It was not meant to end up there in the first place, but sometime that's the way the ball bounces, you never know. Fasting forward to Saturday's noontime, my tennis buddy, Tom, and I were putting on clean clothes on in the locker room of my club after showering. Our exchanges roughly went like these below.
Tom: “You are slaughtering me on the court.”
Me: “That's not my fault, you played like a girl there.”
Tom: “Yeah, I have a news for me, Bro, if we were playing football, I'd crash you like a bug.”
Me: “That's what you'd think.”
Tom: “What are you doing tonight ?”
Me: “The usual, stay put. I need to finish up the budget plan, my boss is breathing down my neck.”
Tom: “Screw that douchebag! It is your weekend, Bro. Listen, you can't be a hermit all the time, you gotta get over that chick and get some actions, you know what I mean …, Nick and I am thinking to take you out to loosen up a little tonight.”
Me: “No offense, my time of bar-hopping and gentleman's-club-hanging-out with your guys is way over.”
Tom: “None is taken, Bro. What is wrong with gentleman's club ? I thought you'd like fine tits.”
Me: “Shhh, watch your month, Dude!”
Tom: “Here is the deal, if you don't go with us, I am NOT going to play tennis with you next week”
Me: “What ? You can't do this to me!”
Tom: “Yeah, I just did. “
Me: “That is a black mail!”
Tom: “Whatever you call it, take it or leave it, Bro.”
Me: “Well ..., on one condition, if I can choose the place.”
Tom: “Let's hear it.”
Me: “How about Bemelmans Piano Bar.”
Tom: “Aww … you meant the one hides in the Carlyle Hotel, I met some European chicks there, they were totally snobbish. ”
Me: “Sorry, if you don't want to go, fine with me”
Tom: “I'll give a Nick call, see what he says, don't count on it. By the way, Bro, seriously, you gotta get over her and move on. Trust me, bad memory can only erased by the good ones.”
Me: “Yeah, right. Since when, you become an expert.”
There are many notable piano bars scatter over this city, and many are more popular and hip than Bemelmans. However, personally, I'd prefer it because of its classic and refined atmosphere. Over there, one can nurse a glass of favorite drink and listen to great session musicians playing instruments; it is one of many enchanting places in the city I can be truly peaceful and relaxing.
My first time to sit in Bemelmans was about five years ago when I was dating a young American girl called Tracy from Wisconsin. Tracy was a young struggling artist who was working at the a famous women's boutique store on Madison Ave. at day while pursued her art master degree at the night in NYU. She has very special senses when it comes to shapes and colors. One night after we watched movie, she asked me “ do you believe magic ?”
I answered “Not really.”
“Well, I believe some thing or some place has special power.” She said seriously.
So she and I went to Bemelmans Piano bar. As we sat at the bar table, she told me the bar's name came from Ludwig Bemelmans, a productive author and illustrator of children's books. She went on telling me her own stories about how her childhood was influenced and interwoven by Bemelmans' book series, Medeline, to be specific, and how she decided to become children books illustrator. She said to me “Each time, I sit in front of this giant mural painted by Ludwig Bemelmans, I feel the vibes of forces speaking to me, and I just know I can make it as a good artist. “
Honestly, the yellowish painting of rabbits having picnics in the Central Park depicted on the walls seemed childish and cartoonish to me. As the fact of matter, I was more impressed by the 24-karat gold leaf-covered ceiling than the mural itself , but Tracy's shimmering blue eyes and the way she was talking revealed the power of the “magic” that I somehow believed her.
Last spring, I met Tracy again at Grand Central Station, and she told me happily that she now works for a well-known publishing house as an book illustrator and she has married and has a little beautiful girl called Medeline.
After Tracy's intro, I have gone to Bemelmans many times. Each time I was there, I'd stare at the Ludwig Bemelmans's work, hoping there would be some magic power that might communicate with my inner layer. None occurred so far although I did feel sometimes that my own thought, buoying music notes and snippets of conversations blending together creates a vehicle, driving me deep into the walls which is a parallel dimension where time becomes irrelevant.
As Tom, Nick and I sat at the bar table, talking our lives, girls and music. The piano sound carried my thought and drifted me away again. From my angle, I could see the reflections of pianist from the piano lid; they were changing shapes each time when his hands moved up and down on the keys. I told my friends about Tracy's magic story and her happy ending, they seemed less critical than usual. Before leaving, I raised my glass and make a toast “To our magic walls” three of us said in unison voices and finished our drinks.
I don't know what is Tom's or Nick's “magic” that they are looking for besides their comforting living in this great city. But I know some of my magic is missing. Tonight, I can't help thinking of her as I am writing this piece, hoping somewhere she are dancing romantically with her Mr. Right who never needs to wear any mask.
Put a song, Danser , by French singer and songwriter Loane. I only have one cd, Jamais Seule, from her, but I like her singing and piano playing style.
Tes yeux brillent tant Your eyes sparkle as
Es-tu heureux? Are you happy?
Qu'as-tu fait de tes rêves? What have you done with your dreams?
As-tu tiré des traits sur eux? Did you draw lines on them?
Du noir dans tes yeux Black in your eyes
La nuit t'as volé ton ciel bleu The night teal your blue sky
You're dancing with your lies You're Dancing with Your Lies
Es-tu heureux? Are you happy?
How long will you dance for that? How Long Will You Dance for That?
Es-tu heureux? Are you happy?
Note: Photos and Lyrics are from Internet