A simply phenomenal day
As I meandered around the city I heard beautiful jazz music emanating from Swanston Street. I turned the corner from Melbourne Central and saw three young men playing drums, electric, and acoustic guitar to unwatching passersby. They had an amazing chemistry that I couldn't help but admire. I decided to sit on the ledge that the acoustic guitar player was sitting on and enjoy, hoping that others might take the energy to listen if they saw another listening. It was very hot outside so I walked down the street to get them bottled waters, and hurried back to place them in front of their street side setup, throwing the change that was left over into the guitar case filled with coins. I smiled but felt a bit embarrassed for the moment, so I wandered across Swanston to the grassy hill in front of the State Library where I could relax and still listen to the band. I sat back, and soaked in the people, the environment, and the birds that were around me while listening to the beautiful jazz across the street. The warmth of the day felt balmy and I watched the clouds rolling by, letting the sun wash over me. I felt so happy, and laid back on the grass to read The Prophet. I placed my book down once in a while to people watch and watch the band members play (and intermittently drink their water, feeling happy I'd helped them stay hydrated!). I sat there for almost three hours, and felt content to just "be." I smiled at people walking by, and thought about their stories and how the culture and upbringing made them the way they are. I couldn't stop smiling. A homeless man came up to me and asked if I had change, which I didn't since I'd already given it to the band, but we got to talking about South America and his favorite band being from there (Sepultura). A little later on, a woman in her early thirties who I'd noticed sitting on the other side of the grass with her partner walked across to me and said, "My husband and I just thought you looked so serene and calm, we just wanted you to know that your happiness makes the world happy." I felt speechless and could only say thank you so much, and that I hope she has a wonderful year. As I got up to leave I crossed the grass in front of them to say goodbye, and decided to meander back across the street so I could sit closer to watch the band play. I smiled at the (very attractive Lenny Kravitz-type) drummer and he yelled out thank you for the water. I noticed an older Indian man coming over to listen as well and I mentioned to him that I thought they were really good and he said yes, that he loves music and he agreed. He came to sit down next to me on the bench and told me of his travels through work; he's been to 40 countries through the import/export business he works for and even though he only spends a couple days in each one, he gains a valuable perspective on that culture. We spoke about Australians and the society, and his favorite places to travel to (Brazil) and least favorite (Bangladesh). We spoke about carnactic music from his hometown in Southern India and the vibrancy of South American countries, and laughed about different cultural traits in Germany. He said his name was Babo and gave me his card and I said goodbye, gave the band a little money and walked back down Swanston Street, feeling ready to go home. As I walked, I started thinking about the woman who had approached me earlier and I thought, I'd like to tell Arnuld of this experience as it clarifies the viewpoint I discussed with him at the beach yesterday that the more open you are, the more your energy allows you to connect with others. Right at that very moment as I was lost in thought, I hear "Chelsea!" shouted out. I look up, and to my right coming up from the opposite direction is Arnaud. I laugh and tell him how I was thinking of him at that very moment, and asked him what he was doing in the city. He said he was on his way to a comedy show, but he wasn't sure where it was exactly. I went over to ask a street artist where it would be held, and he said at Palace on Bourke. So I turned to Arnaud and asked if he'd like company, and he said yes, so we walked together back into the city. He asks if I'd like for him to carry my shopping bag, which makes me blush as I can't help but love chivalry. He says he'd like to grab a drink before the show, and I noticed we were coming up on The Carlton and so I pulled him inside to show him the ridiculous stuffed giraffe bust across from the bar and the peacocks suspended from the ceiling. We sat outside on the patio and spent the evening talking about philosophy, history, art, people and music. I was feeling alive and centered, and much more like myself than yesterday when we were at the beach, and I just felt great. I told him of my encounter with the woman earlier that day, and he responded by calling me a beatnik, to which I laughed. I'd read that French men especially like the chase with women, so I was uncharacteristically breezy with him. At one point he reaches across the table with his right hand and holds my left, staring me in the eyes and caressing my hand for a couple minutes. His other arm is across him protectively while he does this, he is always a touch on guard even with an outward gesture of affection. He knows so much and is knowledgeable about an amazing amount of details of history, physics, and life. He has a passion to construct a harpsichord although he's never played and at one point received a gun as a gift for saving a friend's life. He tells me that when a person dies, part of the people he or she knew dies along with them. So, when I die, a part of him will die, and vice versa. It's hard not to feel enthralled with it all. Of course, he dismisses the comedy show and we talk late into the evening. I read him my writing from earlier in the day about the city and after I finish recall the vulnerability I felt the night before, so I asked him what time it was, deliberately placed my hands on the table -punctuating the end- and said that I had to go. I walk over to him and kiss him on the cheek while giving him a half-hug, and pause for a moment. He asks if something is wrong and I look away from him into the distance, place my hand on his upper back, smile earnestly and say, "No, everything's fine. You make me think, I like that." I say goodbye, and whisk out the door.