Something in the music caught my attention in a new way. I didn’t have to sit there and passively absorb the energies of guitars and drums. A spark caught kindling within my soul. I breathed in the expansive gloom and felt the strength build inside my chest until I wanted to scream, laugh, cry, shout. I looked around at the drama boiling in my unleashed thoughts. I needed to make a stand. I needed to express my anguish loudly.
A dark wooden bar faced a handful of tall tables surrounded by equally tall chairs. Silver and I took a pair of seats at one of the tables where Trevor joined us. “What can I get you?” he asked and went behind the bar to fetch the drinks. A dark round DJ sat beside Silver in the fourth chair. He began to babble a low jargon filled rant of work and women. “And a bit of spanking,” he added at the close. Trevor came back with the drinks and shooed the naughty DJ away.
“So let’s go.”
“Gone,” I said, reaching for the door. We made our way to the convertible and climbed in. Another night. Another bunch of songs.
The roads were nearly deserted by eight o’clock but in the heat of the summer the sun still shone brightly. I had some of the songs I considered singing playing on the stereo and tested my voice against the lyrics. I had been singing so often lately, that I had to be cautious of over-working my voice but on that particular night, I was going strong, full of verve, ready to shine.
The next step on our journey occurred a year or so later. We had taken to eating at a fusion Indian restaurant, curry and jalapenos and grew familiar with the wait staff. They hung out routinely at a bar across the road, the Q and so we followed them there. One evening, the Q hosted a karaoke show, run by the same fellow who had queued up Queen for me at the Green Fairy. Emboldened by the familiar face, I decided to give public singing another go.
It was a cold winter night when the adventure first began. The crowd where I first met Silver had dispersed long before but a few of the more organized among the sordid ones had gathered together and purchased a small bar on the far side of town. Looking for ways to escape the troubles that had been haunting us so long, we made the trek across the highway to the Green Fairy in a section of downtown that was nearly entirely deserted at night. I parked my car across the street and crossed to recover some semblance of self-determination.
For many years, most of my singing was done while walking, tape player on my hip, headphone stretched over my curls. All of my life, from the first days of school, I have been a walker. Miles and miles every day, I walked alone, enjoying the solitude and isolation that came with my travels. I walked to school, to work, to see friends, to shop. I wandered down streets, over fields, through vast parking lots. I sang in full voice, oblivious to anyone who might see me or hear me. I grew strong in body and sound.