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Getz/Gilberto, Stan Getz and João Gilberto

Verve Records, 1963

Track Listing: 1. The Girl from Ipanema, 2. Doralice, 3. P’ra Machucar Meu Coracao, 4. Desafinado, 5. Corcovado, 6. So Danco Samba, 7. O Grande Amor, 8. Vivo Sohando

She doesn’t see. She just doesn’t see.

“Olha que coisa mais linda
Mais cheia de graça
É ela menina
Que vem e que passa
Num doce balanço a
Caminho do mar”

-from The Girl from Ipanema

She has blinders on. There is nothing else for her but the sea, that mystical expanse of turquoise that owns her, that swallows her in ways he only wishes he could, like a serpent.

When she dips under the water, a punch to the gut renders him momentarily breathless as he skittishly scans the surface for proof of her return. As he relives the daily routine, he is mesmerized by the endless miles of cascading, breaking waves that look like diamonds sparkling all the way from Mexico to Cuba.

She resurfaces, further out. He imagines her swimming straight out to the horizon, never to be seen again. Next to his sunbathing wife, he will continue sipping tequila sunrises in the fading light as if nothing has even happened.

But she returns, she always returns, like the samba at dusk, an aphrodisiac served nightly with ceviche on the beachside veranda. The cagey saxophone is a smooth operator, manipulating minds with greater panache than the moonlight or stars (no small feat but executed effortlessly with such a sexy, easy cool).

Lustful glances linger in the candlelight, swaying over tiny flames before evaporating into the black, but not before bronzed approving faces receive and return silent but less than secret replies across the tables in kind. Nobody could ever want nights like these to end, and yet third courses cannot come quick enough.

Nearby, they are the only ones in the pool at this hour. They will remember these nights most of all, swimming alone to the saxophone’s moonlight serenade. It was as if the luxurious resort nestled along a perfect stretch of Caribbean Sea was in fact their very own private Spanish stucco mansion. They swam freely into the fantasy with the music in on it all.

It was then that “The Girl from Ipanema” became their song.

“(Ooh) But I watch her so sadly
How can I tell her I love her
Yes I would give my heart gladly
But each day, when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead, not at me”

-from The Girl from Ipanema

From his current vantage point on a couch, the faraway chimneys that are peaking over a neighbor’s roof look like distant high-rises, ugly high-rises, reminders of a different life, the only life, the one in which he finds himself needing to go to bed early tonight—a fact that plays out about as well as it did when he was ten or twelve. To skip the night is to miss it all. The sadness of this realization is compounded by the reality that he has lived with since their return: that she is out there, still walking obliviously by, out to the sea, and he will never see her again.

Except that he does see her again. And again. Only his wife doesn’t see. She doesn’t see.