I didn't think so, and I wouldn't have noticed either except I've always noticed.
He's 12 or 13 sitting on a bench waiting. Brown corduroy pants and a black knit shirt, glasses. Who wears corduroy pants in summer I think to myself, hell who wears corduroy pants? He's a dorky looking little black kid clutching a clarinet case and the bench is out in front of a music store.
He's rocking back and forth, so much so that his anxiety and stress are palatable. His music lesson is over and his parents are nowhere in sight.
Music lessons, I'm not sure how kids get talked into playing a musical instrument. I suspect its nothing more than a whim, an idea, a dream for a fleeting moment.
Somewhere in elementary school someone put a pair of cymbals in my hands and my musical career was born. Sadly four decades later I am still not an accomplished musician. But I can play a piano - somewhat. I can play a guitar, and a violin, neither with any perfection. I suppose if I took a month off I could get good. I surprise people with my Tijuana Brass - Doc Severson medley on trumpet yet the first four bars is all I know.
Somewhere along the dusty path to adulthood I put down the horn and closed the violin case for the last time. I sold the two guitars I owned long ago, and then bought one at a charity auction a dozen years later. Its nice to know I can still play bloody finger tips and all.
He sits and waits, his nervous rocking back and forth checking the time on his iphone has changed to pacing, and then sitting again and I know that kid time makes the minutes seem like days. If parents only knew how painful waiting is for kids.
The stress shows, as every fear in the world races through his mind and time flows in slow motion. They might only be five minutes late but to this young boy they might as well be six hours late. His pain and anguish is so noticeable it makes my heart hurt.
A few years ago I would have noticed his plight and struck up a conversation with ease. Now days someone would suspect a child predator, so I start my car and Mrs Cedar and I go about our night.
As the car backs and then turns toward him, Mrs. Cedar notices too. Clarinet I say. How do you know? she askes, I know I answer with a quiet laugh.
We share the same feelings about parents who are late. She suggests they are parents who are self absorbed and clueless, I on the other hand suspect they are attending the older brother's football practice. I offer that we circle back around and ask him if he's ok, it's getting dark after all.
No, she says he'll be alright.
In a world filled with hip hop gangster thugs, this kid is a miss fit. If his parents don't wake up they will soon wonder what happened to him and where he went wrong. I keep my thoughts to myself as my car needs my attention.
Buy in my rear view mirror I catch one last fleeting glimpse and for a moment I see a future Wynton Maralis.