Pete Roe & Rachel Sermanni
The stage is black and small, lined with red dim and dark drapes. Rays of light are almost too brazen given the setup: a brackish curtain collection backlit in blue. Crimson wreathes the seated and scatters into the walls.
We arrive late and scuffle more at head turns. I try to look apologetic.
He stands in the middle of the dais with curls asunder, swathing over his forehead in tangles of bister thread. He has a voice that can send you to sleep and slip you into a sleazy doze as the roadtrip draws nearer midnight. In waves, he plucks and patters his voice about the space with eyes half shut and something sliding from the corners of his lips. I like the way he spangles his fingers along the strings like a constellation explosion. He’s nice.
There is a short interval after he goes off and before she comes on. I’m left alone and I cross my legs on the chair and try to look occupied by refracting people’s gazes. The lady sat in front of me looks like Joni Mitchell with slight creases around her brow and straw straight tresses that go to her shoulders. She looks and I smile.
My bones ache with throbbing subtlety and I feel more lonely than usual. Maybe enclosed rooms and quiet people push me off ease.
He comes back with his drink, all golden bubbles rimmed in froth, and I unweave my legs to let him past. The normal lights extinguish and the garish ones grapple with the candle flickers on the front tables.
She steps up. Her fingers find the chords and her voice makes monsoons along our jawlines. Her lids flutter and her frown furrows across her pale face, covered half by dark like the moon when she leans down with her guitar to finish the song. I like that.
The curvature of the instrument holds foxes and fancies, matching the sway of her waist with each word, she dances, poetry residing in camber caves and timber hollows. She sews the guitar a sparrow in the soft corners of her warble and it strums in reply. Maybe she vined her veins out and retrieved her arbor-ribs to bind into a six-string device and that’s why she seems so complete with it in her arms.
There must be heather in the notches of her spine and fog inbetween her fingers, for she is from underneath mountains and the hills and the heath. I can hear them interwoven in her words and see them when she stamps her foot to the rhythm, like she is walking over the moors. Her voice is lilting and needle-pricks through music-molasses and microphone muffles. I think, by listening to her, I stick myself to sweet.
She laughs a lot. I like that.
It starts to snow on the way back. I say that it looks like a squall of stars against the window and he nods and agrees. We drive over the tops and sing to Midlake a little as the flakes dissipate into drizzle. I know that I’ll be half asleep when we get back and he’ll put the album on downstairs to let mother listen. I’ll hear it through the floorboards and I’ll smile because I was happy tonight.
I lean my head against the glass.
I remember the sorrowful parts of everything and the sad parts of her words as the magic disappears through the exhaust.