Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A true love story to J.S.

Dinner was going to be late by fifteen minutes.

She was meeting her friend downtown to check out the new place for strangers run by strangers. The lifers who have lived in-country longer then herself, people who get so homesick that the only thing desired is a meal that provides the basic comforts of home. To create a space in strange land that feels less strange, feels more real. The extra time to get downtown meant time to walk. With the dog fed, and jacket in place, she turned off the lights and closed up her apartment.

The air was crisp and cool. Fall night time air running through her hair. She stuffed her hands into her pocket and shivered against the chill, checked to make sure she still had a phone and a book. Everything in place she started to walk through strange land, to walk ignoring the stairs, ignoring the sighs, ignoring the catcalls, ignoring strange land, focused on a goal. Focused inward. A dozen thoughts moved through her head.

She thought of her desires and what they meant, where they meant, who they meant. The names in her head were disconnected with the emotions that she as feeling. She thought about the future. The future. Strange land and the future make less sense everyday, she thinks, but then what is the future if not this? A thousand thoughts and wondering upon what life is if not this, where life is if not here, what will happen if it all stays the same? The largest question on her mind is how willing she might be to tear it all down and try something new, something again, something different, something elaborate, something complex, or something simple.

The cold rocked her and she moved through the neon jungle of strange land, through the crowds and the throngs and she was untouched by all of it. The bell park buzzed with the loud excitement of topless teenagers practicing skateboard routines. Lovers crouched together under tress stealing frozen moments for close caress, trying to be unnoticed in the softly falling darkness. Basketball players gathered in clumps and shot at hoop-less rings, stumbling as she walked by. She walked by. She remained untouched by it. Deep in her concern as they were in theirs. Fall nights are nights for being caught up in life.

Downtown was bright and shining and coming up quickly and she began to navigate the crowded avenues of strange land, turning here, cutting a corner there, heading towards the new safe place constructed for her personal amusement. Her thoughts still shielding her from outside interference until she walked by the music store.

She had walked by the music store a thousand times in strange land. It was always the same music store. She wondered how it kept in business sometimes being that it never seemed to have any customers. The windows were lined with LP’s. She knew better then to go in. Inside, she could see through the window, some of the most beautiful high end turntables that had ever been designed. They were clean and shiny with crisp needles and they made her homesick and filled her with longing. Just thinking of laying down between two high end speakers while a record spun was enough to send chills up her spine. She always walked past, rarely sparing the shop a second glance.

The shop sat halfway between two different alleys down a side street. Even with the din of all the city around the space around the music store was quiet. Perched on either side like futuristic cyber-goyles were two Bosse speakers. The speakers always played music. Sometimes Handel, sometimes Mozart, the occasional Beethoven. The music would fill the small alley and it was truly beautiful. But she did not stop, would not enter the store, and often was untouched.

Tonight, she is wrapped in a shroud of herself and is untouchable.

Then there is a piercing single violin string resonating in D minor and she stops still in front of the store. Everything comes to a crashing halt. There is a penultimate silence, she breaks and washes into it. The solo violin concerto continues and she knows what stopped her. Why she is listening in the street while the cold air frost her ears and makes her shiver; why she stands a black clad figure in a strange land, she who is unmovable and suddenly moved to tears in front of a lonely store window in the middle of an alley. It was Bach.

She would know Bach anywhere. She knows it here.

She stood listening for several minutes while her face ran with shivery tears until finally it reached it’s zenith and she could take it no longer. The door of the store clinks and bells alert the shop keeper of her presence. Unnecessary, the store is small and her presence, stranger in time and space, is obvious.

“Who is it?” she asks, sure and unsure.


“Yes. Where?”

He points to a CD and she is only momentarily disappointed. To have had it on record would have been something, even though she has no record player here to play it on. The CD will do. She checks to make sure it is the same one playing outside and then she hands over her money.

“Here, a discount.” he says as he gives her the change. Maybe it was the tear streaks on her face, maybe her strangeness, maybe just the cool fall air, maybe just the joy at having a late night customer looking for music. It was hard to say, but she accepted it quietly, mumbled thank you and walked away.

She continued on, still on time, towards the dinner, fingering the CD in her pocket and cleaning up the tears. There is no place that will ever protect one from Bach, she thinks, there is no safe place to hide from that.


kodeureum said...

"Ah, Bach."

One of my favourite quotes from M*A*S*H.

Saradevil said...

I had to go digging to figure out which episode you were talking about. It was not the one I thought it was.

However, considering it was M*A*S*H and considering my current situation, I find that appropriately apt.