“Don’t put that in there little one,” the street musician said while he was strumming the opening notes of Pink Floyd’s, “Wish You Were Here.”
I’d been watching this musician play near the Atwater Market for the last 10 minutes. His last song, a melodic rendition of “Hey Jude,” was really great. He seemed very talented, and his stage presence was amazing. But this admonishment to the little girl who was dropping some money into his guitar case was really strange.
Without missing a beat, he then began singing the lyrics, “So, so you think you can tell, heaven from hell” and the little girl looked at him with big wet eyes, dropped something into his guitar case, then ran away. Being a seasoned entertainer, he just continued. Sung the song flawlessly, not bothered at all by the little girl’s interruption.
He then sang another song, “Show me the way;” again, putting loads of love and energy into it. He sang it so well, it made me forget Peter Frampton’s version.
With the last chords of the song resonating, he announced that he was finished for the day, but would be back next week.
He casually walked over to his guitar case, scooping up the cash and putting it into his pocket. But before he put his guitar in, he picked up something small from the case, and flung it out towards the canal. He didn’t get it as far as the water, it landed ten feet short, on the train tracks.
Of course I was curious. I love street drama, and here was something that didn’t make sense.
I waited till everyone had left and then walked over to the railway tracks, to see if I could find what the musician had thrown away. The tracks had been freshly remade, and there was lots of large gravel nestled around the ties. Finding it was going to be difficult.
I poked around for a while and was about to give up when I saw a flash of gold in between two large stones. I pulled it out and saw that it was a man’s gold ring, with a large red stone inset.
There was writing inside, and I took off my glasses and read, “Making beautiful music together.”
“Mister,” I was startled by a little girl standing beside me, the same little girl I had seen earlier.
“Can I have the ring back,” she asked.
I was about to give it to her, but I had to ask, “Is this your father’s ring?”
“Yeah,” she said, “My dad threw it away when he found my mom singing with another man.
Now my mom cries herself to sleep every night. She used to love to sing, and mom and dad sang so well together. But now Dad doesn’t want to sing with her anymore.”