In an old apartment building, eleven stories high, the clear canvases of windows are painted black by the night. Not a star shines through in the darkness, not one light from another building breaks through the thick color. The black windows are the only color on the white walls, walls which have taken a yellow glow from the single overhead lamp, illuminating every corner of the large square living room. The space has the empty power of a dance studio, bare, yet so empty as to be of complete service to anything that enters and moves within it. The room is devoid of clutter, no leather couches, no wooden end tables or entertainment stands littered with DVDs, just a dark wooden piano that leans against the wall closest to the front door. The floor of the room is wooden and old, the blond planks have streaks and scratches that have accumulated for decades, but in the yellow light, a sheen still exudes as though they were just installed.
At the far end of the room is a kitchen illuminated by bright white florescent bulbs, gleaming light dances off shiny tiles and chrome fixtures and creates an aura of sterilization. There is a hip-high wall that separates the kitchen from the living room and with the absence of a barrier, the bright white of the kitchen mixes with the subdued yellow glow from the living room. There is a woman in the kitchen who wears a black evening dress from the late 50s, her hair matches the dress in color and sophistication. She has a small cocktail glass in her hand and stares out expressionless into the living room.
In the bare room, a large circle of people sit on the floor, each one holding a musical instrument. At the far end of the circle, closest to the kitchen, a young woman sits on a plastic chair holding a violin. She plays a well practiced solo, her blond hair tilting to the side as she bends her chin towards the instrument. I am sitting cross-legged on the ground within the ring. On the floor in front of me is a guitar. The woman in the chair plays loudly and I bang on the body of the guitar in intervals. My two friends compose pieces of the human circle, they are separated from me by a stranger on my left. We all play with quiet anticipation, holding the moment that is building quietly and thoughtfully, like a well tended fire.