Stirring Performance

A twig of a man sang as he stirred a stream of honey into his tea. His eyes darted around the café and then back to his spoon and steaming paper cup. A great deal of effort went into conveying the absence of self-consciousness. His skinny jeans looked roomy on him. They were rolled into broad cuffs floating just above unlaced black boots. A Burberry plaid ball cap was stuffed into his back pocket and an old thermal shirt spilled out from a tight denim jacket. There was a red bandana tied around his neck.

I tried to make out the lyrics or melody of his song to discern whether he was a manic musician or just manic, but the café chatter and the milk frothing machine drowned out the details. Then he struck up a conversation with a woman pouring cream into her coffee. His voice was deep and there was nothing unusual at all about the even volley of their brief chat. They walked out together, exchanging first names, but I could see how the internal music fueled the delicate and lively movement of his gait, his empty hand held out in front of him like a ballerina’s.