i let it linger

I remembered the show when I opened my phone’s calendar to check my meeting schedule for the afternoon. Friday night at 7 o’clock, I had three tickets to a show at the university’s Performing Arts Center. I had a sinking feeling, if for no other reason than I had been imagining how nice it would be to get home from work, change into my pajamas, order takeout for the family’s dinner, and not move from the sofa until it was time for bed.

Halloween had been the night before, and it’s always a huge event in our neighborhood. I’d rushed home from work in time to help both kids into their costumes and set up the candy dispensing station on our front porch: rocking chair positioned in the center, just at the top of the steps, a small table nearby piled with a pillowcase filled with a few bags of candy (with extra bags stashed nearby), a bottle of hand sanitizer (because a trick-or-treater’s mom asked me for some one year), a handmade “OUT OF CANDY” sign, and a roll of scotch tape to use to hang the sign at the end of the night. And a glass of wine. Trick-or-treating started a few minutes before six, and for the next two plus hours, I handed out multiple pounds of candy, one piece at a time, to a parade of costumed children and teenagers and parents of bewildered infants in strollers.  It was a lot of fun but exhausting and a bit overwhelming for this introvert.

On Friday, all I wanted to do was hibernate, and I began looking forward to this after my first two meetings at work that morning. Until I checked my calendar and remembered the show.

I sighed, gave myself a pep talk – you can do this, you’ll have fun, it’s only a couple of hours – and made peace with the idea of going out that evening. I could relax after, and I could sleep in a bit on Saturday. It would all be okay, I told myself.

I’d bought three tickets to the event months before, after showing my son the brochure for the upcoming season of events at the Performing Arts Center. He plays trombone in his middle school band, and he was interested in hearing bands with a trombone player. I’ve learned from him that the trombone isn’t often highlighted in a piece of music, and we have encountered this when we’ve tried to find sheet music that features the instrument. We read the description of the band in the brochure – Sammy Miller and the Congregation – and we both noticed that the jazz band had a trombone player. I bought the tickets as soon as they went on sale – one for him, one for me, and an extra.

One of Oliver’s friends, another 7th grader who plays the tuba in the same middle school band, joined us for the evening. We weren’t sure exactly what to expect when we sat down at a little cocktail table to the left of the stage. It was crowded – everyone had clearly arrived before we did – and we’d taken three of the last open seats in the darkened performance hall. Oliver and his friend were the youngest in the audience, and I may have been a close second.

We weren’t sure what to expect, but when the music started, what we got was magic.

As the band played and entertained the audience, I looked around the room and watched men who could have been my father’s age nodding their head in time with the music. An older woman with white hair and hearing aids tapped her hand on the table to the beat. A couple who had to be in their 80s smiled and swayed in their seats, moving their upper bodies in synchrony. My own feet were tapping on the floor, and I couldn’t will them to stop. I also didn’t want to.

The trombone player had some solos during some of the songs, and I sneaked looks at Oliver during these. He watched the tall musician intently, a faint smile just beginning to turn up the corners of Oliver’s mouth. He was captivated, and because he was, so I was also. I was filled with a sense of joy in that moment – in so many moments over the 75-minute performance – and I silently kicked myself for my earlier hesitation in attending the event.

I kept thinking, as the toe of my boot kept the beat of the music, and as I saw the joy on the faces around me, that my father would have loved this. My father loved all music, and he loved listening to live performances. I have memories of him with his eyes closed, face turned heaven-ward, listening to an album in our living room, smiling to himself during a particularly intense guitar riff. He would have loved sitting in that performance hall with us, and he would have been so proud of Oliver for his love of music, for playing an instrument, for wanting to attend a jazz show with his mom.

When the set ended, it was hard to stop smiling and feeling that joy that had so permeated the room, an intangible presence that I could feel in my heart and in my soul.

So I let it linger.

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7 Responses to “i let it linger”

  1. 1
    Anonymous — November 3, 2019 @ 9:59 pm

    I am so glad to see you blogging again . I love to read about your feelings and reactions to life . I appreciate how honest and real you are . Welcome back .

  2. 2
    Allison Day — November 4, 2019 @ 2:13 am

    This is magical. <3

  3. 3
    Gail — November 4, 2019 @ 7:59 am

    I’m welcoming your writing back with open arms (and heart, of course). xo

  4. 4
    Colleen — November 4, 2019 @ 3:57 pm

    “I let it linger” – yes, we have been practicing this, too! Scheduling events – pushing through hesitation – and ending up on heart enriching adventures. Tapping toes, sharing others’ joy as our own, loving favorites with our children. Came for cherry galette recipe and your words made me smile. Thank you!

  5. 5
    Frances — November 6, 2019 @ 3:44 pm

    I’m happily surprised to see new posts as I stopped by on a whim just now. I enjoy your writing and join the others welcoming it (and you) back. xoxo

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