It’s that moderate time of mid-winter, when the days start to be noticeably longer, and the weather milder. In the gentle breeze, there is a scent of something fresh and full of promise.
Although it is after dark, the temperature is well above freezing, so there is less urgency to rush, less danger of discomfort from the cold. I exhale and relax for a moment when out on an evening’s errand.
By the grocery store, the street violinist is fiddling her tunes. In all these years, I have never stopped to give her a tip. I see her face, and notice she is aging. Even familiar strangers grow older over time.
When my groceries have been paid for and loaded in the cart, I pass her again on my way back to the parking lot. I linger for a moment and decide to put a dollar in her hat, a small thanks for the melodies she has entertained me with for nearly two decades.
She greets me with a smile. One song has ended, and she is debating what to play next.
“I am trying to think of romantic songs,” she says, and then I remember that it is Valentine’s Day, a holiday that I don’t really celebrate, though not out of bitterness or cynicism.
I suggest the old standard “Isn’t it Romantic,” but she doesn’t know it. I thought it was Gershwin, but later find that it’s Rodgers and Hart.
She asks me to hum it, and I try, but it doesn’t ring a bell for her. And yet, it has sparked an idea. She has been playing popular songs of the day, the stuff the kids listen to. Maybe she should play some of the classics from musicals. There’s that song from “My Fair Lady” she likes.
She places the violin beneath her chin and uses her bow to summon “On The Street Where You Live,” a song I love.
I become conscious of the time, and that I must be going, but as I move along, those lovely notes carry me into a happy, romantic dream.