"I heard you singing. It really moved me. You have a such an honest way of using your voice. So true, so beautiful. "
How did she react?
"Well thank you! That's so sweet! Thanks!"
How did I feel?
Once a year Andernach is alive. My retreat spot, usually perfect for hiking and spending the night playing cards, offers a great late night activity then: They call it "culture night". They fill the whole town center with live music, setting up stages at every corner. Rock, jazz, classical, latin, pop- all there. Students practice performing while professional musicians enter the bigger stages. There are some skillful people playing. Painters leave pictures on the pavement. Acting crews surprise the walkers with stand up performances. The air smells of crepes and Pizza and candyfloss. Stores are open, museums' windows illuminated. Churches can be visited. The whole town stays up. It's sweet.
This year I wandered about the burg, stopping here and there. I heard some fine tunes, a dixie band, a bit of jazz. I met a lot of people I knew and realized: I have made friends in the past two years. Starting to feel that I'll miss this place I got sad and began to worry about the future. "What if...?" - Let's just say: It turned out to not be my night, despite all the greatness around me. Change can be rough. At some point I really just wanted to go to bed.
On my way home I passed another stage. My mind full of thoughts I barely noticed the cute girl singing this song that's never been on my list of cool songs: Aicha by Outlandish. But every second that passed made me listen more carefully. She was special. My thoughts dissolved note by note and I had to watch. Her eyes closed, she slowly danced back and forth. She was accompanied by a guitar player and some percussionists. They all radiated slowness and peace. And enjoyment- but I barely took note of the other players. I only saw her. And listened. Her voice was the most genuine I'd heard in months. There was a purity in it that was planting flowers inside of me. Sounds cheesy, I know, but that's what I experienced. Unlike most singers she didn't do much. Not visually, not audibly. No grand gestures, no vibrato, no belting. She stayed true. And opened herself up to the subtle qualities in her voice that sounded utterly innocent. When I closed my eyes I heard a girl singing in the sun, near a creek, sitting on a big stone. Asking what love is, and where pain comes from and why the sky is blue. And where we go when we die. While she was waiting for answers she played marbles. And smiled confidently.
Afterwards I went up to Isabel. She was very warm, had an open smile and happened to be interested in some things I love: Singing, obviously, but also traveling the world and psychology/therapy; She's an occupational therapist. The complimenting went super easy. Everything felt natural with her. We chatted for a bit and kept saying that we took to each other. By then I felt great.
That night I didn't only realize how many great people I know here now that I am leaving and that I will miss them but I also met someone amazingly interesting and likable I would've loved to make friends with: Isabel.