Saturday, February 28, 2015

Published 10:46 AM by with 0 comment

The Jazz Singer

As I wrote in my previous blog post, I decided to use the month of February to post a tiny bit of a short story each day on Instagram accompanied with a picture related to music, since that's what the story was about. It is called "The Jazz Singer". Here is the story in its entirety, along with some of my favorite music-based pictures that I took in February! 

Also, before you read it, here are four facts about the story:

~ I wrote it completely in about one hour. This is one of the only times I've ever felt totally inspired. I had the grain of the story, then suddenly it flowed out.

~ Dan is based off a real life person whom I saw last year.

~ This situation is based partially off a personal experience in the past.

~ Katy is based off a real vocalist, whose music you can find on YouTube by searching for Katy B! Go check her out! She's not a jazz singer, but I do like her very much :-) All the lyrics in this story are based off one of the songs she sings in with the group Magnetic Man called "Perfect Stranger". 

DISCLAIMER: Lyrics in this story are not mine! There is a link at the end of the post that will take you to the song where they came from, which I highly recommend hearing! 


Katy took a step back from the microphone and let her eyes follow the young man across the room. There he went, back into the kitchen carrying his server's tray. While the band played another smooth, jazzy interlude, she took the opportunity to sip her drink. None of the patrons sitting around the tables was paying close attention to their music, but judging by the pleasantly buzzing atmosphere, the mood of the finely dressed men and women was relaxed, just as it should be.

That young man. She had first seen him standing by the lobby door with a stack of menus, escorting a party to a table, and he had been clearly distracted by watching her sing. He was dressed in the same formal black that all the waters wore, same black apron, same shiny black shoes, but there was something different about him.

Was it that the waiter appeared so much younger than the rest of the staff? The elderly waiter with silver hair who had handed her the glass of water before the band had started was by far the oldest here, but everyone else seemed to be at least older than she herself was. Surely you would have to possess years of experience in order to be hired at such a fancy restaurant as this, Katy thought.

Hearing her cue, she leaned back into the microphone. "Night and day, you are the one, only you beneath the moon and under the sun..." Here he came again: she could pick out his alert walk, skinny way of slipping nimbly around chairs, from all the way across the dining room.

Now he was leaning over the bar to talk to the bartender for a moment; now he smiled, which made his naturally nice-looking face seem even more open and honest. He seemed familiar, now that she thought about it. Where could she have seen him before...

"Day and night, why is it so, that this longing for you follows wherever I go?" Katy found that the mellow song was making her think of other words. Maybe a new song? Her mind rapidly began to create lyrics, even while her mouth sang along with the band.
I don't know
Who you are
All I really know is
There's something in your heart

The music ended and the band started on the next song. Katy noticed that the young man had come over to a table next to the stage to help another waiter serve more plates. For a moment, he glanced up at her, and her heart skipped a beat.

Bright blue eyes. An eager expression, yet shy... did he want to talk to her as much as she wanted to talk to him? It had to be more than just his physical appearance. Could you be attracted to someone's soul?
I don't know
Who you are
All I really know is
There's something in your heart
That makes me feel
It's a new start
All I really know is
There's something in your heart

The rest of the show went as planned. Katy finished the final song, bowing with the band. She politely thanked those who came up to gush about their performance. It always surprised her how many people had actually been listening and finding enjoyment in the background music she and the band provided at these fancy establishments.

Even while she was chatting with the restaurant patrons her attention was focused on finding the mysterious waiter again. Suddenly, she felt the skin prickle on the back of her neck.
I didn't have to turn around
I can feel him in the back of my brain
When I stepped into the crowd
Something told me I would meet you today

Katy turned to face him. He stammered, "Hi... you sounded... um... great! I really enjoyed the music." His flustered manner made her almost nervous too. "Thanks," she said, trying to smile nicely. "My name's Katy. And you are?" "Oh... Dan. Daniel, but my friends call me Dan." He quickly brought his hand up to shake hers.
Your energy when you touch me
It lifted me off the ground

"So what college do you attend?" Dan asked. Katy flushed pink. "Well, I don't go to college. I graduated a few years ago. I'm actually older than I look." "Really? Me too! I'm twenty-five," Dan replied. Katy looked at him in surprise. "Me too!" There it was again... that sense of familiarity, the feeling that they had already been through this surface conversation.

They continued talking as the band members finished breaking down the sound equipment, then one by one grinned at Katy and patted her on the shoulder as they left, carrying drums, guitar cases, and bags. She nodded goodnight at them, ignoring their chuckles.
Your energy when you touched me
It lifted me off the ground
Your words to me are like music

It had been no more than ten minutes, although it seemed like much longer, before Dan reluctantly took a step away. "I've got to go finish my shift. Fortunately, it's pretty late, so I've only got one more table, and they're in the back having a grand time with three bottles of wine." "Oh," Katy said regretfully. She tried to think of something to say that would make it apparent that she didn't want to finish their conversation, yet she didn't want to make him feel guilty for finishing his job.

"Can I... get you anything?" Dan asked, a bit bashfully. Katy jumped at the chance. "I'm actually kind of hungry... is there any way I could get a little something to eat? I missed dinner. If it's not too much trouble, that is." Dan brightened. "Sure! Let me get you some food. Do you want it to go? I can get you a to-go container, if you want. You're probably tired and want to get home for some rest."

"Actually, I was thinking... maybe I'll wait here until you're done with your shift?" Dan's wordless look of appreciation as he quickly walked back to the kitchen confirmed Katy's hopes that he was just as interested as she was in continuing their acquaintance.

She exhaled a long breath. What are you thinking, she asked herself sternly. He probably thinks you're flirting. She'd been to enough gigs with slick-talking young men hanging around to be quite tired of the typical guy who just wanted to hit on her. What was it she was trying to do? What drew Dan to her? What drew her to Dan?

Katy smoothed her black dress down, glad that she had not worn something more edgy; she didn't want to give Dan the idea that she was flirting. Was she being too bold already? It wasn't merely outward appearance that had attracted her to him. It was almost like... as if they were meant to meet. Could people have met before without remembering each other? But if they'd met long ago, then certainly they would have known. There was something magnetic about him. 

She didn't want superficial conversation. She wanted to really talk. To listen. To know.
Are you from another world?
I've never seen someone who looks like you
Beautiful stranger, how do you do
Is there something I can do for you?

Dan came back with a small box. "I put a bunch of the appetizers we have in here. They're kind of like a sticky cornbread roll with nuts and glaze, really good. I hope you like them." Katy gratefully took the box and sniffed inside; the sweet smell made her mouth water. "They're lovely! Thank you. I'll eat these and wait in the lobby until you're done, okay?" “No problem. Happy to help.” Dan's shy smile mirrored her own.

It wasn't long before he joined her in the lobby. They were a bit unsure how to get the conversation started again, but very soon transitioned into deeper subjects. They began talking of school in their childhood, of religious upbringings, of her dreams as a musician, of his interest in philosophy, of their lives in the big city that were different than what they'd imagined for themselves in earlier years.

Katy found herself talking with complete ease, a sort of relaxed friendliness, that she'd never experienced with anyone so quickly before. Slowly they walked outside to where her car was parked.

They both paused. Katy looked at him curiously. "Have we... met before? Anywhere? Maybe you've seen me perform somewhere else? Or have you gone to other concerts where we might have seen each other?" Dan shook his head with a puzzled expression. "No, I don't think so. But you seem familiar. I know what you mean." They stood in silence for a moment.

"I've got a boyfriend," Katy suddenly blurted. "We're really happy together. I... I... but I'd like it if you could come hang out sometime. I'd like to see... I mean, I'd like to talk more. We have a cool bunch of friends, and we like to go swing dancing, and listen to local musicians, and even play different kinds of music as a group together..." her voice faded away.

She mentally kicked herself. Why did she have to tell him this in such a blunt way? She could see a twinge of disappointment cross his face. Of course he would only be interested in her because he thought she was single. So it did come down to him thinking that she was flirting after all. Of course.

She looked up at him in surprise as he ripped a piece of paper off his server's notepad. "Here. Text me sometime, or shoot me an email." She stared at the paper with scribbled contact information. He grinned shyly. "There's something different about you. It's hard to find people our age who don't just go out partying or clubbing. Plus, you know," he explained, grinning, “It would be great to hear you sing again. I'd like to hang out. With both you and your boyfriend."

He stepped closer and held out his hand. Katy automatically placed her hand in his. "It's good to meet you, Katy," Dan said seriously, but the smile in his blue eyes was genuine. He shook hands gently, then released her and began to walk away.

"I'll definitely send you a message," Katy called after him across the parking lot. "You'll be hearing from me!" Dan turned to wave under a streetlight. "I'll count on it," his voice came strongly to her. 
Oh there's something, there's something
I can see it there
Something in your heart


If you'd like to hear the song based on Katy's story, listen here.