Two strangers sit in front of me at a close friend’s piano recital. One, is a man and the other is a woman. I am attentive to their movements, searching for detail in their body language. Little do they know how much of an impact they will have in my life; a picture frame in my mind’s gallery.
He’s sitting on her left side as she sits complacent with her right leg crossed over her left, beneath a black knee-length skirt. Just from sitting behind her, I can tell from the look of her long brown, neatly kept hair that she is a very organized woman.
On her lap, a program for the recital is gently placed and I am certain that the pianist is unaware of what happens as soon his fingers begin to play a light ballade in G minor, Op. 24 by Edvard Grieg. Perhaps the cries of the endangered ebony and ivory shut him out from reality like a coma for the musically inclined.
The man sitting in front of me adjacent to the brown-haired woman, seems to lose himself in his thoughts, daily plans and lists of things to do. I too, become preoccupied trying to sew pieces of last night’s events back together when suddenly, my attention crash lands back onto him as his attention slips back into the present. With the curiosity of a 12-year old, he carefully looks over his right shoulder on to the woman’s lap to figure out how far we’ve made it through the program. He attempts to move unnoticed and I take note of his clear intentions: do not disturb. However, regardless of his intent, this lurking allows the woman to feel his fixations on her body and she becomes discomforted by the strange man’s uninvited stare of an inappropriate place. I think she gathers the wrong impression and mistakes his motive for something else because she begins to turn her body away from him.
Without introducing himself with a simple handshake or gentle head-nod as one walking down a sidewalk would do, he takes a breath as he looks straight into her eyes and with a believable shyness, he smiles. Although I can only see the back of her head I can sense that she smiles back because she slowly and quietly shifts the program in his direction at an angle that is much easier to read.
The sound escaping from the piano continues undisturbed and the three of us sitting in the audience exchange a harmony of time that can not be replaced.