There was a man playing tenor sax between the train tracks today. I don't think I'd ever heard a tenor sax between the trains; it's a sharp sound but also smooth. It was all flourish and upanddown and whirring, like windmills, and his fingers climbed like a spider rushing from a stream of water chasing him down a wall after the rain. He leaned back like it was sucking all the air out of all of him but he still smiled, a confident smile but a humble smile, like I should not be here, playing for your quarters, I know I am too good for them but thank you for them anyway, more please and I will smile bigger. A little girl dropped into the begging case by his feet a handful of change that her dad had handed her, she probably tugged on his shirt and said "Daddy, what is he doing?" and Daddy didn't have the heart to tell her, sweetie, you don't want to be like him though yes he sounds good or support him though, oh, oh, hear that note, it brings back memories of that time when and don't look at him, he's what I hope you never will be, but please, learn an art, honey, sometime in your life, yes please, find something so beautiful and get lost in it, honey, escape, for a minute, this ugly world, but don't get too close, so he put the change in her hand, "Here, now come back quickly." Every few measures he would hold out a note and do a little vibrato... and I hadn't heard a vibrato - the wonderful, slow and painful shakeshakeshake - in a while and I held it on my tongue until the train came.
Adonia, author of Home for the Holidays, is a senior journalism student at the University of Maryland, a reporter for American Journalism Review, a blogger, and an aspiring novelist.