Before every performance, I placed bets with Chris, my boss, as to how many patrons would end up crying by the end of my rendition of “Leaving on a Jet Plane”. The last strum of my guitar produced exactly zero tragedy and total comedy as a group of people, not even listening to me, burst into laughter. I owed Chris ten bucks.
Most of the regulars were here today including Mister Jones with his service dog. His hand-carved cane draped casually on the back of the faded, peach toned, hand painted chair. His left leg shaking as he rapidly tapped the heel of his foot on the wide-plank pine floor. I knew he wasn't listening to my set either. Jones usually turned off his hearing aid the minute he walked through the door at Abacus Coffee House.
I got things together for my next song and glanced at the clock. It wasn't that I didn't appreciate Chris letting me sing during my break but I belted out my heart to a total of about five people on any given day. I mean, who goes for coffee at 4:00 in the afternoon? Medical pros and contractors made up our mini 3:00 rush but this was our slowest hour. It's why he gave me the time but obviously that’s a double edged sword.
The door opened and a stocky guy in a heather gray suit entered as I started up my final song. A cover of Jewel's “You were Meant for Me”. Right in my wheelhouse. Also, perfect for the coffee house crowd ignoring my every move. It was one of those songs that could really take your breath away from melancholy if you listened to the lyrics. Or, it could just as easily fade into the background if you were in the middle of formatting a spreadsheet in the corner of a brightly lit coffee shop. Not when Jewel sings it, of course, but for me that was the usual way of things.
I wrapped up with a ‘thank you so much’ and two people actually clapped, a cursory quadruple clap. Hey, I'd take it. I went to stow my guitar and grab my apron from the office. As my foot crossed the threshold into the tiny room, hardly big enough for the desk, chair, and my guitar case, let alone another person, a hand tapped my shoulder. I spun around to face Mister Fancy Gray Suit. A to-go cup in a cardboard hand protector in one hand, laptop case slung across his chest like he was a bike messenger.
He didn't say a word just winked and handed me a business card. Before I had a chance to look at the card he spun around and took a quick clip to the exit. I was confused but looked down at the card in my hand. White cardstock, a photo of him on one side and a shooting star wrapped around the words Talent Agency. As the words sunk in, I noticed an address, name, phone number, and email address. Wait, what?
My knees almost gave out so I sunk into the chair, still holding my guitar. I stared at the card for what felt like twenty minutes. Lincoln Forrest. Talent agent. And he handed this 2x3 opportunity to me. He saw something in my performance. The one song the guy heard was enough to elicit a card. He wanted me to call him. I could have an agent. I could finally be on track to do what I'd dreamed about doing for the last 15 years.
Just then, Chris popped his head back and asked if I was planning to finish my shift. He disappeared before I could answer. Before my mouth found the ability to again form simple words. My eyes filled with emotion as I realized, this shift could finally be one of my last.
|Written above, Take a Deep Breath, inspired by this roll of Rory’s Story Cubes.|
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