a voice in the crowd

the harmonica bled through the busy new york street like a radio underwater. it was a long way off, but he could definitely hear it. he knew. he had written that piece when he was just a teenager. it was part of a song he wrote, so long ago. about a girl he once loved.

that was a good twenty years ago now, and a good thirty homes in the past. to say he was a gypsy would be an overstatement, although he looked it. dressed head to toe in strange and quirky outfits. keith richards of the modern age. a real bone fide rock star. just out of rehab, and a new man.

he had to admit, he was still getting used to be constantly clear of head. a good twenty years of drug taking and alcohol had impaired his senses to an unhealthy degree. doctors had told him his blood was toxic. they had told him if he gave a blood transfusion, the receiving party would be dead so quickly it was not even funny. just to give you a picture of the level of debauchery and decadence his life had taken. a woman or ten in every town, and a pile of drugs, just waiting for him to cross the town limits.

all this aside, he could not get that song out of his head. he was not sure if he was going mad. the past few months had been strange. bits of his life that he forgotten about had come back to him, snippets of drunken nights out, gigs in towns he had just left to the past. the doctors said this might continue for a while. but he was sure this music was real.

it was a nice little blues piece in G mixolydian. or C major. depending how you want to look at this. moved nicely through Bflat and B before reaching up to the fifth, D. it went on for a while. he tuned out, he had played it so many times before. a very beautiful piece, even if he said so himself.

in a drunken haze, he remembered playing it in a house. it could be the house of the same woman he loved. he remembered smelling incense in the background. there was crying. and a woman there. he remembered that vague smell of woman that always exists when you are in love. maybe it’s the same as when women are in love with men. maybe that’s why they keep our clothes.

through the crowd he saw a man. he must have been in his late teens. baggy jeans and a oversized shirt, with a flat cap on the floor, slowly filling with small change and coppers. beside him was a guitar case, which he could only presume was filled with a guitar, and not a sub machine gun. obviously a musician. he approached him

“son..what’s your name?” he asked with quiet terror. he had a vague idea  where this conversation was going. either that, or he was insane.

“it’s tom. and yours sir?” very polite in the manner he replied. well spoken. must have had a good upbringing

“a fine name! can i ask you..where did you learn that song?”

“learn? it’s been with me, since i was a child”

“…son, what is your mother’s name?”

so father met son, on a busy street corner in halem. the father in his mind looked back to the time he wrote that beautiful doodle on the harmonica. it was not a commercial success, nor did it ever see the light of day until now. but he looked back to the drug fueled haze, as he played it by a baby’s cot as the sun set over brooklyn.

it was the most beautiful music he ever wrote.

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