At dusk I was circumnavigating the cemetery. The way was very quiet and the asphalt deteriorating. Tall trees circled above my head like spinning ballerinas. Feeling joyful, I sang to myself. I was thinking about being 12, and how I would frequently walk from my house to help at a restaurant my parents owned - 15 blocks. The oldest child in a big house, it was good to be alone. I would sing myself a melodic inner dialogue while walking, because it passed the time, because I didn't notice the distance when I sang.
But this night, a twenty-seven-year-old woman walking alone in an unfamiliar city, I had much further to travel than15 blocks.
The sun died in the graveyard and a puff of wind pulled at plastic bags littering the sidewalk. The way was long and straight, and with the onsetting shadows a man appeared. I tensed, seeing no where to run--those towering trees and a fenced train track to my right, a 40 foot brick wall to my left. I took a more self confident posture, continuing to sing quietly to prove I was not afraid. He took some time to approach, the clip of his feet echoing in a canyon of cement.
Only in the moment that our step was in sync in opposite directions, the moment he could have bumped my right shoulder had the path been an inch narrower, did I hear it.
He was singing.
I carried his note with me a long time.