piano practice

Februrary 24, 2017.

He sits on the piano bench. She sits next to him. They read the music in front of them and bang out atonal note clusters. He plays with his feet and with his butt. Occasionally he turns to look at me. He smiles self-consciously. Continues playing. Now loud. Now quiet. He creates a melody. Plays it a few times in a row. Snippets of song. She and I take turns sitting next to him and playing piano with him. In this way we pass the time between dinner and bed.

band practice

February 24, 2017

After dinner he asks if we want to have a band. He plays his cat piano. She plays a ukulele. Per his request, I play my guitar. A few plucks, strums and plonks and he declares this the worst band ever.

You know what the most important part about being in a band is? I ask.

What? 

Having fun.

Then he starts us gain and we play for a longer duration.

the claw

12/16/16

On the train. The planes and angles of his face. The lay of his hair. The shape of the rims of his glasses. His profile.

An instant reliving. I am in an apartment. In the living room. A group of us from the corporate music store I work at. We are gathered for our monthly movie night. It is night. Our host sits in a chair. His sister draped over him in his lap. We are confused.

A break. One by one those gathered slip off to the kitchen for drinks and food. I remain seated with a friend, Rex, and a man known as The Claw. With the planes and angles of his face. His glasses. His hair smashed by stocking cap. He is a giant of gangle limbs sunken into couch cushions. His head leaned back in inebriation.

He speaks in rambles and incoherence. Sometimes the volume of his voice falls so low we have to lean forward and strain to hear his words, then sudden bursts of excitement, speed and volume. A chaos of inflection and cadence. Rhythm and meter.

When he casually mentions that he’d like to kill us, we join the others in the kitchen.

After seeing this stranger on the train. And this memory resurfaced. I dream. I dream of him. I dream that he chances upon me in a bookstore. He as he may be now. He and his wife. The bright lights of this corporate bookstore. Standing between wooden shelves. He approaches from behind, says – boo. And I jump. He is older. But still those same angles and glasses. The lay of his hair. Yes that was me on the train, he says. He and his wife smile friendly.