I have never actually seen the man who plays piano here, or if I have, I don’t know that it’s him and he’s never said anything to me. He must descend in an elevator that I don’t know about, or that I don’t see. Or perhaps, because of the imagine in my head that he creates, I wouldn’t recognize him in comparison.

Later in the evening, he’ll sit at the piano that I can’t see from my desk, and he plays. Sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for an hour – the most beautiful, incredibly sad, rich slow jazzy music. I don’t know how to adequetly describe it in words that don’t end in -ly or -ish, it sounds like so many things that I can never quite put my finger on it.

But it changes our entire hospital. The lights dim, and suddenly I’m not dressed in jeans and a cardigan, but a white nurses dress with a little hat. My patients are no longer men and women from car accidents and strokes, but dashing young army men smoking cigarettes in their uniforms. It is smokey and warm and bustling and my red lipstick never bleeds and my smile never fades, the electric doors become manual and the light soft and warm.

Then he stops, and everything hardens and brightens, buzzes and rings, swings and snarls. But for 5 minutes, for an hour – the hospital, and I, change with his music.



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2 responses to “late

  1. I can almost see the blue smoke in the room. The best jazz always takes you there.

  2. I used to play “A Bicycle Built for Two” for the residents at the nursing home I worked at…the way it changes them is just astounding. People who don’t know their own names or recognize any of their family members can sing the entire thing front to back, and would continue all night long if I only had enough songs to play.

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