It is late afternoon. The temperature is 29C, humidity above 55%. Everyone seems to be in a hurry to get back into pleasant, controlled environs. Two tote bags, one on each shoulder I carry as I walk on.
Someone clears her throat behind me. Suddenly a song. After a few seconds she is in the groove and singing– in another age I’d have written with gay abandon– well, joyfully. I do the most natural thing. I slow down.
The singing woman and her companion overtake me. The woman is taller and has her right arm around the man’s shoulders, a gold chain sparkles on his neck and the grey shows on his head. They are sharing an earpiece each– listening to the same song that the woman is singing aloud. We are on the 8th Ave. I turn on the 11th. I hope so do they.
Now I’ve got time. Walking uncharacteristically slowly, I follow the couple listening to the song (I am afraid I have no idea which song it was).
Never missing a step, arm around the shoulder, singing her heart out the couple walk on. I follow. On 10th Ave the song ends. The woman has stopped singing. We’ve come upon a red light. The man takes her face in both his arms and kisses her. The cabs are turning right, the drivers are going to get a halal meal at the food cart parked on the opposite side of this street.
I turn left. The couple continue towards 11th Ave, still in step, arm around the shoulder, sharing an earpiece each listening to the same song.
Perhaps someday I'll wonder more about the significance of that song. Or, the couple’s ability to create a space for just the two of them unmindful of the world. But that day is not today.
Today I say thank you for the music. For giving it to me.