I can’t believe I’m about to do this.
But, I need this. To do.
First, I’ll post a little something I’ve been working on. It’s very rough.
I hope you’re all well.
He was kind of like a snake charmer.
I was coming from hearing a band I really like on the Lower East side. It was late, the way I like it. The F train charged northward, the nightlifers a bit subdued, the underground a passing blur.
Effy (that’s my late-night name for that train) stopped at the West 4th platform; its doors opened, and I stepped out. I was transferring to the A train, which I knew would be running local. It’s a long ride to north Manhattan. I climbed the stairs to the other platform. My ears caught wind of a familiar sound. My ascent quickened.
As I surfaced, the music was clear and strong. I looked in the direction of the melody, which I didn’t recognize. There he stood, holding a jet black, thin tube with silver keys that caught the light at certain angles.
It was enough that he was playing the clarinet, but what was that song? It was haunting, brooding. His tone was warm, bell-like; the timbre was alluring and I found myself drooling. The music was beautiful, and I let it flood my ears.
He didn’t look typically homeless, but he wasn’t exactly affluent, either. Old man with old hands and years in his eyes which also speckled his eyebrows and scruffy beard with grey. His hair was a bit shaggy, but not unkempt. His clothes weren’t careless.
I didn’t get too close. I was about five feet away. I didn’t have any change for the guy, but I wanted him to keep playing. Whatever it was, I wanted to keep hearing it.
Maybe that’s not the whole truth. Maybe I didn’t get too close because I couldn’t. I tried taking another step toward him, but my feet couldn’t move further. They wouldn’t.
It’s best that I had no money, because it looked like he wasn’t collecting any. Was he playing just because?
A train approached the station, I momentarily broke my reverie to see which train it was.
It was an E. Eddie.
When I looked back to my new clarinet friend, maybe five seconds later, he was gone.