Misty Streets

Posted by Lori | Posted in | Posted on 3:19 PM


It's starting to get cold in Oviedo, and rainy. A thin layer of water reflects the fractured streetlight as I walk home from a meeting at L'Arcu.*

I pass by Swing, a jazz club I've been tempted by many times. There's an antique bike hanging in the window. I hear music. Jazz music. Live jazz music. I peer inside. It looks empty.

I twist my foot into the ground in hesitation. It's the hesitation that's my signal. I walk in.

Attractive bar tender wearing a trendy t-shirt. No red wine.** I get a drink and choose a table close to the trio playing. One on base, one on drums, one seated at the piano. And they're good. They're having fun.

The bar is empty except for them, another girl who seems to be their friend, and me.

I pull out my sketchpad and before I can draw, I write:

I walked past the jazz club I'd seen so many times before...I like jazz. It can't be written - it can't really be drawn - logically. It's just rapid movement. Flashes of color and light and sound....I think the drummer just asked me a question and I wasn't paying attention and I just laughed instead. And I think he's insulted. He's noisy. Now they're all singing. It's...I feel like I'm watching something that should be happening in someone's basement.

Not long after, the pianist switches to a fast salsa number. The drummer tries to pull his friend out of the booth to dance. She refuses. I'm his second choice. And, of course, I oblige.*** The quick dance breaks the barrier between myself and the others.

After the dance I return to my sketchpad. My dance partner comes to see what I'm doing. I won't let him see. So he tells me that he will draw me something. Anything.

"Dime...cualquier palabra."


He draws a piano with a lamppost growing out of it surrounded by some trees. He writes at the bottom, "Se tu misma. Y nunca te olvides de disfrutar del momento."**** And so I show him my sketches.

Later, they play "Ain't No Sunshine." I sing softly to myself while I draw. They notice, and pull me beside the piano to sing. There's no objecting. I sit beside the pianist, smile to calm myself, and slowly begin the song. Smooth and smoky. They look surprised. And then smile at each other. The bassist says something about how he didn't expect that to come from me. I just laugh. After the song, the pianist hugs me.

And from then on, it's a night of humming and singing, chatting about nothing, and trying to understand their jokes.

Later I ask the pianist to play me something and I'll work out a song. I get a happy start. Then they grab my notebook away from me and tell me that I'm going to be rich all of them the next day. Their eyes flash in jest. I protest as best I can.

We pack up. The bar is closing. We head into the slightly misty streets.

I like jazz. It's never still. It's movement and spotnaneity. It's streetlights and misty nights and smoky bars. It's water dropping from the leaves of trees, falling into soft puddles on the bricks that our feet encounter as we walk home.

*A "comercio justo" shop I'm starting to get involved with.
**How can a jazz club not have red wine? That, my friends, is a travesty.
***I decided, when I was in my first salsa club here, that if someone asks you to dance, you dance. Especially when it comes to salsa.
****Be yourself. And never forget to enjoy the moment.

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