the singer was halfway through the second song of his melancholy acoustic set when we suddenly heard a harmonica playing along somewhere in the distance. the singer kept playing, despite the distraction. he had, after all, left his city sensibilities behind and decided to have his record-release show at the redwood grill, a lodge-like restaurant on a big sur campground. unlike our own deserted campsite at the state park about a mile north on highway 1, this place was swarming with excitable holiday weekend activity.
"was that...someone...playing a harmonica?" the singer quietly asked into the microphone at the end of his song.
"yeah!" was the giddy reply from the soundman-slash-biggest fan.
the singer, unsure how best to respond, just stared at the man, who--finally sensing that random harmonica-playing may not be as thrilling to the singer--continued, "um--would you like it to stop?"
i looked over at elliot beside me. his arms tucked into each other and crossed across his chest, the musician in him was clearly annoyed. with our fresh sunburns, hunger, tiredness, and no showers available for days, our patience was thin-skinned. and for the past two hours of opening acts, we'd been standing among a college crowd that was pretty uninhibited about their "audience participation". but despite the crowd's antics, i was amused and slightly endeared by the harmonica. there was an earnest emotion in it that spoke to me. and it had been a full, full day.
just that morning, we'd been all alone and peacefully content on a white-sanded beach spotted only with sea birds and driftwood. sitting side by side on a striped beach towel, he'd given me the prettiest ring i'd ever seen and asked me to be his wife. and suddenly, it had been okay to talk about all the days leading up to this moment and plan for the future. now we were engaged. and the good-looking guy at my right with this arms crossed was no longer "boyfriend" but "fiancé". for the hours between then and now, we'd been raw and emotion had poured out of us. a sweet day. a life-altering day.
and now, we found ourselves in a crowd behind another guy, another “biggest-fan”, who was making a scene taking endless photographs of the singer, bobbing his head religiously to the music, clapping excitedly like a madman, and repeatedly nudging his long-suffering friends and loudly whispering "he's sooooo amazing. he’s just so GREAT!!! isn't this just sooo GREAT??"
i glanced again at elliot as if to say "can you believe this guy?" but as soon my eyes met his face my chest gave an unexpected thump. as though it suddenly remembered not only the events of the day but the years and years before. and secretly gushing, i thought to myself, yeah. it is.