*Inspired by an experience in Indonesia, semi-fictional. Enjoy!
If he could not make it to the stage, he would make it on the streets: That was what he knew and believed in, a passion that burned brighter than the dim nights on rainy streets, looking for a ride to hitch. He stood a lone man amidst a festive parade of vehicles and honks from party blowers that sounded suspiciously like impatient drivers; a lone star illuminated by headlights that cast his face in fleeting halos. No party was complete without music, and he would have his moment, however tiny, however small.
Skillfully, he hopped up on one of the vehicles- an angtuk, a van that functioned like a taxi but was packed with many more people (especially on rainy days) and where the door was always open for a show. He rested his precious red guitar on his lap, thinking again to himself how it resembled a brilliant flame. (He had bought it after saving up for six months.) Tonight’s choice audience was a bunch of tourists, eight of them he had quickly counted. Awkwardly they averted their gazes to every direction but toward him, some staring at the wet metallic ground, others out the grimy glass window where harsh wind lashed at their faces. It didn’t matter to him, as long as their ears were free.
In native tongues he sang, of a world they would never begin to understand, crooning over traffic noises and pain and suffering diluted by the hopeful glimmer of rain-slicked roads. Perhaps to them it was just a lovely tune, and it was, but to him it was passion, self-expression and so much more. But he was still young and for now, in this temporary lapse of freedom, all he wanted to do was perform.
At the end of the song, he tipped his hat off his head, and offered it around. Sometimes he would be spared a creased note or two, but not tonight. His instrument fund could wait. Gripping the neck of the guitar in one hand and the ledge of the van with the other, he stuck his head out the door and let the wind lift his spirits on this young night. With a shrill shout he jumped off as the rumbling vehicle rounded a slow bend, drunk on imaginary electric riffs and the soulful echo his music left behind. If they looked back they would see his dancing silhouette at a crossroads jamming to his own song, picking his next portable concert hall.
He was crazy, he was crazy– but it was all good.