a surreal night | true story

I was in a foreign country, but it was a place I called home at the time. As I sat in the too cool taxi, my aunt talked with me about life stuff I can’t quite remember. She asked me to go to the jazz lounge with her that night and see a a famous singer, who I’ve never heard of. It was cold that night, which was very atypical for the season. Rain was starting with little droplets and it didn’t matter to us because the lounge was around the corner. We walked in and it was dark. We saw her friends at this long table right by the stage. I had chills on both arms and anxiety had creeped in. Looking around the table, I saw there was not a single person I could connect with. Middle-aged  guys and gals; some with cigarette smokes and alcohol breaths made me feel alone. How young was I?

I stepped outside and started taking photographs. It became something I relied on as a way for me to feel productive and not as lonely. The rain had subsided, but it was still there. I see a loving couple dressed up in fancy clothes embracing, and then a big light shines on them like from the movies. They aren’t startled though. A man with headphones holding up a boom mic directed them. They were filming a television scene. They were in an intense conversation one moment and then re-applying their make-up the next. Never thought I’d witness something like this so closely and unplanned.

I went back in and decided to head to the bathroom before the singer began her show. The bathroom looked cool enough for a fancy jazz club I assume. Dark again. When I washed my hands at the sink, I was looking at myself in the mirror and my new haircut made me unrecognizable, even to me. There was this petite woman next to me putting lipstick on, I think. She grinned at me and said something I can’t remember. We shared a laugh and that was it. I walked back to my aunt’s table and she had wide-eyes. She asked me if I spoke to that woman over there. She pointed at the one getting on stage and the one I just spoke to. I nodded yes and suddenly realized why my aunt was so excited.

This singer was the one who judged musical performances on a singing competition reality show my dad and mom often watched on their international channel. The one who is super talented in singing and is kind of a legend in the industry. The same one, who I saw on television myself, but did not recognize in person. Her persona on tv is rough around the edges and is a tough judge. I thought she was mean. But she is the same one I spoke with in the bathroom who was this sweet and friendly stranger.

What a surreal night.

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