Subway Stories: The Most Beautiful Sound

Photo by Alan Strakey

It had been a long day. And I was ready to go home. There was a melancholy sadness to my exhaustion that I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

That wasn’t surprising. The huge blob of sadness I had tucked away for most of my life was beginning to show itself in sudden bursts, unannounced, out of the blue on random days.

I descended the stairs into the subway tunnel to catch my train home. Suddenly, I was struck by the most beautiful sound in the world.

It was a violin, singing its heart out on one of the platforms around me. I began frantically shifting my head left, and right, craning my neck forward and then behind me in search of where the music was coming from and from who.

The sound matched my melancholy mood, but there was something  gorgeous about the delivery. There was longing, there was regret, there was self-loathing, there were tears and sobs. But all of those elements gave it life.

That was when I began realizing the importance of sadness, grieving, and of rain. How they all have their purpose: to bring on the sunshine and happiness of tomorrow.

I couldn’t see who was playing but I was dying to find out who. A few times later that week, I descended into the tunnel with fingers crossed and ears perked up, waiting for the sweet, sad sounds.

But I never saw who it was. And I never heard them play again. I asked people about it: have you ever heard anyone playing a beautiful violin in that subway tunnel?

No one knew; it was like a fantasy dream I had lived through. I haven’t forgotten the sound though. It still pierces through my soul each time I recall it in my mind.

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