The Stratford Piano Man's Corner Light

A story in which the central character is ignored by a world in which 90% of the people he sees can't communicate with him. There is an implicit message embedded in the text for readers to hopefully grasp.


1. Evening

Black cabs and white vans stood still on the road near the Stratford piano man’s improvised concert hall- a corner shaded from the orange lamplight which made the streets look copper but forgot the darkness it couldn’t reach in a black triangle of cool isolation. The piano man watched the drivers of the blackened cars, some on their ways home from work, some to work, some on their way to the nearest brothel or Spearmint Rhino’s. Friday night.

     The piano man watched. A roll-up cigarette in his mouth, unlit and slowly beginning to stick to his lips where his saliva was drying around the flimsy white paper poorly moulded to encase the precious, crumbly tobacco. Noise was all around the corner, though in the corner, in the dark, there was silence, even when the man spoke with passers-by whom he knew, the young boy from Voic Road just around the corner, accompanied by his protective mother who only ever waved and smiled, the old man from Balla Road, miles away, who was always too lonely for anything but a long conversation- tonight about the white stars against the black sky which the unnatural light of the streets hid away, the light was “beauty in a closet”. All was silent in the corner still.

     Middle-aged women dressed as ducks danced on the road toward the piano man, all with their names on individual pink sashes: Linda, Barbara, Emily, Jade, Lauren, Holly and one woman with a plastic, silver tiara on her head with the word “whore” on her sash. The piano man watched them enter a kebab shop a little over twenty feet away in a silent conga-line, one-by-one entering the bright white light. He then turned back to the cars which all seemed to glisten orange atop the shiny black road, and lit his cigarette. White light flashed as the spark of the Zippo-lighter met the gas, sending smoke dancing upward to the painted night sky.

     The piano man inhaled deeply on the cigarette, enjoying the warm smoke passing through his neglected throat; he looked to the traffic ahead as the lights changed to green and the herd of cars moved to memory, leaving a dark, empty road next to the pavement outside the kebab shop, the two together silently like the black and white keys on a piano.

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