This morning I rode my motorbike to breakfast. It was a short ride, but at least I got to go. I didn’t want to go too far because I wanted to make sure I didn’t mess anything up for this afternoon because my dad and I were going to go to a concert!
At 1 o’clock, I got dressed up, very uncharacteristic for me, and went over to pick up my dad. The concert was Bill Tole, the trombonist, with Salt River Brass, playing Big Band sounds. My dad is a trombonist, and he loves Big Band music. One of the teachers I work with is in Salt River Brass, and he happened to mention the show to me on Friday. I was lucky enough to have him get me tickets, so Dad and I went.
When I picked him up, he was dressed nicely as well. He said he did because Mother wanted him to, and off we went. We were early, as usual. If I am with my dad, that’s how we do things. After finding a good parking spot, we walked around Mesa Arts Center for a while. There was a festival going on celebrating Arizona’s Centennial and we briefly watched some dancers. We also went into the gift shop and saw some nice art and some blingy, sparkly things, like earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Then, we got our tickets at the will call window, and went in. We went up to the second floor, found our seats, and waited for the concert to begin. In the meantime, we got to listen to some Dixie music played by a few members of the Brass.
At 3:00, the concert started, right on time, with “All That Jazz.” On the second song, Bill Tole came out and poured his music right into “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” one of my favorites. Big Band is not necessarily one of the things I listen to regularly, but I like it, and I love that song. It was exciting during the concert to see one of my colleagues in the band! I was enjoying the whole experience. After several more songs, it was intermission time, and Dad and I sat and talked.
We talked about Mother, of course, and I think he really began to miss her even more than he already did. Maybe we shouldn’t keep talking about how we wonder why her condition wasn’t diagnosed sooner despite all the testing and checking that was done. We keep thinking that maybe we could have had more time with her if it had been. During our day out we had fun, but I know Dad was really missing Mother after a while of sitting there in the theater where the two of them had gone so many times.
Soon the concert resumed with “Opus One,” and “I’m Glad There is You.” The concert was already great, but it seemed that during the second half, it really achieved the art of true musicianship, the kind that can make magic happen. And it was during the third number, “My Funny Valentine,” that something really strange happened. I was sitting there, an empty seat beside me on the right, and I thought how Mother should be sitting there. I was listening to the vibraphone sending waves of emotion through the theater, and I suddenly felt as if she was there, as if she were sitting beside me for a brief time. I looked, and of course there was no one physically there, but I felt her presence. It wasn’t super-strong, as if she had been somewhere for a little while learning how to do this new thing, this revisiting, and was still a bit tentative about it. It still wasn’t fair, she should be here physically, here in this world with us, I thought. Hot tears of sadness mixed with anger flooded my eyes making the room shimmer along with the music coming from the vibraphone. And then her presence was gone.
The rest of the concert music was great, and I kept in the moment, enjoying the musicians and their talent. The last number was a boogie woogie tune that I got into, only because we had just danced to something similar in Zumba a couple of weeks ago and I had so much fun then making my feet move quickly and rhythmically to the fun beat. I found it hard to sit still in my seat, and my hands kept moving involuntarily.
The concert was over too soon, and Dad got up to go right as the last song ended. He always was the quick escape artist, and today was no different. We stepped out into the glass-lined stairway. In contrast to the dark inside of the theater, the staircase was lit by natural light, green and blue in the late afternoon. When we stepped outside, we both shivered in the strong wind that had picked up since we were out there last, and the temperature had dropped dramatically. Overhead, the ice in the clouds made great haloes of iridescence around the partially obscured sun. “Storm’s coming in,” I remarked.
We walked briskly to the car. When we got to the parking lot, it was packed full. When I’d left the car there earlier, it had been by itself. We quickly escaped what serves as the “downtown” area of Mesa, and soon were back at Dad’s house. He is not one for long goodbyes, and I left soon after. I think he wanted to be alone. I can relate. I wanted a few moments myself to study the pain left behind when a loved one is suddenly gone. I sat in the warmth of my car with my eyes closed for a few moments near home, then went the rest of the way.
Tomorrow I will get up in the morning and try to find some silly outfit to wear to work, and know again how little it all matters.