early the next morning she is startled awake by a nightmare. It's the kind of bad dream where she can't remember what happened exactly, but sits with an awful feeling of something lurking deep in her subconscious, and shaken by this, she goes outside for a walk. The air crisp, she strolls down the many streets within her neighborhood. 

Eventually she finds herself motionless, mysteriously perplexed, by the house that stands before her. The home had long since been abandoned, and in that way she feels they were similar, but she finds it hard to ignore the ways in which they are not. The roof is heavily condemned, a few shingles picked off it like scabs. The windows, of which there are quite a few, are all shattered, their broken pieces lingering on the ground. Looking in, past the gleaming cuts of splintered glass, the walls are empty, the wallpaper eaten away and peeling in its corners. 

And yet despite this, the house looks beautiful. Where people are not, vines have taken their place, bringing life back into the broken, the hurt, the left. They grow to great lengths, pale pink flowers decorate the vines as they sit elegant around the desolate that was once the house. The woman does not have vines. She knows this. She carries this, this thought with her, all the way home, all the way to the record player, until “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You) '' played, and she did, her heavy sobs matching the lively rhythm of the song she played on repeat.


Still unsure just how much time has passed, on this particular day, after her breakfast of coffee and too cold oatmeal, she decides it's been long enough, and treks out the long ten feet to her mailbox. On this particular day, though, the mail holds information of significance, ruffled somewhere between the bills and the few catalogs of grocery store deals. She, of course, does not know this. She heads out into the sweltering cold, still in her pajamas, to quickly open the frostbitten mailbox, grab the mail, hobble back inside. Her cheeks flush from the wind, she tosses the papers on the kitchen counter and makes her way to the record player. The needle lands on the vinyl and her breathing deepens. 

Back in the kitchen now, she puts water to boil, grabs the milk and sugar, the teabag, a pale pink, gold rimmed teacup and spoon. When she's done, she takes herself and her fresh cup of tea over to the sunroom, a small but open room, lit with sunlight. The room contains little but a darkly stained wooden table and the two wooden chairs that go with it. As you would imagine, the quaint sunroom is lined with windows, the early mornings light breaking through them. She begins to sit down at her chair at the table, but then, looking at the rather empty tabletop, remembers she forgot to bring the mail with her. Finally, she sits down on the cushionless chair, tea beside her, mail in hand. 

Her dry hands finger through the assortment of mail, forming piles as she goes: save, save, throw, save, throw, throw, throw, thr— her hands stop. There, a gray envelope sits in her hand. Unsure who would send her mail like this, I mean, she has no one really, besides her kids and they would just call anyways, so she slowly, carefully, tears open the envelope and reads its contents. Almost faster than she can read, the letter wilts as it is soaked by the stream down her eyes until she simply cannot read any more. He has died. He, he is dead. 

In the other room, you can faintly hear “I Love You Because” playing over the sound of her weeping. The sunroom grows dark. 


She has a hard time remembering why she came and a better time knowing she had no control over the matter. Standing in the crisp air of an early New England morning, her hands deep in the pockets of a winter coat, she stares blankly at his grave. It's been over two decades  since they last talked, since he told her he was deserting the life they'd created together, since he told her about the other woman. Words do not form on her lips, as they quiver in the cold.

 Some force deeper than love drove her here, to this gravestone of a past husband, a past life well lived and cherished but long left hollow and empty. The life she continues to mourn the loss of, its twinkling lights lit up in the distance out of reach. 

Somewhere closeby, maybe back at their old house, her home, the 1956 Elvis Presley debut vinyl plays “Trying to Get to You”.

The author's comments:

This piece was inspired by Elvis's debut record, with a few of its songs accompanying the emotions exhibited within the piece. 

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