jazz and checkerboard floors

A quick story:

It was 2 am and I was sitting next to a couple of friends in the subway station deep below the streets of New York, waiting for the train that would take us home. A young man sat one bench down from us. We waited and waited, three or four trains came and went, but not the one we wanted. So he asked us where we were headed. My friend replied. That’s when I noticed them. The fingernails on his right hand were very, very long. vampire! I thought to myself.

“Classical guitar?” I snapped back to the subway station real quick. How was I suppose to know? I mean, really, how many classical guitarists were hanging around my rural Nebraska, corn and cattle, ride-your-lawn-mower-around kind of town?!

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Tonight I took up a corner chair at the downtown coffee shop to knit and listen to some jazz music. Two college guys from a local town tickling their guitars, playing for a quiet shop. My chair looked like a big seashell and I sat with my knitting on my lap, a vibrant orange scarf knotted around my neck. The black and white checkerboard floor darted away from my feet, each diamond chasing the next, disappearing under the rug, appearing only quick enough to scuttle under the counter. A printed wooden barrel stood watch at the door, a stately table with two chairs stood so astute next to me. The kind of set-up in a dream sequence of a movie. I saw a flash of myself sitting at the table writing something important in a leather-bound book. Zooey, the tiny dachshund sat on her owner’s lap. She was watching me and every time I looked her way, she pointed her tiny dog nose away, as if I had caught her spying on me. A little boy took her by the leash and tried to walk her around the shop. All the while my electric blue needles clack-clacking their cold metal against each other. I with my New York subway story like a secret in my head.

The drive home was dark, with stars dotting the sky. The night smelled of wood stoves and mountain streams.

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