The guitar player

The streets buzzed with people, all with identical bored, weary looks. So few smiles.

It was peak hour now, when working people went home for a respite before the next day’s work. Su May joined the throng, massaging her aching neck.

Ennui, she realized, was the name for her mood. She had not been truly excited for a long time. Nothing could surprise her nowadays. Nothing touched her deeply. So different from her work partner, who always came to work with a fresh perspective. He often mentioned the years he had spent in sun-filled Greece, eating, walking, laughing with friends, having so much fun. What about her?

In the police station lobby one saw a list of names: that of the people who had contributed greatly to the police. Those noble souls. Su May used to stare at them when she came for work in the morning. Then a thought struck her: when she died, would she fade into oblivion? Or would her name be recorded for posterity on that list?

Interrupting her musings was the sound of…
Of a guitar. She stopped in front of the ragged guitar player and his battered guitar, patched up with duct tape. He was totally absorbed in his music. The guitar was his voice: he sang of shattered dreams and loneliness. His music broke through her jaded exterior and touched her heart directly.
Su May stood there, listening to him, for a long time. People passed around her like a rock in a stream. The guitar player made eye contact with her, briefly. Then she thought: he’s playing for me.
For a while, nothing existed except his music. She felt her eyes pricking; her tensed shoulders relaxed.

His ending chords told her: there is, there always will be, hope.

Silence. The vibrations faded.

Suddenly she reached for her wallet and put a handful of notes in his open case. Tears, usually a stranger to her face, flowed down her cheeks. “Thank you,” she whispered. He understood.

[Author’s note: He’s playing J.S. Bach’s Chaconne in D minor BWV 1007]


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