by Dynah Jaysa Zale
Jaysá sat at her regular table and watched the man she had dreamt about for months play the clarinet. Beautiful sounds emerged from his horn and into her heart.
Jaysá was convinced that this sexy musician was her eternal soul mate, future husband and father to her unborn children. She believed that every song he played was dedicated to her.
She was not bothered by the fact that she did not know his name and had never spoken a word to the man; those were minor details.
The blended harmony from the jazz musicians relaxed Jaysá. It was a quick remedy to help relieve her from the pressures of her nine to five. The only thing she loathed was the presumptuous sounds that came from the saxophone. The saxophone possessed such a strong baritone sound that reminded her of a cargo ship blowing its whistle at high noon. Its disruptive tone pushed its way into each song, and turned the performance into chaos.
Jaysá did her best to block out the saxophone player, but with every note that he played she shot daggers in his direction. She looked around at the crowd of people; no one else appeared to be as irritated about the saxophone as she was.
Jaysá had decided that tonight was going to be the night she would introduce her self to the handsome clarinet player. After the band had finished their set, she watched him walk to the side of the stage and carefully place the clarinet back in its carrying case. She stood up, took a deep breath and walked in his direction. She held a single white rose in her hand that she had bought for him. Just before she approached him a woman embraced him from behind.
“Hey baby! That was wonderful.” She exclaimed.
“Thanks” he replied. Then she watched them kiss each other passionately on the lips. Her heart ached as a single tear rolled down her cheek and the white rose she held fell to the ground.
“Excuse me Miss. You dropped this.” Jaysá looked up into the face of the saxophone player. He held the rose out to her, “Would you mind if I bought you a drink?” he asked.
Not able to hold back the tears any longer she replied, “I’m sorry. I can’t.” She grabbed her coat and ran out of the club.
Jaysá stared into the black tunnel that released commuter trains every six to eight minutes during rush hour. Her heart still hurt from the blow of reality that smacked her in the face. She had been such a fool to believe that the clarinet player at the club was in love with her.
She pulled her full-length wool coat tighter around her body. The cool autumn air had snuck back into the city and cuddled up next to her. She rubbed her hands together and paced the subway platform in an effort to get warm. She couldn’t wait to get home and start the novel she had just bought. She needed to take a fictional voyage into the lives of imaginary people.
She listened closely for the roar of the train to come blaringly down the tracks instead she heard the sounds of a saxophone being played in the distance. Why was she being haunted by the detestable sounds of the sax she wondered. She listened for a few more minutes. The harmony sounded pretty good she thought. As a matter of fact it was really good. She had never listened to a saxophone being played for this long, but the harmony was so consistent and the musician held each note so tight that she found her self being lured towards the sound. She needed to see who it was that could make the ugly sounds of a sax sound so beautiful.
She followed the sound down the subway corridor until she found the master of this piece. She watched the artist finish off the final note and pull the horn from his lips.
He looked over at the sole member of his audience and was surprised to see her standing in front of him. “Hello.” he responded.
“Hi” She was surprised to see the same guy from the club who offered to buy her a drink the night before.
“This is a nice surprise. What brings you to my lovely abode?” he jokingly asked.
“I was drawn this way by the sound of a lovely melody.” She laughed, “I have never heard a saxophone sound so beautiful. Did you write that piece yourself?”
“I sure did” he replied.
An awkward moment of silence blew a dollar bill over his foot. “I guess some commuters enjoyed the live performance and left me a tip.” He picked up a few dollars from off the ground. “Would you care to join me for a cup of coffee at the diner across the street?” He asked.
“I’d like that.”
Ten minutes later they talked over two warm cups of coffee.
“Do you usually play in the passageways of the subway system?” she asked.
“I don’t do it that often; just when the mood strikes me.” He took a sip from his coffee cup. “Playing underground makes my music come alive.”
“I understand, when I heard the music I felt its power overtake my body. I was helpless. There was nothing I could do to stop it.”
He held up his horn and smiled, “That’s the power of the sax.”
“I have always hated the saxophone,” she admitted.
“You have just broken my heart.” He grabbed a hold of his heart as if she had just stabbed him in it.
“I’m sorry; to me it was a hideous metal object that was always so loud. Every time I hear it, I felt like it didn't belong.”
“What attracted you to it today?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”
“I think maybe you finally opened up your ears to hear it’s unique melody. I’ve seen you at the club staring at Xavier and his clarinet. Allowing his clarinet to take you places only women dream about.”
She blushed from embarrassment. “I guess I was so in to him that I allowed him to seduce me through his music.”
Clay took another sip of his coffee, “I’d like to invite you to come hear me play.”
“I just heard you play last night.” She replied.
“No, I mean really hear me play.” He stressed. “Last night I played with a band. At this club I’m given the opportunity to show my skills. I still play with a band, but I get a few solo parts. I would like for you to hear what a baritone sax really sounds like.”
She smiled and graciously accepted his offer.
Jaysá rushed into the underground jazz club and quickly grabbed a seat in a small booth in the back of the club. She knew she was late, but hoped that she hadn’t missed Clay’s solo performance. She watched the band on stage finish a familiar Miles Davis song before the lights were dimmed and a single spotlight hit center stage.
She watched Clay step into the spotlight and gently rest his lips on his saxophone’s mouthpiece. The next sound she heard was a melody that immediately captured the audience. The harmony exploded throughout the club drawing her into a trance. His fingers moved over the different keys, pressing long and hard.
The crowd watched him move to the edge of the stage. With one final blow Clay released a note that hung in the air until he was breathless.
The audience exploded into applause and gave a standing ovation. Jaysá ran to the stage to tell him how much she enjoyed his performance. Just before she reached him a woman dressed in a red low cut dress propositioned him. “Your performance was flawless. Can I buy you a drink?” she asked.
Unresponsive to her obvious advances, “Thanks for the compliment, but my impeccable performance was for an impeccable lady.” He pushed past her and over to Jaysá. “Are you ready to go?”
Jaysá smiled and they left the club together.