I was waiting on the subway platform this morning thinking about a family member across the country who’s going through a rough time right now. I was feeling sad that all the good deeds in the world can’t help her right now.
Then I heard the most beautiful music echoing through the station. The haunting strains of an acoustic guitar.
Now this subway stop often broadcasts classical music over the speakers in the afternoon to discourage teens from congregating and hanging out in the station. But it was just after 8 a.m. I listened more closely and realized the music wasn’t coming from the speakers, but from someone further down the platform.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know I’ve rarely met a busker I didn’t like. And this person was really good.
I couldn’t place the folky melody, or see who was playing, but it took me away from my dark thoughts and I was grateful. I pulled some coins from my pocket and went looking for the guitar player. There’s a wall that separates the platform into sections and as I rounded the wall, there he was.
A dark man in khaki pants and a plaid shirt, wearing a baseball cap sat on a bench strumming the strings lovingly. I stood for a minute and noticed other people listening too. I knew my train would be coming any minute, so I gathered my coins to toss into the guitar case at his feet, but it was closed. I reached forward to lay the money on top.
He stopped playing and waved me away. “No,” he laughed gently. “No money. I practice.” He had a soft voice and island accent.
“You’re not a busker?” I asked, my cheeks reddening.
He shook his head no, but continued smiling, his arms hugging the guitar.
I froze for a second, feeling like an idiot and hoping I hadn’t offended him by offering money. I slipped it back in my pocket.
“Then you should be,” I said, chuckling at myself. I pointed to his guitar. “You’re very good.”
He lowered his eyes with a modest little smile. I swear he blushed.
“You are,” I continued, giving him a parting thumbs up before I walked back up the platform to catch my train … not a moment too soon….
P.S. Here’s the late Jeff Healey (of Toronto) playing the George Harrison classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” … sniff. Enjoy!