As I walked down the G train platform headed home from Williamsburg, I noticed the busker had done very well judging by the number of dollars fluttering in his guitar case.
A woman was speaking to him. I overheard her saying she booked talent at such and such place and that she’d tell them about him. As I moved further down the platform, behind me I heard her ask him, “What’s your name again?”
He launched into another song as I found a spot on the platform. His voice was low and soft, the strumming of his guitar a light, silk-like backdrop for sound waves the color of a good chocolate. I didn’t recognize the song but it was beautiful in his voice. After a break in the song, all of a moment, a woman’s voice joined in for the chorus.
I peeked back from behind a column, and it’s the same woman he’d been speaking to when I walked past. And her voice was strong, clear like a bell and deeply melodic. She didn’t ask for permission. She just sang. Across the platform, I caught a man shaking his head and smiling in wonder as he likely thought, “New York, I love you.”
They wrapped up the song together and I looked back again. We, the people on the platform, shared a round of applause for the impromptu duo. The busker smiled broadly and stomped, blown away by the random stranger’s voice. A beat later and he was kneeling down next to where she sat on the bench, exchanging telephone numbers.
As the train on the opposite platform departed, the busker eased into Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” His new lady friend’s voice joined in again at the chorus, and her voice seemed to agree with the song. Then our train pulled into the station and I boarded thinking, “I love you, New York.”
And I rode home thinking about how many people living here this weekend thought, felt, wrote that same thing.
All these love letters.