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Home > Columns > Paul Schweer > November, 2004 - When It Fades Away
by Paul Schweer

When It Fades Away by Paul Schweer


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I brushed my teeth while I was driving. I hadn't overslept, but I'd been a little late leaving the house. I spit into an empty gatorade bottle and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. I had a song playing -- something about that song always makes me think of a busy train station, or a crowded escalator, somebody sitting alone in a crowd -- slow fade down to one guitar. Just one guy playing guitar. There's a whole arrangement around what he's playing, but it gets softer, then you can't hear it. Maybe he does. Wonder what it sounds like. Wonder if he notices when it fades away. Wonder if it matters to him. Wouldn't think it does, listening to him. Very clean. Very exact.

Parking lot is empty when I get there. Side door is missing the pull handle, and I wonder who would have pulled it off and why. Have to want in pretty bad to tear it off. Can't see wanting in bad enough to do that. I'd been given a key, and I used it.

I left the lights off. Just me anyway.

I found an old tape and put it in the VCR. Didn't know when it was or where -- been a while ago -- there was my teacher. Looked different then. I didn't recognize anyone else. Didn't recognize what it was he was teaching. I watched for a while, waiting for someone.

Nobody showed.

I know a jo kata that's done solo. It's a good warm-up if nothing else. I walked through it couple times, picked a couple parts. Worked on the parts. Tried doing the kata starting from the left side. Didn't know how. Tried to teach myself. Spent an hour watching myself in the mirror. Didn't learn much.

Something was wrong with the VCR, or the tape. It would play for a while, then the screen would turn blue. I could see just a little bit of my teacher, hear a little bit of what he had to say. Then I couldn't see him, couldn't hear him anymore.

Through a curtain I saw a car in the parking lot. Somebody in it, sitting and waiting. Hand out the window touching the mirror. Nobody showed. And after a while he started the car, and rolled the window up as he drove away.


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