Anna doesn’t run away anymore when I practice. Sometimes she even dances a little before saying, “Put that fiddle down and look at me.” A step in the right direction.
On Tuesdays P. comes home early and I sling the fiddle case on my back, ride my bike along the park to Crown Heights. I always see someone else with music on their back now too. Last week a man with waist-length dreads rode the opposite direction with a guitar. Hey, violin! he shouted. Hey, guitar. It's a fiddle! I shouted back. I could hear his loud laugh, heading south. Once I saw a woman with an upright bass in a wheelbarrow.
I ride past the greened bronze at the top of the arch at Grand Army Plaza, the curved face of the central library, up St Mark’s to Washington where all of a sudden the sidewalks are full of people calling to each other from across the street, dollar stores, Monica’s Hair Fusion, Checks Cashed Anytime!!! At the no-parking sign in front, lock the bike. Hot. Back has a fiddle-shaped sweat. Up the swaying elevator where everyone’s always so nice and says I know where you’re going, 6P, you’re going to 6P ain’t you?
And the fiddle teacher’s apartment is a million degrees and smells like curry. We stand in front of an old wire fan and drink water out of jam jars and he tries to teach me how to bow like a fly fisherman. Straps a bike light on his bow hand like a ring and we stand in the dark hall watching the light make little w’s, little loose loops back and forth across the wall as he plays. Looks like fireflies. Makes you want to dance. When I try, it looks like headlights backing up and driving forward, backing up and driving forward. He says it’s a long learning curve.
Back home I tell P. about the bow arm in minute detail and he listens and smiles and smiles and listens. Later the next day I strap a bike light on my bow hand and Anna stands on the couch and jumps for the flash on the wall. Every so, every so often, a little lilt comes in, the light draws a tiny little curve…