One of my birthday presents was an eavesdropping event on my way home from a walk. I had left the woods and heard voices amplified by the emptiness of a garage. One was a man’s voice and the other a woman’s. Their voices were like the day: sunny and warm, mellow and perfect. They spoke in Spanish, so I couldn’t understand the words, yet somehow I felt I was at a performance of the highest order. The woman’s language rang with rhythm, the man’s with resonance. Then he talked, then he sang,,, quietly, but like a mariachi. Then woman spoke. Then it was his turn: he whistled a song like “Amapola.” I wanted to hear them again. I walked to the end of the block, crossed the street, and went past the house on their side. I never saw the couple, and I hoped they wouldn’t see me. When a neighbor got in her car and drove past, I was standing and musing over a contrail in the blue sky. I did take time to wave at her. After I listened for a while, I walked slowly past the garage opening, trying to look as simple as possible so they wouldn’t suspect me of snooping.
I passed the young woman in the yard next door. She was talking on the phone. She must have been speaking to a teen-ager because I heard her say, “…honors band…” Her voice, which was a counter point to the garage man and woman, reminded me of a poem by T. S. Eliot about a group of people talking in a train station. If I remember rightly, it was during wartime. The voices spoke one after the other as into a rapidly moving microphone.
I turned and walked back once more. That was when I heard a gust of the whistling song as if the man couldn’t contain his joy another minute. I couldn’t justify another pas-by, so I hurried home to write this post for you.
What does all that have to do with writing? You tell me. I love to hear what you have to say.