The Harmonica Player
Disappears Without an Adieu
I walk in front of the mysterious gated property daily. At some unknown point, I hear the vibrato sounds of a harmonica seeping through the tall grass, successfully hiding the musician who plays incessantly. I desperately want to meet him but dare not approach the private space he conscientiously created. I choose to stroll by him nonchalantly without acknowledging his presence. I am confident that I will earn his trust in time, and he will invite me to enter.
Days pass, then weeks: he continues to play, I sneak glances, but he never extends an invitation. I begin to smile and softly wave as I saunter by, hoping to establish a rapport. He shyly acknowledges my presence and only speaks to me using music - his poetry.
The antique-ivory painted ornamental metal gate separates us. I wonder what takes place in the large, seemingly empty house behind his truck, shabby tent, and white vintage Volkswagen (VW) van. My curiosity heightens, but all attempts to build a relationship with him are fruitless. I do not know how to break through the barrier graciously. He remains distant and content in his world void of words.
He is handsome, clean-cut, and slight in stature. He relishes his solitude sitting in his dirty pickup truck's front seat, creating music communicating with anybody listening. Not once do I see him speak to a neighbor or a vendor. Learning his backstory interests me. But how?
I overhear a random rumor that he is a member of a nomadic Japanese tribe. But to know the facts is what interests me. Our lives are separate. He bans me from his oasis, and I continue to hope for an entrée - an invitation that is never delivered.
One day I hear the blast of silence - and I am suddenly aware of my soft, monotonous rhythmic hum I often make to ease the pain as I walk. This technique is rarely a success, but I indulge anyway. Startled by what I don't see, I stop humming. The mystical musician disappeared. The grass is cut short, and he took everything: the van, the truck, and the tent. All I see is a rusted miniature tricycle - his only seat when he chooses to sit outside.
I never learn his name. Poof - he is gone! The missing farewell left me in a quandary. Alone, staring at the deserted space he once called home, I realize I missed an opportunity to enter unfamiliar territory and learn about his world. I wonder if he will ever return. Will I be granted a second chance? If so, I will seize it with appreciation and respect.
I wait patiently.
Note: In the meantime, I research nomadic Japanese tribes and find nothing to validate the claim. Instead, my reading leads me to the Ainu - an indigenous ethnic group of people living in Hokkaido, Japan: known as Japan's forgotten people.