The Clubdate Singer Speaks! Chapter 1: Plantation Life

Disclaimer: The following story is an actual event, as all of the vignettes in the 'Clubdate Singer Speaks' series are. For 8 years, I was a member of one of the top Orchestras in the nation. Though it was an enjoyable time, it was also at times, quite painful. I took to writing initially to assuage my distress, and this is one of those times when the pen (or keyboard) proved to be a healing tool. I have considered publishing this series, and would appreciate your thoughts...

Chapter 1: “Plantatation life”  - New York City 2001

The old black man in the starched white jacket stands in the cold washroom, towel neatly folded in and by gnarled arthritic hands.
The young white man stands at the sink, washing his hands, appreciating his image in the mirror.

Self-consciously, I fumble with my zipper, as I listen to the exchange between the old man and the young man.

False pleasantries and polite ‘sir’s ring off the white tiles. hitting my ears like jagged shards of broken glass. I am disgusted, yet fascinated.

The towel and the dollar change places. Transaction complete, an uncomfortable silence replaces the uncomfortable conversation.

It is not Mississippi 1957, it is New York City 2001.

I am upset, angry, embarrassed, and not sure why.
I shiver slightly from the cold, (or is it the cold sweat that has beaded on my head) and step towards the sink.

I make eye contact with the old man in the mirror and nod.

Turning towards him, I begin to feel bad because I have no money, and there is no paper towel dispenser, or hand dryer. I reach for, and take the towel extended towards me by the gnarled hand. Embarrassed, I mumble thanks.

I think that it is embarrassment that initially focuses me on the hand. It is old, bent, and I know it must be painful in this cold cold washroom. The old man turns from me, and begins to straighten out the sundry items on the counter, then reaches slowly into the neatly starched white jacket pocket and….

Instantly everything is put in a different context for me, and I stride out of the washroom head high, knowing that he’s doing ok on his plantation, and I head downstairs to mine.


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