Tonight we shared earbuds, one in your ear, one in mine and the white wire strung between us. You sat and I stood, swaying as Billy crooned at us. The long day nearly over, we ignored the small children who appeared in our doorway asking for drinks or company in the bathroom. We waved them away as we hummed along and pretty much rocked out.
You played all my favorites. I remembered the first time my mom played me “Piano Man” and how it felt like poetry and real life and hope and art. I thought about my days in the dorm when my roommate “tsk tsked” me for staying out too late with you and I hummed “I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life…” and I thought about our drive through a national forest ten years ago with “I’m not above doing anything to restore your faith if I can…” playing in the background.
Then I thought about the concert when I was 8 months pregnant with Silas and how it was pretty much one of the highlights of my life, and how I’d pay so much more than the $20 or whatever it was we paid to see the Piano Man himself play every note of every song, and sing like he was 25 years old and as into it all as he ever was.
Then I thought about how little I know about music, and how it is your first language. I thought about how I like Neil Diamond and you just look at me with half incredulity and half pity. How I went to all your concerts, but if you hadn’t been the tenor soloist, I would have been bored out of my mind. And I thought about the drives between our college towns and our hometown on long weekends filled with dream-talk and Billy Joel tunes. And how I’m the mother of your children and on days when that job wears me out, you hand me an earbud and we listen together. And how that restores me. You and Billy.
In those moments I think, I’m so glad my mom loved the “Piano Man” because I love sharing this with you.