Tonight the tempo is lashing. Ladies and lords chase an invisible fox. Inside the music I dive through choppy white water, cram notes onto the bow in random bunches. Lose phrasing. Lose connection. When Eoghan straps on his accordion (his box) there’s a change. Eoghan’s foot tap is steady. Metronomic. His fingers roam the buttons. Pleated bellows wad and stretch.
I lean my good ear into the bank of sound, focus on Eoghan’s bandwidth. After a few measures, I’m in the flow. A friend takes the seat beside me. He’s eager. Puts his flute together, slaps its case shut. When he starts to play, he’s outside the beat. Flute’s a fluttering sparrow. He raises an eyebrow my way. Help? But I can barely hold my own. We both start going under. Eoghan’s taking a smoke break. I shoot him a look. Help!
Catching on, he drops his cigarette and raises the accordion to his lap. Couple of phrases, the tune’s back on track. When I mouthe thank you Eoghan holds my gaze and bows to me in courtly slo-mo. Never missing a note. When his head’s bowed, I swear I see a halo around Eoghan’s skull. Then (on the wall behind him) a golden tunnel. Ancestors stream through the ether, fine electrodes humming.