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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 23 page 11

fiction

piano on street

That One Song

by Ana Hoy Uribe

They all walk by like I didn’t exist. Going in and out of restaurants, night clubs, they just keep on walking by. As usual I took my spot near the fancy café at the corner of 52nd Street. They’re all walking suits and dresses moving fast with a phone in their hand, almost as if they were running from something. I can’t think really well at this moment, my stomach hasn’t stopped rumbling all day, I wish I could just subdue it with my mind. I would try to do what I did yesterday, but I can’t handle that anymore, I don’t like the taste of leaves, I want food. “Do you have any spare change m’am?” Well, she looks preoccupied, it’s okay, I’ll keep trying. “Hey sir do you…” I didn’t even finish my sentence when he threw me one dollar. “Here you go,” he said. I said, “God bless you.” I looked straight at him and asked God to take good care of this man. One dollar into my box, at least this is something. I hate summer, the sun burns like hell. I grabbed my bed and covered my face with it, it’s an old blanket I’ve had for two years, it protects me from the sun and helps me in winter. I started my favorite activity of the day, I closed my eyes and started imagining that I had a small house with a kitchen and a big bed with pillows, until I fell asleep. I felt my face burning and I woke up. As I opened my eyes, I saw an old man on the other side of the street, he was sitting on the ground with an empty hat on his lap. His face, that face, I never want to see that face again, he was giving up. I approached him with my dollar in my hand. “Here you go buddy.” I placed it inside his hat. He barely got his head up and looked at me, his gaze pierced my eyes, and when I saw that half smile, my heart pumped even harder than when I received that dollar. I headed back to my place, my stomach keeps talking to me, it’s hard walking with this feeling grinding inside. It’s already that time of the day, no one passes through this lonely corner, I understand they all have work to rush to, someone to meet, and I’m just a corner. I stood up and walked again, my knees felt weak, they were almost touching each other. I looked down at my hands, they were sweaty. I try not to look at them much, it’s like looking at something that’s slowly disintegrating. This heat melts my body but at the same time it reminds me that I’m still here, I’m still alive. I kept walking. I kept walking till I walked straight through the sidewalk. Each step forward felt like I was walking through a hallway which had the essence of a home and then there it was, that lonely piano, almost as lonely as me. I sat on that old red chair and opened the piano, playing this is the only thing that makes me remember something of my childhood. This song, this one song I keep on playing in my mind again and again, I can’t remember who taught it to me but I feel like the happiest person on earth when I play it. As I kept on moving my fingers through that old keyboard, my eyes drowned in tears, I knew what it was, this was the song my dad played to me before he said goodbye.