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The Twilight Lounge

It seems like it was just yesterday when I sat behind that old piano in the dim lit, smoke-filled Twilight Lounge playing soft sultry blues and jazz.  The water ring still there where I placed my glass of Bulleit Bourbon to sip between songs.  It was a somber place filled with sad songs and lost souls.  They all gathered there to hear her sing songs about lost loves, broken hearts and lovers in the night.

Every night when the midnight closing hour drew near, I played At Last, by Etta James.  As Rose slowly descended the staircase, step by step, her hand glided across the banister.  Her eyes caressed those that dared meet her gaze, and she would pause midway taking in the room and feeling the energy change as she made her entrance into the crowded lounge.

She would come stand by my piano, her hand, with its red polished nails, lightly touching the keys or taking a sip of Bourbon.  Then she would hold her hand up high and the room would go quiet a hush so powerful that you felt that the essence of life had left the lounge leaving you in purgatory between heaven and hell.  She would close her eyes feeling all the pain she had ever felt and holding onto it.  Still, with her hand high she would lean back, and you knew that something otherworldly was about to happen.  She released a sound from deep within filled with the hurt of a lifetime of singing the blues, and you heard that sound leave her body permeating the room with Aaaaaaaaat Laaaaaaaaaaast.

The approval of the crowd was like thunder but couldn’t drown out her voice and she sang until the hurt softened.  She smiled a little smile reaching down for a sip of my Bourbon.  Rose was a legend to everyone who came to the Twilight Lounge and it was rumored that she had played with Bobby Blue Bland on Beale Street in Memphis.  I wanted to ask her to sit down for a drink and talk but I never did.  When she finished her song, Rose would walk back up those stairs and then into the dark night.

As I walk this empty and long forgotten lounge tonight only ghosts fill the room with shadows and the piano only plays when a stray cat seeking shelter for the night walks across the cracked and broken keys.  It feels as if you could put your hand out and touch the room as it was, separating the veil between the past and the present.

If I could play one more time I would play a song that would ask her to be mine forever and never again walk up those stairs alone at the end of the night, but the room is quiet and cobwebs dangle from the banister where her hand once glided down the rail.  The piano now silent, the keys untouched and I am an old man dreaming of what was and what could have been and now sitting alone in a sad and deserted Twilight Lounge.

Point Of View

We often wonder what we missed in life and perhaps we should be grateful for what we became and the amazing journey that was ours.  Tender moments will always live with us, but they don’t make us who we are.  It’s only what we felt for a moment in time.  We can be Rose or the piano player but only for a moment and then the story ends.

Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Very strong writing. Different from your other work. I really liked it a lot especially the part about the cat walking on the keys. Very sexy and poetic. Great job. Is this new? Really liked the style.

    • I posted it a few weeks ago. I spent so much of my life in bars and I thought I would try to capture that feeling. Night club people always seems to embrace life to its fullest yet so many of them sang about pain

  2. So now, of course, Larry, I won’t be able to get the song out of my mind … which is fine. I haven’t heard it in years, and I always loved it.

    “We can be Rose or the piano player but only for a moment and then the story ends.” So true, but the positive part is that we can be ourselves forever — or until we’re gone. Maybe the version evolves, but we’re still who we are, and that’s fine.

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