Monday, August 22, 2011


I've resumed piano lessons with my dearest mentor, who has recovered from his illness, coming out of a long dark tunnel with a new piano and a new wife. But the term piano lessons is a bit ambitious. What really happens is that I drive down there and we end up spending 3 hours playing music and eating delivery chicken noodles from a styrofoam box. We gossip and digress and generally pity people with no music in their lives. Like his own son, who prefers software.

I harbor no ambitions of musical greatness and he knows it. We simply have conversations and fill gaps. When I play a melody he fills in the bass lines. When his melody is about to end I know it: something about the subtle finality of that third note from last, like a bird about to make a sweet turn in the sky, leaving a pattern imprinted against the clouds. I see it, in its invisibility, I mirror it. I come to meet it and make it last a little longer by repeating the pattern, somersaulting in the sky at a higher octave before taking off to my own heart's desire.

Isn't that the essence of a good conversation?

The launch of a thought, met with other ideas. Agreeing in the middle with enthusiastic nods before branching out again with new and old thoughts. Harmonized, encouraging, comforting, in a way that is as if to say, "I understand, I know what you mean, and here is what I think."

"Isn't jazz like everything in life?" he would say, "doesn't it help you improvise when dealing with people and doesn't it make life a little less serious?"

I really am not sure if I understand life that well. But I no longer needed to say anything. Nothing on life, nothing on my fears, nothing of my insecurities about love, my insipidness at work, self-imposed cages, millionth outbursts of half-baked ideas, thirsts I have no idea how to quench, forever belonging and not belonging.

At the end of the song it was like everything had been said.

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