You can sing in your crooked way: I thought about this later, and the expression seemed apt. Hadn't I spent years, after all, singing in my crooked way? I remembered the period in my life when I thought that singing was all I had, my only pathway to salvation. As a young woman, growing up and going out on my own felt like launching a cobbled-together boat into dark and perilous waters, or flinging myself off a cliff into some dark void. The world struck me as unkind and unreliable, and love as fleeting and evanescent. If there was something I could do extremely well, I imagined, it could be my shield against the inevitable bitterness and heartbreak that love and the world would deal out. I could not trust love, nor my fellows, but I could wield my singing like a weapon to cut through the dangers they proffered. Other people might have more and better gifts than I had; other people might have the gift of love. But I could sing, and I loved to sing, and I developed a rigorous self-discipline that enabled me, over the course of years, to become a highly-skilled and effective practitioner of that art.
It's not uncommon even for singers at the highest levels to sing flat. I've heard it happen many more times than I can possibly count, including at the Met. Indeed, I've heard mediocre and even lousy performances there, as well as great performances marred by mistakes, bad notes, miscalculations, and musical train wrecks. It happens to everyone. I remember feeling particularly bad for Plácido Domingo one Saturday afternoon when he was singing the title role in the rarely-performed opera Sly, which ends with a tenor aria, and he flubbed the final sung note in the opera, leaving the audience not with the memory of a compelling performance but with that of a single lame high note. There's something touchingly human, though, about singing flat; it's as if the heart, the moment's emotions, the character's words, all cause one's voice -- or, to be technically correct about it, cause one's ability to accurately replicate pitch -- to fail, and doesn't that happen in everyday, non-singing life, too?
*Fach: compartment; area of study; system of vocal specialization, by which singers are classified "according to the range, weight, and color of their voices." (source)