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  • Writer's pictureLannie Neely III

Transition From a Window

Updated: Jul 1

In the few days before we were packed into crates and shipped off to the Air Force, my friend, Adam, and I used “extra-legal” processes to download the soundtrack to Romancing SaGa, a game with an arrangement of Kenji Ito music. Not having an ear—or stomach—for lyrics, I skipped the Spanish-influenced Minuet and attempted to satiate my musical appetite with Rosalia From a Window, one of several “From a Window” leitmotifs that played heavily throughout the album. We instantly enjoyed its strong and simple melody, but the Siren allure wore thin as the catchy instrumentals designed to tear at our ears like a harpy.

Thirteen songs are derivative of Rosalia, which made each subsequent download a progressive annoyance to anyone within earshot, pounding the sweet melody into their brains like a hammer against satin. Not even the cool island rhythm of View of the Sea From a Window could get us back into the water, and the song died—beaten to death.

I said goodbye to Adam and his family and flew to San Antonio, forgetting the fallen tune. However, trapped in the recesses of my mind—as will happen when you play songs of such limited thematic variation—Rosalia broke free in the early weeks of Basic Military Training; like Lazarus of Bethany, Rosalia came back to life, and I wept.

The meticulous inspection of a Battle Dress Uniform is almost twice as boring as it is useless, and each millimeter of the blouse and pants requires more attention and care than the machines that sew them. Through this painful, life-depleting process, trainees cower quietly by their lockers, afraid to make more noise than is required to snip loose threads with fingernail clippers; but through habit—or just whimsy, maybe—I began to whistle the vexatious song into the lull. Not unlike a yawn, a whistle carries a subtle persuasiveness, and it entices those who hear it to either join along or construct their own pursed-lip symphony—but not in BMT: my warble led me to the bullet end of loaded sneers. A greater man would have attempted to vindicate his foozle by shrinking back into silence, but I am not a greater man; and, luckily, with the many useless rules swarming around the armed forces, whistling had yet to be forbidden, so I continued unmolested.

After a long and repetitious solo performance, I spotted our MTI (Military Training Instructor), who had melted through the back door to gauge the progress of our conformity—that sneaky creep! I’m certain he saw me flinch, and I almost got a demerit for brown streaks in my whitey-tighties; but he didn’t appear angry—the only expression I looked for in the military—so I “carried on,” the high notes reverberating from the far ends of the squadron halls.

Rosalia continued with me almost every day for the next couple of months, the upbeat harmonizing of the string ensemble and electric piano lifting the singular melody of the flute just as surely as it lifted my mood. The congenial tune kept cadence in my head as I marched; it ate with me at the chow hall; it provided comfort during my sparse free-time, keeping my thoughts actively careless—it didn’t shield me from the men’s showers, of course, but it tried harder than any song ever written.

In a circuitous transition, Rosalia went from decent, to annoying, to inspiring, and settled happily at what it is now: a nostalgic song, both strong and simple.

Song: Rosalia From a Window by Kenji Ito from the Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song soundtrack. On YouTube, search “Rosalia From a Window” and it should be the first available video.


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