He watched her from across the street. Perched on a plastic milk crate, the guitar case open at her feet filling slowly with dollar bills and spare change of passersby as her fingers deftly changed chords, playing a seemingly endless string of soulful classics with a voice throaty and full of experience beyond her years. She’d slipped off her shoes and her bare feet tapped the ground in time with the music. She was mesmerizing and invisible all at once…existing in the background of the day and yet so much a part of the moment. How different the plaza would seem without her soundtrack as its backdrop.
A crowd gathered, blocking his view and he took the opportunity to cross and change his vantage point. Watching her from behind, he could see what she saw…the faces of the crowd, smiling, singing along with her…happy. This handful of strangers, even if for only as long as the song lasted, had found a little piece of joy. He could actually see it on their faces and he envied her in that moment.
Not everyone stopped to listen. There were those who kept walking, singing along quietly to themselves as they made their way to where they were going. Others hurried by, preoccupied with their thoughts and oblivious to the music and the golden-haired girl with the shining eyes and the well-worn guitar. He watched as a little girl approached shyly with a dandelion picked from the grass at the center of the square. She smiled back nervously at her mother then stepped closer and placed the flower in the case. The busker, mid-song, winked at the girl, sending her giggling back toward her mother. There it was again… joy. An exchange had taken place, not for the first time that day.
He peered into the case as he stepped forward to put in the five dollar bill that he’d pulled from his own pocket and saw the myriad of things she’d collected over the past few hours. The flower was not alone, there were others, and scraps of paper with notes scrawled on them (he wondered what they said) and quarters and dollar bills…there were even a few tens and twenties mixed in. And as he stepped back and raised his gaze, her eyes met his and a smile spread wide across her face that reached inside him and brought forth his own. It was more than music that she offered… he understood now.
God she was so much like her mother. He would tell her that tonight over dinner and for the first time it would not be hurled at her as a judgment in the heat of an argument. He’d missed her…missed out on so much of her…and for what? She was happy. She was doing what she loved and making others happy in the process, which was more than he could say about himself. He waved to her as he crossed the street toward his car, having seen all he needed to see and far more than he’d expected.
©Kelly Rainey and 500wordsandcounting.wordpress.com, 2016
**This story inspired the creation of more art. Take a look. But first…
Want to explore what else this blog has to offer, receive emails when I post new stories, or send me a private message? Just click on the menu icon near the top right corner of the page.
But before you go…scroll down if you’d like to share your feedback about this story or see what others are saying.
*Reading this story from within an email? You’ll need to click here first to be able to see the menu icon, to scroll down for comments, etc.
Become a Patron and get audio versions of all new stories! Click here to learn more.
Not ready to become a Patron? Please consider making a small, one-time donation in support of all the time and effort that goes into creating the stories you enjoy. Thanks!