When I was about 12 my brother gave me his old boom box. One of my first purchases I made for my boom box was a tape, on one side was "The Best of Ben E. King" and the other side was "The Best of Percy Sledge". Looking back it was an odd purchase for a 12 year old girl, but I was really drawn to it. As I sat on the floor of my room listening to the song, “I Who Have Nothing” I was so overwhelmed. The orchestra , the violins, the passion! It was the most dramatic song I had ever experienced. I LOVED the song, but at the same time could not imagine experiencing feelings so intense as Mr. King felt. He was so believable. I felt so sad for him! All he had to offer this beautiful woman was his love but I guess she wanted more. But at the same time I was empathetic for the lady in the song. She had to choose between this guy and his passionate love for her and a man that could show her a really good time. Maybe she wasn’t in a place to handle Mr. King’s adoration. Maybe she just really wanted the fancy dinners and diamonds, maybe Mr. King was just too intense for her. I really understood that. I shied away from that heavy mushy stuff at 12.
Then I got married and had kids and this song came back to haunt me. As soon as I tried to leave my babies with a sitter I would just picture them singing this song to me. My poor helpless little babies. Standing there with their noses pressed up against the portacrib netting. They were completely in love with me, but their love was not enough to make me stay. I would trade it in for a night of music and wine at Jammin Java. I wanted to be swept off my feet. I WAS the girl in the song!
Now that my kids are getting older, I spend my weekends with my nose pressed up against my mini van window. I watch them disappear into a crowd of friends at the mall, football games, dances, and sleep overs. I understand, I don’t judge them. I was once that beautiful girl in the song, now it’s their turn. They were once Mr. King and now I am. In this dance we do, we give and take, we push and pull, sometimes things are not equal or fair, but the fact remains that others can offer the world but they will never love - the way we love each other.
I, I who have nothing, I, I who have no one Adore you and want you so I'm just a no one with nothing to give you but, oh I love you
He, he buys you diamonds, bright, sparkling diamonds But, believe me, dear, when I say That he can give you the world but he'll never love you the way I love you
He can take you any place he wants To fancy clubs and restaurants But I can only watch you with My nose pressed up against the window pane
I, I who have nothing, I, I who have no one Must watch you go dancing by Wrapped in the arms of somebody else when, darling It's I who loves you