It was a hot summer afternon and the city was sweating. It was my first time in Burgas since I was little, but I didn’t feel like sightseeing. I kept on pulling my suitcase after me as Tsvety and I searched for something to eat.
As we walked the main street we stopped to listen to some street musicians- two beautiful boys playing guitars and singing rock songs in Bulgarian. There was something different in their singing as they didn’t try to sound as the original performers, but sang as if they were the first ones to.
I put my suitcase on the ground and sat on it. There was a little crowd gathered around them in a semi-circle. When they stopped playing we clapped and waited enthusiastically for the next song to begin. When it was over and I once again awoke from the trans I had fallen into, I asked them to play my favourite song.
I felt touched, unable to explain why. Same deep feeling of joy as when my friends and I gather and sing together, mumbling the words we don’t know and singing out loud the songs we love. And it always fels very special, very simple and authentic. And I never get bored.
Tsvety and I left quickly to grab some pizza for dinner and soon returned and sat again to listen. The boys smiled to us and we felt as special guests rather than strangers now.
As I was sitting on the ground, in the middle of the street busy with people, moving determined in all directions, I felt moved. My eyes were catching the eyes of the boy singing and we were both smiling, naked in the depth of the glances, in the song and the silence.
It was a most intimate moment between strangers.
With the end of the last song they asked us if we were waiting for the train and we nodded. They said they could finish a bit earlier this night and we all sat nearby to talk.
Within a couple of minutes, I was drоwning in dissapointment. Their voices were full with sarcasm and the music composed by their words was everything but inspiring. While the first boy was disparaging pretty much everything we tried to speak about, the other one was somewhat modest, but quite disilusioned. He didn’t seem to be happy with his life and referred to his being a musician as doing something for the sake of doing something.
As they talked to us about their fellow musicians, using them and people not caring about good music, the whole situation felt bitter-sweet. The joy was gone with the end of the last verse and was not coming back, at least not before the next performance. I felt sad and I felt offended. In the next few minutes I made the effort to give them something: my own, sincere feedback on their music and the atmosphere they created, which people DID value and appreciate. But it all felt as a cliche. Their souls if opened throughout the singing were now shut, scratching on the surface could only hurt me.
I said we had to go to catch the train and we left soon. No Facebook exchange done and no photos taken.
I can not have small talk, while I’m all naked.
The more I think about this evening, the more I try to find some sort of explanation to ease the pain I still feel remembering.
The pain is caused by the sudden intimacy born in the simple act of singing together and having each other in the hold of a gaze and the abrupt distance created right after.
This encounter shaked me somehow and made me think about being an artist and creating art- just as the noble men of Ancient Greece I expected that the beauty of the music created by the two boys was mirroring the beauty of their souls and intellect. And while this might not always be true, I have the feeling that there is more to that…
Last year when Carsten came to Bulgaria to be with me, but things did not turn out the way he expected them, I stayed speechless trying to figure out what to tell him to ease his pain. What I told him back then was that may be we have given each other what we had to give; we have learned what we had to learn from each other for the moment, and that we had to let each other go in order to be able to share intimacy and love again some day or not. I did not merely understand what I was saying back then. It took me about a month to realise its meaning. But while I was trying to fall asleep one night, I figured this is exactly what I had to understand myself months and moths ago after I broke up with my last boy friend who I kept loving insanely for about two years after. I realised that this is what it’s all about- meeting, getting to know each other, learning, raising each other up, not staying together for the sake of simply being together… And only then Love can be forever, even though still dynamic, evolving…
I believe there are these moments in which a power greater than us takes control of us and speaks on our behalf. Or sings. Or plays. Or draws. Or writes. God that is in us, whether we know it or not, speaks through us, and we ourselves are speechless in surprise. We only have to learn to live up to him.
♥Maggie Nazer is a social entrepreneur, activist, blogger and current Middlebury college student.