Columbus Circle. First full-out cold Fall evening on the subway platform. A lithe violinist in baby pink jeans, sporting a freshly-pressed Janelle Monae pompadour plays a silvery pink violin with the insides carved out. It’s so beautiful, it could be a peice of jewelry. As she plays a “new age sonata- meets-film-score”, the platform grows still — a sonata so exquisite, tears would not do it justice. Just as the tune ends, it leaves us feeling that there was something we were supposed to have reached, but the door has closed. She begins a new lullabye. This one floats between the spaces on the platform, engaging us, dancing with us, helping us find peace in the cacaphony of subway sounds. As she reaches the climax, we hear a cracked, scattered message over the loud speaker:
“May we have your attention.”
(Violin sighs, of course.)
“We need your help. Police are looking for a missing child.”
(Violin wails the first tears of dawn.)
“His name is Avonte Oquendo and he is fourteen years old.
(Violin commands us to listen for life’s call.)
“He has been missing for 3 weeks and he is mute.”
(Violin wails over the screeching trains grabbing my heart in it’s grip)
“If anyone has seen this kid, please call police immediately.
(The violin laments in tears made from yesterday’s joys and today’s sorrows.)
As the violin and the violinist reach on tiptoe to reach this aria’s broken heart. The platform grows silent. We listen for more as the violin lets go of us. But there is no more: no speaker, no violin, no tears…only life…and it’s fractured bits of beauty, sorrow and striving when all seems lost.
This writer has missed three trains transfixed and obedient, savoring life’ lesson…life’s aria….