- Title: Tallsharon’s Extraordinary Adventures
- Address: afortunatelife.net
- Author: Sharon J. Corrigan
- From: Carlsbad
- Blogging since: 2008
- Post Title: Bitches Brew
- Post Date: Saturday, November 6, 2010
It’s 3 a.m., and we are headed home from the pub, both of us reeking of cigarettes and Guinness. Holding his hand, I trail behind. I follow him through a gap in the buildings to a sort of storage room behind a house, one of three on the property that are rented out to local musicians by Elizabeth, a woman of indeterminate age, who inherited this property in a wealthy suburb of an Australian city from her grandfather.
He unlocks the door of the drafty, unheated, two-room flat. The only furniture is an old table and two scuffed wooden chairs. The air is stale and musty; a large glass ashtray is overflowing on the floor, near the sleeping bags that served as his bed linens for who knows how many years.
I loved spending time there. We smoked, we talked, we listened to music, and we made love. We dreamed, we dozed, we made coffee, and we got ready. He played all sorts of places, paid and unpaid: in clubs, at parties, on cruise ships, with a big band at an RSL club. Trumpet. Always on him, except in bed. Before this man I never paid much attention to trumpets on their own. Saxophones, guitars, the occasional piano, maybe, but never trumpets. Now, it is often all I hear.
For Christmas one year, I had all his work clothes dry-cleaned: the tuxes, the black pants, and the white shirts. He was always grateful. I somehow knew that he has always had someone to do this for him. Good Karma, I think. And certain charms that even his mates would confirm.
I had never met anybody quite like him. He was kind of a cross between a father and a best friend. Looking back at my life, many of the men I’ve loved have had those same qualities.
“What was that again?” I was in the kitchen, cleaning up, and he was on the sofa listening to Miles Davis, a Guinness and the ashtray carelessly arranged within reach on the shag carpet.
“Come here; leave the dishes.”
I smiled to myself and hung the dishtowel on the stove handle. “Yes, sir,” I said, and flipped off the lights as I left the room.
“Come here,” he repeated, and as I rounded the corner into the living room, I saw that he had stripped down, dimmed the lights, and lit all the candles. His trumpet case was sitting open on the chair in the corner and he had hold of the curved metal instrument by the neck. He pursed his lips, blew out a few times, and brought it to his mouth. My legs gave way and I caught myself on the arm of the sofa, lowering myself to the ground at his feet. The mournful sound, the wailing, the night, jazz — God, I loved him.
I sat in wonder, watching his face as the music moved in for the evening, taking up residence in his soul. On his “on” days he was a star; his “off” days, barely off a beat, but the fire was dimmer, less focused.
“How did we ever get to this place?” I thought. I really don’t remember.
The music stopped. “I have to go to the loo,” he said, and stood up abruptly, flapping his way down the hall to pee. He was average height, with a bit of a belly, and the hair on his chest was turning grey. His hair was medium length, thinning in places; every once in a while he’d try to hide the grey by dyeing it a sort of auburn color that was endearing. His hands were stubby and thick, but magic.
He returned and lay down again on the couch. “Come here,” he said. “Lay on top of me. Yes, you can do it, stop laughing, be quiet. No, you aren’t too heavy; quiet baby, quiet. Listen to Miles.”
I suppose he was an alcoholic, but he was a gentle man, a self-proclaimed Buddhist, never mean, sometimes coarse, always playful, nurturing and needy, creative, sensitive.