She Plays Bass

One day, this girl comes up and wants to play my bass.

I let her try it out.

She plugs it in and starts to play, and she's clearly better than I am. She starts on the A-string. She plays some familiar songs, including one of my favorites.

Right then, I know she's way cool.

She keeps playing.

She moves up and down the neck effortlessly. She knows the scales like the back of her hand, and she hits every note dead on. Her playing is absolutely beautiful. I wish I could play like her.

Then, she lets me mess around with her bass for a while. She says she likes how I play. It makes me very happy.

We stay up late, just playing, getting to know each other's style.

We play pretty well together, and the sound is crystal clear.

We put on a show, and it's tons of fun. We play a lot of songs, and it sounds great. People seem to like it. The big finale is coming up soon. I'm nervous.

We both want to solo, but the unspoken holds us back: What will the crowd think? We haven't been playing together for very long. Are we ready for this? I, for one, know that my band probably wouldn't approve.

I decide to try. I want to solo, and I want to hear her play at her very best. I choke, though, and I can't get the courage to start.

Our manager cuts the show short. He didn't like the location in the first place, or even the sound we had. We go our separate ways, me back to my band, and her, back to the life of a studio musician.

I'll probably regret that for a long time. I had a chance that most people don't. I could have discarded the spoken word and let my playing and my passion speak for itself, but I didn't. I still imagine it sometimes.

It would have been unmatchable, I know this much. It would have been soulful. The people in the crowd would have closed their eyes, minds lost in the melody.

It wouldn't have been about speed. It wasn't metal. It was something more, something electrifying and infinite, crashing down in a wonderfully uncontrolled wave of emotion.

The notes would have hung in the air, belting out their single, simple, yet inspiring breath before drifting off like wispy clouds, and finally vanishing from the atmosphere.

It would have been harmony in its most basic form, the fusion of two people who love music so much that they cannot play separately in mind, body, or soul.

My advice to a young musician is this: If you are ever lucky enough to have the chance I did, don't hesitate. Listen to the drummer in the background, and when you feel the music reach its apex, let yourself loose and play with everything in you.

Once in a lifetime, you meet someone who can play with you at so deep a level that they can fill a piece of your soul that cannot be filled otherwise. Don't try to make a decision, because if you miss your beat, it might never come back again. Trust yourself, and play.

I wish I had, more than I can ever say.