Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Horn Blower

Josh shoved his hands into the pockets of his caramel colored slacks, once the button to the lobby had been pressed. He didn’t typically walk around that way, but he was afraid he might belt someone if his hands were free of his pockets.

“Happy place, indeed,” Josh thought to himself in disgust, as he stormed from the elevator. Asking him to close his eyes and visit his happy place, was like asking a quadriplegic to perform somersaults. Every time Josh shut his eyes, he relived the single most terrifying moment of his life.

He could clearly see himself leaving the Thrifty-Mart, with his bag full of frozen dinners and discount beer. He recalled mentally debating whether to nuke the Mexican Trio or the Turkey Feast for supper that night, when he heard the first loud crack. Two more cracks followed in rapid succession, chased by a searing pain in his back. He remembered the pavement racing toward his face an instant before everything went black.

Three years had past, and the memory was still as vivid as if it had happened a week ago. Now, the only psychiatrist who’d accept Medicare, was telling him to picture bikini strewn beaches in his head. He stormed from the skyscraper’s glass doors, fit to spit acid into the eyes of passers by.

At first, his rage hid the music from his consciousness. A trumpet, playing Serenade In Blue, served as soft background music to a tapestry of angry musings. As Josh approached the sidewalk of Market Street, the music began to tickle the fringes of his awareness. Each note drew him closer to their master, until he found himself staring directly down at the source of music.

The black man’s legs were folded into yoga’s bound angel pose, as he leaned his back against the cement dividing wall, and blew expertly into his shiny brass instrument. A set of dark, almost black, fingers protruded from a pair fair raggedy fingerless wool gloves and operated the sparkling keys with precision. His cheeks puffed into replicas of plump ripe tomatoes smudged with garden soil. The glistening horn made the blower’s long musty coat and hole ridden trousers seem all the more dull by comparison. Yet, as the horn blower manipulated the instrument, which almost seemed to be a part of the blower’s body, Josh could sense a contentment emanating from the man.

With his hands still firmly in his pockets, Josh leaned his shoulder against the wall and closed is eyes, really closed his eyes. As the music filled his pores, he allowed himself to rest in the moment.

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