Memories of a love lost, never to be found again
It will be fun, one says.
A way to get your mind off him, another says.
Reluctantly, I comply – allowing myself to be dragged into the newest joint on the block. ‘Soul Sessions’ it is called – a place for young, hip African-Americans to get in touch with their inner rhythm and blues. It is where one can connect with their afro-centric roots, enjoying the soothing sounds of jazz, bebop, contemporary music, and poetry – the spoken word.
In the gloom of the room, we are nothing but shadows drifting towards each other, seeking reprieve from the harshness of the cold streets; of society not willing to give us a chance. In here, amongst the shadows, I crouch and huddle within myself, sipping a concoction of beverages with no name – an aphrodisiac to my senses.
On the stage, a performance concludes. The crowd claps obediently, murmurs rising to a crescendo as discussions arise on who is to enchant us next. The MC walks out, and with flourish and style, introduces him – the young, black man guaranteed to strike a chord deep within our hearts.
Suddenly the lights fall. The stage is black. A pregnant silence reigns.
And just like that…he appears.
Sitting on a stool, head lowered as the first notes of the unseen piano are heard. His hair is a mix of afro and curls…as if undecided of which direction to take. He’s in a shabby light blue sweater and a dark pair of pants, hands clasped tightly on his lap as if struggling to fight the nerves.
The single strobe of light reflects behind him, like a halo…a coronation from the heavens, and when he looks up – he acknowledges us…but sees no one at all.
He opens his mouth, and I am transported to another world. Every note, trembling with emotion – the depth of his pain. He cries without shedding a tear. His loneliness palpable as the audience leans into him, seemingly hoping they could give him the strength and love he desperately seeks.
My fingernails dig into my palms and I swallow hard to fight back the torrent of emotions that wrack through me. It’s almost unfair. This power he still has over me.
And when he approaches the climax, his voice breaks. It’s simply too much too take and like a coward, I rise to my feet, blinded by a thin veil of his unspoken plea as our eyes finally meet in that claustrophobic room.
She’s…out of my life…
In the pouring rain, I stand shivering as I ignore my friends’ concerns.
They’re sorry, one says.
They didn’t know he’d be here, another says.
That jerk, one reports.
How dare he? Another chimes.
But they do not understand – that his pain is my pain. That we both hurt each other just as much. But unlike me, his release is through song while I have nothing left but the memories of a love that was simply not meant to be.
We thought we had forever, and we took it for granted. We could never express how we felt, preferring to skirt around ‘that word’ for so long until it exploded spectacularly in our faces with pride, lies and deceit.
Oh, how foolish we were.
Now, there is simply no going back – for his life is destined for the stratosphere, while I am to remain on earth, licking my wounds and wondering just what could have been.
He’s out…of my life…