47.2 - Spring 2018

Page 141

“Keep playing, please,” I said, and savored the beer. Jon counted off and then I fell into their picking and circling, their hollering and yodeling, those humble, hopeful, blue harmonies rising up like a good breeze. I sat on the porch tapping my foot, drinking their beers. Sarah came out after an hour—clouded and clingy in sleepiness—and sat beside me, mid-song. The players nodded at her, smiling. She took a sip from my beer. The shade underneath the cottonwood was as pleasant as a cool bath. “What is this?” she asked. I shrugged and she smiled and leaned into me, putting her head on my shoulder. I think we both felt less lost there, in front of the music. I think we recognized the shadows of some opaque truth we had stumbled upon. We listened until the daylight grew weak, until everyone came home. That night we broke bread together—me, Sarah, the band, T.J. and Gretchen and Gretchen’s parents, a few friends in town for the wedding. We sat around afterward, drank wine and told stories. The evening among these strangers felt boisterous and tensionless, light, graceful. And then it became clear to both Sarah and me that we’d have to leave in the morning. I remember looking up and seeing that in her, during a moment when the conversation turned to noise and I felt myself apart from it. Those big eyes across the room, no longer searching for anything. The clarity in her face. We didn’t have to discuss it. The urge was to move on, but it was no longer desperate. A wholesome impulse, a longing to leave this place of warmth and carry it with us. It washed over like a wave. After dinner, we talked music with Jon, the guitarist. He and Sarah and I sat in the captain’s chairs in the band’s conversion van and watched the lightning finger picking of a Gypsy jazz guitarist on SPRING 2018

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