It wasn’t my idea to see Sufjan Stevens tonight — it was Randy’s.
We met up after work.
I stayed till 7:30 p.m., scanning documents in the quiet, fluorescent-lit office, and then I ran all the way to the venue. As I crossed the familiar streets to the other side of the neighborhood, the things that bothered me all day fell off my shoulders one by one. My red fitted pants were not a piece of work attire anymore but just a cool pair of concert pants. As for my ribbon of a belt halfway down my hips? Priceless. A statement? No. Just a black ribbon, and if you looked closely, you could see a silky thread starting to trail off in angles.
I felt the chill of fall breezing past me as I slipped by storefronts. And I noticed the coffee shops — young baristas serving coffee in buzzing rooms that feel lighter, warmer than the slowly whitening world outside, inching closer to winter.
I’ve never liked winter, but there is a softness and fragility about transition. In the South, you never noticed the softness, as the seasons melded one into the other seamlessly. In New York, you wake up one day and it’s fall. You complain that day, don your heavy coat, and by mid-afternoon you’ve moved on with life. And if you’ve been here for at a year or two, you begin to notice the change, appreciate its nuances.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: The importance of seeing Sufjan tonight was chance — the guy gets it. He gets the duality, the fragility, the beauty. The beauty of a Saturday morning, when an ordinary girl puts on a mediocre dress, and to the one person who’s with her in the room, she seems to have just completed the world. He gets the sanctity of the moment, the sensitivity of life. And he sings about it, there unabashed, completely sincere in front of hundreds.
There really is nothing to be ashamed of.