I sat down at the table across from him. John looked at me out of the corner of his eye, and then finally faced me with a look of mixed boredom and partial amusement. I figured he’d already grown weary of me, though we had only been in each other’s presence for ten minutes.
“Why are you staring at me?” he asked, tilting his head in the way that made him adorable, at least to me. I had watched him from across the crowded room for about an hour. He interested me. Something most people failed to do.
“Well, there is some reason I feel you would understand what I’ve been thinking,” I began. “I don’t know why, but I have learned over the years that why doesn’t always matter. Some things just are.”
He looked mildly annoyed, but being a polite person, he nodded and took a sip of his drink. He eyed me again and I couldn’t help but smile.
“Shoot,” he said.
I looked puzzled, and he rolled his eyes in an exaggerated movement then said, “So tell me.”
“Oh,” I said shyly. “Okay.”
He looked at me directly then, and I met his eyes dead center. He looked confused, expecting my shyness to continue and I enjoyed his seeing my boldness.
“It is just that a lot of people don’t understand. It is just that I live in a place I don’t think most people ever even become aware of. I guess I figured by the way you felt to me when I saw you that you might understand.”
He looked a little intrigued and nodded for me to continue.
“It’s music,” I whispered, leaning over to him as if I was a spy and he was my contact.
“You know that moment when it seeps through your skin and enters your blood. That moment when you take a breath and it catches in your chest, kind of like when a lover gets you really, really close…”
He nodded, his eyes narrowing.
“You know,” I continued, “that moment when it begins to infuse itself into your being. You are listening to it and it weaves its fingers around you. It caresses every inch of your body like a silky rain on a hot day. It soaks in and starts to fill you. You close your eyes and there is nothing but you and the Universe. The drumbeat becomes your heart. The rhythm becomes your breath, and you tremble with the expectation of the next note.
He nodded again, watching me as I drew closer, my voice quiet.
“John,” I said, “you know that moment when you take a deep breath, your hand on your guitar, or in my case more often, a mic in my hand, and you no longer exist. You are the music. It is you, and it feels like if you don’t play, or sing at that moment you will fall down and die.”
He stared at me, and for a moment I wondered if he knew.
“There are some things I can’t express any other way, and it took me years to understand that. There are times when there is no other way for me to express what I feel; my passion, my emotion, my lust, my drive, my curiosity. I don’t even have to have words when I sing. It can just be music. It can just be sound. It is like a lover who never has to speak. A lover who puts his finger to his lips, than to mine. A lover who by his very touch plays me like an instrument. When he touches me we breathe each other. Do you know? How music is?”