[ Another beautiful piece my girlfriend wrote about Tanim and Daren that she graciously allowed me to post. Go give her some love. ]
His slender fingers wrapped around the microphone stand like a snake’s seductive, seditious embrace. But instead of constricting the life from it, his grip only gave the music more strength. His voice filtered through the windscreen, mellifluous and haunting like molten gold, and traveled, molasses-thick, through analog and electricity, and filled his head with the feel of velvet.
Gods, who was he?
Of course Tanim knew his name. It was plastered everywhere, on bulletin boards and bus stops and internet pages, even the ticket of admission in his right back pocket. But he wanted to know who this boy was, not the face he showed the world. It was shaded with an ever-so-slightly different color. But Tanim could see through the incongruence and into the sorrow-husk behind it all.
He had to know what he sounded like. No, not singing. Tanim had already memorized every single breath, every whetting of the musician’s lips, every minor fall and major fifth. But what did he sound like when he was uncertain? When he couldn’t fall asleep? The purple shadows under his eyes couldn’t be attributed to make up. The boy always looked half dead. Or maybe Tanim and the rest of the world were half alive.
The roaring of the crowd startled him. The song had ended and the drummer commenced with a slow, sensual beat as the lead singer took a drink from a bottle of water. He closed his eyes and poured the remaining liquid over his head. It beaded down his white hair like frost, followed the feline angle of his jaw, and slow-motion crawled down the strip of bare chest where his shirt was unbuttoned. Tanim’s heart began to pound.
The boy opened his eyes and directly met his gaze. For a second–minute, hour, moment, forever?–they stared at one another. And then the performer blinked and spoke into the microphone, his piercing eyes never leaving Tanim’s.
“This is to a stranger.”
And he began to sing.