Out in the hall a French woman and a Russian woman speak in English, their voices bright and cordial. Soon after, a Greek woman speaks boisterously on the phone, sometimes in English and other times in her native tongue. In a different time and place, two men from Ireland harmonize together on a stage and banter between songs.
On a day when heat chokes the air and cars snarl along the road, I listen to limpid music; it spills and flows over all the other sounds - horns, brakes, birds, the stutter of machinery, conversation, the creak of trees in the wind.
We could easily have taken the bus, but why not walk? Without walking we wouldn't have as much time to talk, or see the river at thirty minutes to midnight, or come across that sculpture with the words carved into it from several different languages, French and Greek included.
There's a primordial fury to the rain; it mashes up the ground, crackles on the windows, and clots the air.
In the wake of the storm, trees stretch out leafy and shattered on walkways, cars, and roof corners. Branches lie in all angles on the sidewalks and sometimes dangle in the embrace of other branches that have remained aloft and intact.
Music in a long dark room lit with candles in glass, the illustrations on the walls crowding around to listen in shades of red, white and black. With voices that fit well together the musicians sing about old love, new love, a laughing universe, what it would be like to be a work of art, and how they're traveling around in search of feet; at one point they invite a friend to jam with them on the guitar, and she's in a trance, so happy to be up there playing and part of the music.
It's a song he once knew by heart; now he wrestles different passages out of the piano. Whenever he comes to a lacuna in his memory, he sits with fingers splayed across his forehead and stares with a puzzled frustration at the keys.