Transferring from the 7 to the 6 under Grand Central I was transported to a different time. I heard his smoky strains as I passed him and smiled without seeing his face. My personal rule is that if someone can make me instinctively, unthinkingly smile with their music then I only owe them the change I have saved from the last time I was stingy. In one motion I walked past and instantly turned right around to add a tip to his hat and before he could say it I said, “thank you.” Thank you for slowing time down in this terminal, for transforming what it feels like to be alive in this station right now. The air felt full of mist and more serious somehow under the influence of his song.
I climbed the stairs and it wasn’t enough. I felt like a woman with dark hair and a red dress in a jazz club and maybe I was all of those things, except the dress was a salwar kameez and I was on my way back from an Eid celebration. I stood at the top and wished I had a partner with me because I would have taken him or her down in some kind of serious slowdance. I settled at taking my phone out to record the moment when to the next man who stopped to notice his music, he handed a white piece of paper and pointed in front of him, some twenty thirty feet away in the direction I stood. The musician took my breath away as I thought that maybe it could be me the note was for. His messenger seemed like he was about to pass me as he walked under the staircase, but he stopped and passed the card up through the rails.
Trumpeter / Drummer
Director of the Kenny J. Orchestra
PLAY SKILLFULLY UNTO THE LORD
His name is Kenny John and he plays skillfully unto the Lord and if his trumpet can transform a terminal like that, then we can do anything.
I was happy to be alone on my next escalator, up, so I could shift my weight from side to side in slow dance with self, curls bunched in one hand, feeling more beautiful just by his presence, until he was out of earshot.