Everything erased. Seats down, my shawl for a mattress, we lay in the trunk of the car. He had put on some Philip Glass when we arrived, the most beautiful songs, turned up as loudly as they are true. “I play these every morning when I get up” he said, and I briefly imagined how happy that would make me, to wake up to him on a piano the next room over. I would make breakfast and pester him. He would argue, I would laugh. We had reached into the car at the same moment, one from each side, to take the volume and turn it up. The music made certain that everything was cinematic, the way his voice curled around his cigarette’s smoke, the sound the water made curling around the causeway, how everything echoed the gray-blue sky tinted the same shade as my eyes.
My head in the hollow of his shoulder, gulls crying overhead, his feet hanging up on the edge of the back. It was a cascade. Interlocking pieces slipping together to create a perfect moment. Physician, heal thyself. Like this, with this stanza. Pianist as penicillin. Then this. We were waiting for a ferry, almost an hour early, when he had complained of being tired. (A man nearly always complaining, this one, of heat, of exhaustion, of needing to eat. Peevish, I called him, a charming bear caught in the belly of a human’s needs). So I had over-ruled his protests, moved his bags from the backseat to the front, and flattened the seats in the back of the car. “Come on,” I told him, improbably hoisting myself into the trunk. Cotton candy pink hair, a go-go dress, clunky wooden heels, and expensive, expensive black lace stockings, researched reproductions of tights from the 20’s. I can’t imagine what sort of quaint affair I looked like to the people across the lot, but he didn’t question me, only followed.
“Forever music,” he had said, as a woman from across the parking lot stood next to my car, holding her phone and head inside, recording the music on Shazam for later. I loved everything about her. Her sharp sentences, her undeniably commanding accent, so at peace with her clothing, her demeanor, the cut of her hair. Her voice was a treasure, as if she had been cast to be that person by some greater power. I had noticed her before she had approached us, before she realized we existed. She loves Philip Glass, she told us, and then described a concert she attended in Calgary that Michael Green was involved with. Coincidence. Sympathetic magnetism. A stranger who almost wasn’t. The notes rolling out like story movie magic.
“He wrote it when he was young, when the Dalai Lama came to visit.” I remembered my godmother, Silva, talking about the Dalai Lama. “The only person she had ever met who seemed completely full of light.” I called after him as he left, “remember what I said about longing,” instead of goodbye. But that was then, then later, and now, now we are in the trunk of the car, two manic pixie dream people parallel with the earth, resting, still, allowing ourselves and the music a chance to flourish. There is only piano, the sound of his heart, and the small, cutting call of a solitary bird. Maybe it is flying home.