PLAY ME, I’M YOURS slants across the side of it, white on wood. It is chain-bolted to the cement floor of Liverpool Station. London sunshine points through the window frames at cluster of seven Christian college students staring.
“There it is. Finally, after two hours of Tube hopping… we found one.”
The stool bleats as a childlike woman pulls, acmompanied by a black-bearded man wearing a cross. They negotiate with their fingers as they skip down the ivories, finally deciding to perform ‘Where is the Love?’
Towards the end of the second chorus, a new voice warbles over all of the others. It is the sound of Broadway.
Broadway is a middle-aged blonde man with a gaping pearly smile who props his elbow on the edge of the piano top, leaning into the next line: “Father, Father, Father help us; need some guidance from above…”
Our seven voices snuff out. He beams; he embodies charisma.
“The name’s David.” He asks a few questions. We ask a few more.
“Music is my life. Sang on Broadway ten years ago. Got the lead for ‘Singing in the Rain,’ I did. Best time of my life; I’ll never forget the lights. Now I’m a choreographer in California.” Awe answered him. “Mind if I join your little chorus group?”
After a few rounds of jazzy runs, the jam session stutters towards its conclusion.
David breaks away from the piano ledge, gesturing towards another middle-aged man wearing a fixed disinterest in the chorus of twenty-somethings and a duffel bag.
“This,” he shares with the group, “is my boyfriend.”
The group waves, we smile nervously, evaluating; our hearts collectively skip a beat.
“How about another go?”
One-by-one they turn their heads just barely, to notice that across the hall David’s boyfriend’s shoulders are shaking. He keeps glancing towards their self-conscious little flock, holding back sobs, his face wet.
David explains: “He’s crying because he is happy for me.” He was holding back his own tears behind the crinkle of his cheeks, still smiling. “Three days ago, my cousin died in a freak car accident. That’s why we’re here; we’re on our way to the funeral. It’s tomorrow morning.”
“He’s crying because he knows that for three whole days, I’ve not been able to smile. Laugh. Even listen to a tune; it just hurt. Living for anything hurt.”
“But you all—thank God for you. Hearing your singing, remembering my love of music, I felt joy again! Singing with you has given me the courage to face tomorrow with a smile on my face, and know that everything is going to be okay.”
We feel an invisible fog suspended in that hall, heavy on our chests with conviction. With compassion.
“We’ll be praying for you both,” Black Beard offers, “while you’re at the funeral.”
“God bless you, thank you all so much!” David answers. With tears padded back, his boyfriend simply mouths his thanks.
The cluster of seven later walk soberly back to the Tube station; we’d unexpectedly found the love we were singing for.
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