miss lady #13 in a series

BLACK YOUNG LADY GIRL
Once I was in Brighton (pause) the beach, you know. It was stormy that day. He didn’t want to go but I made him take me there. (pause. She now imitates an older, upper class englishman) “I can’t see the road yet you speak only of your hair. I so love you.” (she sighs, shakes her head and rolls her eyes as if to say what a dork – she drops the accent). All I’d said was “Shit, I wish I’d brought a hat.” But of course he spent the whole way there obsessing on that. (pause) The house in London was huge but the rooms were so small. I needed to breathe again. (pause) We made it to the beach and parked. How the hard rain beat against his car. He wanted to wait until the storm had died down a bit. Boring. He made a stupid observation about the sound of the rain hitting metal. Something about it sounding like hundreds of small steel drums. That sort of business used to work on me. Boring. “I’m getting out” I said. But as we exited the the storm stopped cold. Brighton Beach fell silent. The air smelled fresh and yet strangely…old. But there were no screeching gulls. No boats. No sea foam. And I was excited to be so far from home. All you could hear was the churning of the ocean. And for a minute I so enjoyed entertaining the silly notion that I could stare all the way across the Atlantic and wave to Brooklyn. I imagined all fourteen of them at Coney Island…lined up side by side at the water’s edge…instruments dangling from their necks…rocking their heads to a private rhythm… and waving back at me… Serenading me. And I smiled directly at each one of them from across the roaring Atlantic. And I couldn’t hear their song. And I didn’t care. That was a free and beautiful minute. Then I looked down at the sand. Then looking back up I could not tell where the ocean ended and the sky began. It was all a roaring towering wall of gray. And it made me sick. And then without a word to him I turned and ran away. And I didn’t fuck him that night.

THE AUDIENCE THERAPIST
what kind of music does your family play?

BLACK YOUNG LADY GIRL
(not really responding to the question but sort of) They play beautifully together. They sound like a family, you know? There’s a brutally psychic quality about their jamming, you know?…it’s seamless…it’s southern, really… funky, you know?

THE AUDIENCE THERAPIST
What do you mean by “brutally psychic”?

BLACK YOUNG LADY GIRL
What? Did i say “brutally”? Ha! I meant to say utterly…utterly psychic, yes. They know what each other are going to play before they play it! Brutally in-fucking-deed!! Ha! Ha! Ha! (pause as laughter fades slowly into a smile which fades slowly into a composed trance – then back to something that looks like normal…) Anyway, their music gets so loose, so funky sometimes that it can get…(looks as if she’s found the word but hesitates cuz she thinks she’s gonna sound crazy)…it can be…like sometimes – not all the time, mind you – but sometimes the music – and really, not all the time but sometimes…like on holidays and three day weekends… the music almost seems like its…yer gonna think I’m crazy…I guess its too late for that right, ha ha! Never mind. Later. OK fuck it — I was just gonna…I was just going to say – sometimes the music they make sounds like it’s warning them…like they are taking it too far. (long pause). And thats when they all start smiling. (she is not smiling) They have a smile, you see. A smile all their own. I have never smiled that smile. It’s a musician’s smile. Its theirs alone. They smile like that when the jam reaches the edge of the abyss and they’re all looking down into it and then they look up at me and I’m floating over their abyss and they’re all smiling directly at me and I’m mostly terrified in those moments floating above their abyss when I’m ten years old in the middle of the living room floor grinning and whirling from the beginning spinning my ballet class moves mid air hovering over the complex mouth of their southern abyss surrounded by rusty strings and the smellsound of bangingburning woodmetal moldyamps a dustyfenderrhodes and then the overdivenguitar explodes…I’m terrified of this song – there’s too much in it. I can see into this abyssong. Don’t let me fall in it. I’m floating over it yesterday and now in pink ballet slippers. And I’m not smiling. Because that abyss isn’t mine. I don’t have one…yet.

/s

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