There is a head on your lap.
It sleeps like only babies know how to, as if there was never anything else that one could do, and you cannot, for the life of you, make a move. If they would sleep forever, then you would sit there forever. You try to breed at the same rhythm as they breed, and become and expert at the art of moving your fingers two millimeters per minute, only to be sure they won’t fail you at crucial moment in which the head needs to switch, and you need to adjust your lap around its complete releaseness. It is still the easiest job in the world.
Made maybe a bit more difficult only by the layer of dust between your skin and the wood planks, accumulated by the thousand dancing feet over the last hundred hours, mixed with all the beer and wine, and sweat and tears, and no doubt the one or two drops of blood. And you could probably smell all of that if you were only able to smell anything other than the scent of the hair behind the ear of the head that sleeps on your lap.
And when some of the senses relax, your brain allows your own ears to transmit, and you remember there is someone singing on a stage in front of you. And if your eyes also open for a while, you realize that in front of that someone singing in front of you, there are others sitting on the dusty wood planks with someone else’s head on their lap, and bodies absorbing all that beer and tears and sweat, and no doubt a fraction of those two drops of blood. You might even wonder if these people sitting are trying as hard as you not to move, and if they are breeding at the same pace as the heads resting on their laps. But you then realize that you are all actually breeding at the rhythm of the song being sang on the stage in front of you, and the person singing it knows it, and likes it, and maybe even wants it for themselves, to rest their head on someone sitting on a dirty floor in front of a stage where someone else sings for them. It is a woman’s voice.
Between songs, she speaks in a language that you understand enough to make you smile, although not always enough to know exactly why you’re smiling. Even though she has been sitting on stages in front of people since the beginning of time, it is only today that she remembers why she ever started, and so her eyes shine as if they’re trying to mock the stage lights.
Everything she says, it is an old truth, made suddenly new and innocently beautiful (and you decide that if there is such a thing as innocent beauty, it is here and now, and its head sleeps on your lap). She sings only to you, she says, you there, with someone else’s head rested on your lap and your fingers moving two millimeters per minute. This is what she says:
You there, with someone else’s head on your lap, and your fingers moving only two millimeters per minute, even with all that dirt and wine and beer and sweat and tears between them and the wood planks. I know you would probably sit there forever if you had to. I know you have one ear on this song and the other on that person’s heartbeat. And so being you shall remember that:
You will always have this.
You will have this tomorrow, and you will have this when that person no longer wishes to sleep on your lap, and you will have this when I no longer agree with what I’m singing here today, and no one can ever take this away from you. And when one day you are taking your last breaths on an hospital bed and your sons and daughters try to decide in which city to hold your burial service, and your grandsons and granddaughters are driving somewhere else to see someone else singing on a stage in front of them, still then you will have this. And you will know that this will be enough.
And that was the truth.