September 20


There was a fine mist falling from the sky as I crossed to the South side of the river. Though I was late, I paused to peer over the edge of the bridge. The mist made the city lights reflecting off the Liffey look romantic, and far away, like perhaps they existed several decades ago, in simpler times, and were just coming back to visit for the night. The reflections seemed to be like the light of stars long burnt out, their light just reaching us now.  The whole city blurred around the edges. Everything looks better with blurred edges. Maybe that’s why we love booze and loud music and rain.

In two weeks here, I had already experienced more kinds of rain than I thought existed. In Dublin, you often hear the rain before you feel it. In this city, you also tend to hear the band before you see them. It took me a second to figure out where the cozy jazz ballad was coming from. From the corner of my eye I finally spotted the band.. except they were up in the air.

I walked into the tiny coffee shop and gazed up at the loft, only big enough for three musicians up there. Their soft tunes filled the small, narrow room. I didnt recognize the song they were playing, but it was in no rush at all. That song hit snooze, then hit it again, had a very reluctant start to its day, but smiled the whole time.

I surveyed the clientele of this coffee shop bathed in Wednesday night jazz. A man facing the window, reading a thick book. His shoulders hunched as his glasses sat in a nest of thick hair. Two lonely guys on bar stools who seemed unsure of where to direct their eyes: their coffee cups, the band, the window, a random spot on the wall? A boy with long hair, his thin arm draped lazily around the girl next to him. He smiled with unabashed ease, leaned far back against the booth, pushed his hair back only for it to fall forward into his smiling face again.

The sleepy song ended softly. I stood by the door, intending to only stay for one more. The band discussed their next tune at length. I pretended, as I did most days, that patience is my strong suit. I thought I really must be going, I’m already late. Still they discussed. I really must be going. Just as I had decided to give up my guise of patience and was turning to head back in to the misty evening, I heard the opening notes of Tenderly. These days, the list of things I know for sure is small, which is at times disheartening, but undoubtedly makes it easier to remember. One of them is: when Tenderly plays, you listen.



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