Jukebox street

People breathe different things all the time.

Some would say they live for knowledge, others would say they live for entertainment. As for her, she breathes music; of ringing melodies and beating rhythm, the churn of dancing instruments and revered voices like a CD that continues to spin at the back of her mind, one copy after another. And when one record has finally reached its last note, she could have sworn it is the automatic switch that allows her to hum another and another and another. It’s an endless cycle and without it, she is just a girl in the midst of London crowd.

She pulls her scarf closer to her lips, blocking away the solid keen chill from penetrating her facial skin. Her fingers have trembled enough for all the organs in her system and still the Siberian sky continues to pour down its arctic children of ivory down onto her winter coat. The snow beneath her feet supple and genuine a platform bathed in a group of anxious footprints of her Vans, so slippery and one careless move could lead to a fall of embarrassment. But falling, perhaps she had fallen far before she realized it. The blanket of snow doesn’t – cannot – win against her. There’s a bigger force, a harder threat that works far more effectively than the unsteady ground.

Like Denmark Street, for example. 

The short, narrow road of turbulent central London is calling; come, young lady, come, a magic spell from an unknown witch but there’s no time to ask. Five more minutes til the clock strikes seven, five more minutes til it starts, five more minutes til he starts. Breath hitching, she leans against the nearest lamp post, counting heartbeats of rapid excitement – thud, thud, thud – with eyes the color of clear ice closed, dark and waiting, naked pink lips murmuring – counting backward, 10, 9, 8, 7

6, 5, 4, 3, 2–

The bulbs flicker on, including the one inside the lamppost she’s currently leaning against, radiating every corner of the street. Hands curled into nervous twin knuckles, she stares at a young man dressed in crumpled winter suit, face shielded from the world who speaks of evil and lies, hidden underneath a plaid, grey flat cap. His fingers, skeletal thin and smokey charcoal-like smeared in calluses, begin to touch his acoustic guitar in a way she couldn’t really describe in words. She’s curious, eager...intrigued – of music, the British Tin Pan Alley, his music, his corner. He doesn’t speak, he never did. In contrast to other street musicians along the road, he spews words in blackout against his notes; little by little, day by day, second by second.

He’s an oddball, everyone said. He’s probably mute, others deduced.

Or maybe, she whispers, maybe they don’t – refuse – to understand. He’s delivering a message, he’s saying something and all this time she has been watching his performance from afar, he is absolutely far beyond mute. If she were to spill an answer, it is to listen; don’t ask, just listen for his notes articulate words inscribed in one long invisible script and unless you listen to it, you’d never hear him declare anything.

You see, people breathe different things all the time.
Some breathe books, while others breathe art.

She, on the other hand though, breathes the magic in this street, the continuous rhythm and everlasting musical deity. This place is hers, she belongs here and she will, no matter how many times work is going to scream from inside her apartment, go back – again and again – to this place, to the same spot for his performance.

Let the show begin.

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