The staccatoed wails and grinding moans haunt the empty street. The sounds lilt and rend, clawing for attention, purposefully the opposite of the peaceful evening. And, yet, it is beautiful and harmonious despite the discord. There is magic in the notes. There is the soul of a blues-man in the undertones of the harmonicas plaintive cry.
He sits with his back against the graffiti and shit stained bricks, the color of his hair lost in the grease and filth of his time on the street. His knees are tucked against his chest, and his bare ankles are barely discernible from the darkness regardless of the large gap between the hem of his worn pants and the top of his tattered shoes. The silver harmonica, however, gleams in the night, catching every stray beam of light that dared wander down the alley and passing it along in spirals of glinting rainbows.
The instrument is cradled lovingly in his tired hands, cupped against his lips, and passed back and forth in meticulous and precise movements. His hands play the role of conductor and bring the harmonicas orchestral sound to life to such an extent the very night around him seems to pause and take notice. His soul pours through his lips and gives the song its purpose and meaning. The music is a story, confusing and wonderful, of struggle and loss and pain and hope. The music is a story, transformed from misery to joy.
Hours pass, and the man sleeps where he sat, but the mournful vibrations of his blues continue to resonate in echoing calls up and down the alley. They peek around and corners and tempt passersby to stop and listen and heed the warnings of loss and life. They haunt the night and all who dwell within it, a constant reminder of all that came before and all that might one day still come, until the hint of day warms the horizon and then they wander into the shadows and quietly find peace.
There, in the forgotten places of brick and concrete, the music rests until night comes and the blues-man brings the harmonica out from his jacket pocket to once again purge the contents of his soul to all those daring enough to listen.