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Worth the Wait

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“And they hadn’t been that for a long time.” He finished his story and I knew what I would paint. Could almost see it. But there’s a strange thing about stories you hear when you’re twenty. The visions have changed quite a considerable bit by the time you arrive at forty-eight. The image that brandished you so long ago has stretched out like a cat lying in a sunbeam. And you hope the story begun so long ago is still as warm as the planks she reaches across.

“There was this guy, he worked with me in a restaurant. You know the kind where waiters come sing at your table and embarrass the hell out of everyone. Well anyway, this guy had such a wonderful voice that hardly anyone was embarrassed. He would begin to sing and all the chatter would stop. All of it. The dishes would stop clinking. The coffee would stop pouring. The entrées would remain shouldered in the air. His voice could serve something more delectable to his guests than deserts and bourbons. He delivered to their tables a single moment. And In that moment they found to their astonishment that they were no longer waiters or couples or artists or plumbers or mothers or businessmen or writers. They were dreamers. And they hadn’t been that for a long time.” He finished his story and I knew what I would paint.

And that was it. An entire “once upon a time“ in a paragraph. Could be my friend left the story for me to finish. Clever fellow. There have been a number of scenarios over the last two decades but none more provocative than the one I was left with. What in the short time of a song holds us spellbound? What holds these guests captive for so many years and what do they dream during his long serenade? What has stopped their revelry and makes them suddenly think not of the conversations they’re enjoying but, “I remember that boy, there’s still time to write, the sky was so blue that day, I wonder what color her eyes will be, they stayed up in that tree all day, she still loves me after all these years, will he look like me, I hope she says yes.”

What would you dream given the moment?

So like my pals brief story that’s it. A painting of an instant. That moment when each hears a different song and lives in different lands and travels in different times. It’s enough to look at them and know that they are more than paint and canvas. They are my family and my friends caught up in a moment that we rarely get to witness in each other. I’m reconciled that I may never know the answers to the musing and longings of my guests. Should they ever return however I believe the stories they have to tell will be worth the wait.