It was one of those nights of legend. Everyone was there. The minor celebrities, all miniature suns in their own right, all of unbounded talent, but with no record label, and no wish to ever cut a record, make it big. They moonlighted after all, their day jobs in power suits and well-kept coifs.
Everyone knew who they were though, and everyone had heard about their famed salons, as they called it.
Frankie, litigator by day, DJ by night. He’d played clubs in London, Sydney and Melbourne.
Siv, tax accountant moonlighting as a bass player.
As the night progressed, the list grew.
Charlene, the divorce lawyer, Phil the model/presenter, Sue the PR executive, one by one, more and more of them filled into the smoky confines.
She walked into the bar, cigarette smoke wafting in the air forming a veil of haze across her face. All you could make out was her wavy waist length hair, tumbling down her shoulders and across her right breast as she made her way through the obstacle course of tables and stools.
No one noticed her at first, until she sat down with her friends. Longtime attendees of the salon.
Caleb came up first. “Hey, you’re here”
“yeah” she smiled. “It’s been a while hasn’t it?”
“perform tonight? Please?”
she laughed. Maybe.
Phil walked up next. Then Frankie.
Finally, she said yes.
Seated behind the piano, she appeared dimunitive. All you could see of her was still her hair, cascading down her back.
Then she sang.
Her voice piercing and sorrowful, an air of whimsy and regret and slightness masking the power of her lungs.
Everyone stopped talking.
Then she lay her fingers onto the piano.
“Night lift up the shades, let in the brilliant light of morning. Steady the night
for now I am weak and starving for mercy”
The bar was silent. Frankie smiled to himself.
“Sleep has left me alone carry the weight of unravelling….”
The beat kicked in, turning Stupid into a remix.
“Watch.” Caleb whispered to his friend. “Watch her sing.”
“Funny isn’t it. How happy and bubbly she appears all day. And all she sings are emotional train wrecks for songs.”
“And how good she is at it. Look at how she’s singing! Listen to that voice! Another friend whispered.”
“How stupid could I be?”
Her face had scrunched up.
“A simpleton could see”
And fallen into a beauty enhanced by sorrow
“That you’re no good for me”
the edge had left her voice, left her with the velvet tenor of the beginning bars
“That you’re the only one I see”
the desperation was clear in her voice.
Sometimes, Phil whispered. It’s the happiest people who are the saddest.