Prose, Grades 7 – 9: Second Place

And So Is He — Lincoln Bacal

It’s just another day. Another drive-through Starbucks. Another day at an office desk, gazing out the window and dreaming. Another bland office lunch. Another broken coffee machine. Another declined visit to your friend’s favorite nightclub.
You’d much rather go to the little coffee place tucked between dark brick towers. Stare into your cup of decaf and wait for the show to start. The place begins to fill up with all sorts. You’ve got drop-outs and CEOs, the wealthy and the impoverished. They might seem out of place, but they’ve all got one thing in common. There’s a yearning in all their souls for something only this shop can provide.
The smell of coffee beans wrapping around you like a blanket, the soft jazz playing in the background. The allure of the mahogany floorboards and nostalgic décor. The lighting dims, and a local musician sits on a stool and opens his soul to the crowd. Not everyone’s heart beats to the same beat as the music, but there’s always someone else whose guitar sings the right tune.
You’ve got the grunge of the rock band, the silk of the pianist. The audience leans forward, yearning for the sweet melody to enliven their spirits. Free refills in off-white mugs.
There’s a new musician tonight, quite nervous, you can tell. Greenish-blue eyes flitting back and forth, reaching up to brush sandy hair from in front of them. He’s dressed nice, in a green jumper, collar poking out of the neck. Scrawny and without the aura of confidence of the other sure-footed maestros. Couldn’t be more than 17 or 18. He sets his guitar case on the ground and pulls from within it a beauty. The chatter in the room fades as they settle down to watch.
He clears this throat and tunes his guitar. Much to the surprise of the audience, a sweet melody begins to fill the air. The singing of his guitar weaves its way in through your ears and straight to your heart. His voice joins, a perfect harmony to accompany his guitar’s acoustic beauty.
He plays with such grace, such certainty, and the audience finds itself leaning forward, hungry for more. As his voice travels octaves, your spirit transcends your body. You’re soaring, you can feel it in your soul. When it ends, the high’s gone. Warmth lingers as you clutch onto your empty mug. For a second, one beautiful second, there’s silence. The room drinks in the last dying note of the song.
But then it’s gone.
And so is he.