Stage hands brought the house lights up, sliding those long electrical handles to make it brighter and safer for the departing ticket buyers.
I knew the show was over.
My high, my ride, the feeling of God in the house, was now gone, the set was complete.
But, something still rang in the house, a feeling of energy, maybe a ghost of love and music, maybe all in my head.
My feeling was like smelling maple syrup and pancakes, waiting downstairs on Sunday morning, just before you wake up. It was real, and I had to follow.
The music lovers had mostly left their seats, shuffling the aisle-way thinking of the hordes that will be in the parking lot, stuck in drive, bitching about gas fumes, and lawns to cut tomorrow.
Even the smells changed in a flash. Now, less electric and more dirty-clothes like.
The receding mob was mostly dark and gray moving away, like lemmings to the sea. Here a tall one, there a small broad one, all leaving.
But, I felt a need, a push, from down deep.
Strong intake, shoulders hunched forward, a brain not thinking.
First note High C, bending to a D#, slipping back to a bar E.
Eyes of my bandmates turning towards me with fear and a bit of anger at my ruining a perfect finish.
The director gives me the “stop it or go to hell” eye, but I can’t understand it right then.
My old buddy Ron joins in on bass, following my blues run with a funky bottom, ba rumpa, ba, ba, rumpa, bada bada rumpa, and a sax joins in, following straight on my Bb chord. The trap drummer follows Ron’s line, adds in dashes of cymbals, following his beats on bass drum. Fender Guitar, dirty blond hair guy, began thumps and pulling on his strings to bring it out to shine on the rhythm.
Three bars and the entire band is in time, ripping, and following, while the director’s eyes say, “oh what the hell”.
She begins to conduct as she feels so much better back in control of the plane diving away from the clouds seeking earth, the last stop.
The shuffle for the parking lot slows, and people begin to file back in.
Some sit down.
Many just stand and tap their feet, wave their hands, eyes glisten and glow, head-bopping like oak leaves in a spring breeze.
I do not doubt, they felt tonight’s ticket prices were cheap from the extra helping they received.
The Stagies switch those lights back to the stage, and
for just a few minutes, I soared, for my last time, on the wings of the music, and energy of people that forgot their lives, their worries, their lost loves, and just were ALIVE.
All, in that night, for those precious moments, were alive and together. No lefties, no righties, no blacks, whites, or south of the border.
Long gone now the stagies that followed the sound with light.
Absent now, my music, so silent as to hurt me.
But, never, ever, can I forget those few minutes when I soared for one last time before God and country, and everyone was together with the music.
Maybe, that is what we are missing today, with all the hate-filled signs and angry voices.
Maybe, none of us have maple syrup and pancakes-music to keep us together.