We sat back down at the table and John nodded toward the waitress who brought him a beer and a shot of ouzo.
She looked at me expectantly and I hesitated.
“Tequila. Rocks,” I said.
John looked at me then and smiled at his beer.
“What?” I asked him, smiling back.
He just shook his head.
“So tell me he said,” cocking his head and looking at me in the way that drew me to him in the first place. “When did it start for you?”
I thought a moment, though I didn’t really need to.
“When I was four, I remember dancing to my parents records. Maybe earlier, but I can’t remember. I remember whenever I was happy, or sad, or angry, it didn’t really matter—I would turn to music. I would sit and listen for hours. Sometimes certain songs would make me cry, and my mom would ask me what was the matter, and I would just shrug my shoulders and smile, licking the tears as they fell down my face.”
He smiled at me then, a real smile. A smile that told me he had forgotten to be who he thought people wanted to see and was just who he was.
The waitress brought my drink and I took it absently, still looking into his eyes.
He looked away then and I took a drink, and then a deep breath, and sighed. I could feel a shudder run through my body, and then I realized that a band was warming up in the other room. The bass had grabbed my stomach with its strong, wiry fingers, and the drum sent a wave through my thighs.
I turned and looked at John and he was staring at me.
I took a drink.
“And what about now?” he asked.
I looked at him a moment before I answered.
“There are times when I am busy and I convince it to be latent, but it never last. It surges and fights its way to the surface. It is an energy I cannot contain. It feels like a yearning so intense I am not always sure I can survive it. I don’t know why I fight it so hard,” I said, looking down.
“I do,” he said.
I looked at him.
He leaned toward me and I closed my eyes for a moment, then looked into his.
“It is like a doorway into a place you are not always sure you will come back from.”
“I don’t like myself as much when I am not playing. I don’t like anyone as much. I am alive when I am playing. I am waiting to die when I am not,” he said.
“You do understand,” I said.