The Busker

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sometimes you come across something that brightens up your day!

Submitted: September 30, 2016

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Submitted: September 30, 2016



The Busker


Helen walked along the street with her head down, hands in pockets. How she hated to be out on the streets during the rush hour. It was all push and shove and dodge. Everyone was vying for their own piece of personal space and had no time to think of anyone else. After all, there were trains to be caught, or buses; taxis to be searched out and snapped up before someone else beat you to it.


No, the street during rush hour was not a pleasant place to be at all.


Helen winced as someone in front of her stepped back and landed hard on her toes. She had to halt herself and someone collided with her back. And then, in the opposite direction, comes an umbrella. Is it even raining? She moves her head to the side, narrowly avoiding an umbrella spike to the face.


Gritting her teeth, Helen carries on. She should check her watch, see how she is doing for time, but that would mean taking her hand from her pocket and Helen does not want to do that. She wants to make herself take up as little space as possible.


And then she hears it; a guitar and a voice. Her Dad’s words resonate in her memory; “Walk past. Never stop and listen. They are nothing more than beggars and half of them have more money than I have.” Just thinking about that makes Helen cringe, especially as he never bothered to lower his voice. She’d always wanted to say how she enjoyed listening to the buskers, how they added something a bit special to an otherwise drab journey, but she’d never had the courage to speak out.


Today it was different though. Today Helen was on her own and could do exactly as she pleased – and nobody was there to call her a fool. She listened again, changed her direction slightly, following the music and the singing to its source.


And there he sat, his coat wrapped around him. There was a plastic pot of some sort on the ground in front of him and Helen could see the odd bit of money had been dropped into it. The man looked to be about her age, late twenties, early thirties. His clothes were tatty, worn and his hair was a straggly shoulder-length straw blond. He sort of reminded her of Kurt Cobain which was kind of ironic as he was singing ‘Pennyroyal Tea.’


People were hurrying past. There was the clink as the occasional coin joined those in the pot. The busker had a dog. Helen hadn’t noticed at first as it was small, half-hidden under his coat. It wasn’t a breed she recognised, probably a mix; it just lay on his knees as he strummed and sang.


Helen wanted to listen for a while but she was being jostled this way and that. Several times people had bumped in to her so hard she had almost overbalanced, fallen to the ground. But why shouldn’t she be able to listen! Who were all these busy, busy people to say that she had to rush around too?


There was only one thing she could think of doing. She moved next to the busker and sat down. If he noticed he gave no sign. His eyes remained closed and he carried on singing, not missing a single beat. The dog sniffed at her, then wagged its tail in an accepting gesture.


The song drew to a close. The busker took a deep breath, opened his eyes and turned to smile in Helen’s direction. So he had noticed her sitting there after all. His eyes were blue, a quite unusual deep blue. Helen felt embarrassed under his gaze and struggled to her feet. She put her hand into her jeans pocket and drew out some notes. She was flustered, didn’t like to stand there counting it in front of him but she couldn’t afford to give it all away. Helen peeled off a couple of notes and placed them safely under some coins.


She smiled at the busker and the busker smiled back. Helen knew that she was getting late. There was bound to be a bit of an argument over that but what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him.


Thank you,” she said shyly. Then once more Helen moved out into the busy pedestrian throng and carried on towards the meeting with her father.



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