Part 7 -- Staten Island Musician
Mike and I drank smooth, black coffee on Staten Island, when suddenly a guitar melody drifted from nearby.
We followed the notes, and ended up in the large room where droves of people waited for the return ferry to New York. Almost every person watched a guitarist, playing anything from Jamaican rifts, to a mix of Latino and rock harmonies.
Anyway, he was astoundingly good, and I wished more than anything that I could jam with him. So, I went and gave him a tip. But as I turned to walk away, he saw my violin case, and he stopped playing. "Are you pretty good?" he asked.
"I've played since I was 5."
"You wanna jam?"
"Oh my gosh! Are you kidding?! YES, I want to jam!"
So I took out my fiddle and we played—right there in front of the ever-growing crowd of people.
After a couple of measures he leaned over to me and said, "You ARE good. Let me turn down my guitar so people can actually hear you."
Here's a picture Mike took while we played:
Music is life-changing--it's math that we can hear. He played a third, so I played a fifth. Then I knew he'd drop back again, so I countered with a root note. After a few minutes, my mind stopped making predictions and the music poured straight from my soul. Toward the end of the third song, I felt so connected with the melodies, it sounded as if this man and I had played together for years. That's the thing about music, it brings out your soul--all barriers removed--and that's when we can really connect with people, even strangers. I've always wondered if our true selves come out during music--the best version of ourselves.
"Oh shoot," I said at the end of the last song. "Our ferry is almost here. I've gotta go."
"But what's your name? When will you be back? Who are you? We need to jam again--we could get a contract!"
As I continued frantically packing up my fiddle, I felt like Cinderella, leaving the ball. "I don't live around here."
"I play at Staten Island every Sunday. You have to come back..... Where are you from, anyway?"
"Idaho? Huh." He smiled so big. Then as I slid my bow into my case, Mike got the guy's number.
Before going, I gave the man a huge hug. "This moment--what you did for me.... Letting me jam with you in front of all these people--I'll never forget it. You made my entire year.
He beamed. "Keep in touch!"
As Mike and I boarded the ferry, I asked him if that whole thing amazed him as much as it amazed me.
"Typical day." He shrugged. "Come to a city you've never been in. Meet some guy. Get propositioned to play music with him on Staten Island every Sunday. No, Elisa, I'm done being surprised. Life with you has always been an adventure."
"You're such a good man to stick by me through all this craziness. Some people I've been didn't like stuff like this. Not everyone can be as supportive as you are. I love you so much, Mike."
He winked at me and as we sat down on the ferry, I snuggled next to him.
The South Africans, who we had met on the ferry ride there (that post HERE), well, they found us and sat down.
"Have you met that guitarist, before today?" the son asked.
"Nope," I said. "I can't believe he asked me to jam, right there. People are so awesome."
The South African father turned to his son and said quietly, "See, this is why I brought you to America. Americans are different people--sometimes they do crazy things. Fascinating!"
The son nodded and grinned at me. "Both of you should come visit us in South Africa. You would love it there!"
After we got off the ferry and the South Africans had gone their own way, Mike chuckled so hard. "Oh, Elisa, I hope they don't think all Americans are like you."
"What does that mean?!"
"You're just...one of a kind."
—If we approach life with arms wide open,