I just want you to know that I’m feeling very depressed. Oh, no wait. That was someone else. No, I’m not depressed. I’m feeling sick, actually. Low-grade fever, achy, chills. Gross. But THE SHOW MUST GO ON. It’s only Day 2! I can’t let my clever readers down just because of some piddly little FEVER. Unless it’s dance fever, or cabin fever. Maybe one of those. But ordinary fever? NEVER.
So here we are then. Day 2 of Blovember (blogging in November—see what I did there?), achy, chilled, and feverish, and because I’m feeling achy and feverish it seemed appropriate to spend some time writing about……. love. Specifically, young love. Young, puppy love. Wide-eyed, open-armed, the-future-is-what-we-make-of-it, world-is-our-oyster, I-just-met-you-and-this-is-crazy love.
Someone has set up some pianos on State Street in Santa Barbara. Public pianos. Playable by anyone who happens to be passing by. Perfectly playable, actually. And painted. Perfectly playable painted pianos in public. I was walking down the street of painted pianos the other night with my friend Jamie (who came to visit for the weekend), and there, across the street, playing one of the painted pianos, was a boy in a hat. He was probably around 18 or 19. I stopped for a minute and listened from across the street. He was playing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. Lovely. I’m a sucker for that song and it’s not easy to sing it well, without sounding sentimental and schmaltzy. The kid was singing it well. At that moment, he was both himself, and at the same time, he was every young man. Every boy with rosy cheeks and a smile that shines with the light of a heart as-yet-unbroken. Everyone who ever had a desire to sing a love song to the open air, with the hope that someone would hear. We decided to cross the street.
It was while we were waiting for the crosswalk sign to turn that I realized that even though I still feel like a rosy-cheeked high schooler, it’s been a long time now that those days have been gone. My own boy is only a few years away from the heady, hopeful adrenaline rush of adolescence. The piano player wouldn’t see the young person inside, but an old lady, and certainly not the smiling young thing he was (probably) hoping for.
So after crossing the street, I said nothing, just stood with my back to the Old Navy, and listened. I listened while he finished Hallelujah, and started singing Let it Be. Somewhere halfway through Sir McCartney’s transcendent chorus, she appeared. Glossy brown hair, rosy cheeks, leggings, boots, a scarf, and a shy smile.
“Do you know any Coldplay?” she asked.
“I know most of The Scientist,” he said, and started it off.
…You don’t know how lovely you are
I had to find you
Tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart
Tell me your secrets
And ask me your questions
Oh let’s go back to the start…
“Nobody said it was easy,” he sang. And it isn’t. The roses fade a bit, and the eyes stop shining quite so brightly, and start to glow with something a bit less audacious. Something that looks like a cross between wisdom and heartbreak. But just then, in that moment, a boy and a girl smiled at each other. He sang, she ran her hands through her hair. They both smiled, and they neither one of them knew how lovely they were.